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The book and recent movie, “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr. Seuss, tells the story of Horton the Elephant who on one afternoon is splashing in a pool and hears a small speck of dust talking to him. It turns out the speck of dust is actually a tiny planet, home to a city called Whoville. Whoville is inhabited by microscopic-sized inhabitants called Whos, and led by a character known as the Mayor. His motto: A person is a person no matter how small. I think many can learn from the Mayor’s motto and apply it to their current Digital Marketing practices.
Digital Marketing in the Automotive Industry is all about the Whos. It’s about building and maintaining those relationships between the dealership and its customers. The customers are the Whos of course, no matter how small they may be.
Many treat the Whos more like Whats. They count them, they corral them, they segment them but they don’t listen to them. Many times they are just numbers such as 5,000 names on an email list or 10,000 hits to a web site. With that being said, many see success measured by an increase in activity of the Whats. For example, a better response rate to an email campaign or a certain percentage increase in time spent on each page of a web site. Although these metrics are important, they are not effective in building relationships. Many don’t believe they exist as people because they can’t see or hear them so they don’t market to them as people. In all reality the Whos do exist. Behind every email address and every click on your web site there is a living, breathing person with their own special needs, likes, dislikes and opportunities for those to reach out and make a new friend for their dealerships. To become better there needs to more effort to get to know them. Find out who they are. It’s not hard, they are all dying to tell us about themselves every time they click on something, fill out a form, watch a video, type something on the dealership’s Facebook page or fail to respond to an email blast. Every time they interact or choose not to interact, they are telling us something about themselves. The trick is to listen.
How many are really listening to what their customers are telling them? I mean really listening as if the relationship with them depends on it because it does. Are the relationships being developed by tracking and profiling the Whos? Making notes and keeping good records is the key here so dealers can give them what they want, when they want it. It is time to move from treating them as Whats instead of Whos.
At the end of the story, all the Whos get together and make a noise so loud that everyone could hear them. Don’t wait until all the Whos gang up and say what they want. Make the effort to start listening now and always remember that a person is a person no matter how small.