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The difference between digital leaders who get it and those who pretend? It’s sort of like the difference between a luxury car and a compact. The econobox will get you from A to B -- sometimes -- while the luxury car makes arriving at your destination a rich and valuable experience.One’s a keeper. A fond memory. The other, well...some things are just best forgotten.
There’s no better example of the luxury car feeling in the digital world than Jim Flint, and one of the reasons why he’s a much-anticipated speaker at the DrivingSales Executive Summit. As president and founder of the Local Search Group, Jim has built an agency known for delivering comprehensive, integrated digital marketing elements for automotive companies and retail clients.
Experience is the key
He’s been able to do it because he learned the how -- and the why -- of the automotive Internet during 15 years spent creating marketing strategies for Nike, Toyota and John Eagle Dealerships. In 2011, in fact, Jim helped guide the John Eagle Dealerships to more than 10,000 Internet sales. Today, the Local Search Group helps John Eagle and other dealers sell more cars more effectively. At DSES, Jim will talk about the idea of post-Moneyball: the trends and opportunities to come in the automotive sector. We can’t wait to hear more!
DSNews: What can #DSES attendees expect to hear from you?
JF: So the dealership across the street stole your best ideas, and you want to know how you can stay one step ahead of the competition with less money, fewer cars, and bigger Internet challenges than ever before? I'm going to look at where Billy Beane went AFTER everyone adopted his moneyball philosophies and what seems like the next best opportunities for the car business.
DSNews: What do you love about the car business, or digital marketing?
JF: I love that each industry is uniquely dynamic. Add them together, develop a plan, and with a little hard work and willingness to adjust on the fly, you can out-execute the competition.
DSNews: What’s your passion? What makes you get up early in the morning?
JF: I love sports, technology, and stats. Baseball, business in general, and the automotive Internet are good outlets for the passion. I also enjoy traveling to see stadiums; so far I’ve been to 12 of the current MLB ballparks. Up next: Oakland. (Editors’ Note: Jim says his favorite - and first - was Chicago’s Wrigley Field. We assume the quality of baseball played there did not influence his decision)
DSNews: What’s your best car memory?
JF: My first car. It thankfully ended up being a red 1990 Mustang LX hatchback because of my younger sister. My dad had me ready to take on an ‘88 Chevy Cavalier, but when my sister saw it she turned up her nose and said she'd rather take the bus to school. As a result, Dad and I went back out and came back with the Mustang. Total game changer.
DSNews: What’s your biggest accomplishment?
JF: Starting a new company. Being married 18 years.
DSNews: Tell us about a recent dealership pain point that your team was able to solve.
JF: Hand-to-hand pay per click process for used cars. Now we have an automated process that publishes to Google AdWords when cars come into inventory, and goes on pause when the car is marked final in accounting. Much more efficient process!
DSNews: What are the three topics dealers should be focused on as we head into 2013?
1. Show ratios are going down -- this needs huge focus, with 18.2 website visits and only 1.8 dealer visits.
2. Self-titled Moneyball Factor (total sales / total website visitors) and how it relates to Net Income. It puts dealers, GM's, GSM's and Internet Directors on same page.
3. Personnel. Despite all the technology, we are still a people business.
DSNews: Speaking at #DSES is…
JF:...Going to be a blast. I'm honored to be selected.