Being a Lone Wolf...

Jillian Marchewka
I'm having a bit of a Hump-Day reflection at the moment, and I just want to see if I am the only one in this boat...I feel like I'm a bit of a "Lone Wolf," at my dealership group... I'm not part of a specific department, (I make my own "Digital Marketing" department in my own quiet office upstairs next to our HR girl) and I feel like nobody understands what I actually do... even myself. Sure, I visit with our Sales Managers and our Service Manager to try to get support/feedback when it comes to ideas, etc. but they always act as though I am wasting their time because they seem to have better things to do. Our GM/Owner is never around, and he is my direct boss, so in my 15 minutes I get to meet with him every 2 months it is basically to get approval for all of the "Community Event Sponsorship Requests" that always get sent to me (because who else are they going to send them too,) and then elevator pitch an idea in hopes of getting a green-light for a tiny budget to get some type of project done (and to give myself something to do.) I used to be in-charge of dealing with digital inventory merchandising (taking pictures, descriptions, uploading to AutoTrader, etc.) but in April our Sales Manager hired a "Sales Assistant" kid who took that off of my plate. Now I'm stuck with pretty much no direction. It sucks. I used to be excited and energetic to create new tasks for myself, but that has since rubbed off. My social media content calendar is lagging, blog posts are slowing down, fun staff videos have come to a halt, and I am just drained... I feel the guy in Joe Webb's "The (De?)Evolution of the Internet Sales Manager" video (minus the sales part, though I was handling leads for 2 weeks when our person was on vacation.) The ideas and innovations I think of to transform the dealership need a team support to execute, and I feel like I don't have that... I may be Wonder Woman, but even she has the Justice League to back her up! Even if I had a team, I don't have enough resources/budget to get anything done. (I.e. We need to start spending a little bit on digital advertising, and I get no support... Yet our dealership will spend a ridiculous amount on billboards.) Sorry for the rant. I just feel kind of down and feel like no-one is on the same wavelength with me. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy to have the opportunity to create my own path with this position, but I wish I had even 1-2 people to work with directly who are pumped about making a difference digitally. I just feel like digital marketing is a bit daunting without others to brainstorm with, and there is only so much that I can accomplish on my own without going crazy. Thoughts?
Cody Jerry
I've been there when I was in house in an almost exactly the same position. Sometimes it is hard to have the passion for what you do when no one around you has that passion. While I'd love to give you some sort of golden insight, the reality is that you might just need to network more. Subi from Dealer Authority might be a great person to start with (they are a direct competitor, so this isn't a sales pitch in the slightest). She can give you some tips about getting interns, and how they can help you achieve some of your goals. If you surround yourself with passionate people you can help bring your passion back up to all time highs. You can also start reaching out to different people in the same job category, or vendors that do similar things. Forums are a great way to gain entry into conversations with these people, but you should definitely take the next step to get on an email basis with people here. My network is pretty small since I work in Montana, but I discuss ideas with a handful of vendors and dealers that I respect and trust. Helps keep my engine going. As for the engaging with other managers, I'd work to figure out their personality types, and catering your message to that type. I can't remember the book, but there are guides out there that help you identify personalities based on the words that they use. Keep a log of how everyone responds to different presentation/discussion types, and cater to them. It's a lot of work, but it is a crazy awesome skill to have.
Chad Sabatka
I originally came to the automotive world as a web developer taking our websites in-house. I didn't have direction or anyone giving me ideas on what direction to take things - it was a brand new position for the group and almost 99.9% of the automotive world. It was hard to find others in a similar position online. I had little to no input from GMs, Owners, Sales Managers, etc. However, I'm motivated by improvements, stronger lead counts, visitors, etc. The second I start to see a slip I take action, that drive has to be a part of your personality in the digital world. As soon as I proved my worth the perception changed of me and my role. I quickly went from web developer to Internet Director overseeing all stores 8 digital advertising budgets and vendors. Like vendors create reports, charts, and presentations on what you did and the return. You are especially a vendor working at dealership. I'm a huge statistics and analytical guy so it helped prove my work and my offerings. I prefer to work alone, but also get input from sales managers/GM on possibilities. I love the free reins.
Jillian Marchewka
Thanks for the insight, Cody! It makes me feel better that others have been in my position, and that I am not crazy. Haha. Subi is great! I met her at Digital Dealer in the Spring, and she definitely knows her stuff! I'll definitely reach out to her to see if she has some insight for me. Interns sound like a fabulous idea to GTD. :-)
Jillian Marchewka
I always do quarterly, in-depth "State of Digital Marketing" reports for our GM, much like an agency would do. It always highlights analytical digital trends regarding our website and social media, as well as projects I am working on, and areas that we can improve. We don't regularly have manager meetings, so I just print a copy and distribute it to the managers and try to follow up we them to discuss, but the response is lackluster. I even try to dumb the information down to make sense, and add humor to the report... Nope. Nothing works. No engagement.
Lauren Moses
Jillian, I know your pain. I work by myself for the dealership as the internet manager. Literally ANYTHING that is online for us, I handle. Leads, social, emails, website, listings, etc. You name it, I do it. It helps me to be doing the F&I since it gives me a chance to take my mind off of the internet and learn another side to the Auto industry. But it also gives me more on my mind to learn and therefore slows down what I am working on. I have no budget, because it's not my business. All I can do is find things that I think would benefit our dealership and then take them to our owner to see what he thinks and maybe get something going. My life saver is my day planner. I have every day as full as I can of things that I need to get done so that I can make sure I'm keeping up, but it also makes me feel good to be able to check off some of the things on my list for that day. Don't feel like your alone, because your definitely not. Any time that you want to brain storm shoot me an email. I'm always looking for people to chat with and see how and what things work for them at their dealerships.

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