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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Gary May

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Quick, The Shiny Object Just Moved! Ouch, It's Your Vendor...

Don't read too much into the title, it's not a slam on your (fill in the blank) vendor, although many deserve to be taken to task. This is about what they have to deal with. If you've been under a rock this year or simply have not been paying attention, Google changed significantly three times. Your vendors have had to change at least that many, even though they pitch that they're changing all the time.

So, what does this mean for the shiny object mentality? It's not changed. In fact, it may only get better. In other words, as things get a little more dicey in the online space in regard to results, there will be a larger "sorting out" of who really is prepared from a resource perspective to roll with what could be considered large changes in the way search and results are structured. And when a sales rep is not up to speed and things that happened a week prior, let alone a couple months, it's time to sharpen the pencil and make sure that door that hits them on the way out is primed.

All kidding aside, there have been countless changes since last December that have affected the search engines and how YOU get displayed in results. The biggest one from an overall view would likely be Google Instant, followed by the recent change to the Google Map/Local results that are also affecting the display of reviews and paid ads. There's lots of money, eyeballs and leads at stake.

The shiny object's location is changing, at what seems to be a continuously more rapid pace. Not just search results (and your traditional website) are facing the music, but also mobile: applications, marketing, social and more. And the third party lead market seems to be experiencing a larger ebb and flow in the market today. Just as there is no longer room in automotive retail for "what used to work", there's no room for "let's wait and see" in the vendor world. Rest for just a little bit and your a** will be kicked (but don't worry, dealers will still buy from lots of companies, especially if they keep sending "attractive" reps out to show impressive charts and talk about clicks....yawn....).

It's not easy being a website, CRM, pay-per-click, SEO or social media services company today. Engagement changes regularly and sometimes daily. By the time you send out pertinent information, run some webinars and update your systems and inform the rep force, that earth-changing update is old news and the next revelation has hit the news wires. And yes, even the vendors that do launch 25 updates a week and tweet about it do have to deal with issues outside of their control and fall down regularly.

As fast as the industry is changing, technology is changing many times faster. The balance between being bleeding-edge, leading-edge, between-the-edges and absolutely-no-edge is sometimes no greater than a whisker. Consumers control the content that is controlled by the big engines at such a great level today, what we have to yell about is less and less relevant, engaging and important. Who knows, maybe the shiny object is not even obtainable.

Even with the industry consolidation that we see year after year, it's always refreshing to see the new guy or gal on the block give it a chance. Dealers need much better services than what's been delivered historically and there are companies willing to do it. But the wake up call for dealers is that THEY need to do more in the way of understanding, goal setting and holding staff accountable. Vendor accountability is critical, but still not as important as making sure you can do what you're paying for.

So belive it or not something changed in how well you'll perform online since you started reading this. Maybe it was a vendor, a competitor, a search engine, a customer or even you. No matter what, don't take your eye off of the shiny object!

You did read correctly. Keep one eye on the ball, one on your customer, one on your brand, one on your staff, one on your marketing, one on your process, one on your future, one on your past....and one on the shiny object.

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results


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