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The special time of the year is nearly upon us, again. From September through February: conferences, expos and 20 Groups with the veritable sales crunch of "you have to get this or you'll be left in the dust!" pitches. You can feel dealers' and general managers' certain body parts tightening up now (not that they aren't pitched every day of every week of every month or every year already).
With very little assistance, which is by choice, direction or information, vendors are chosen and deals are signed. Does that mean dealerships make decisions without "data"? Not necessarily. However decisions made with vendors' own calculators (remember when lead estimating in your market at certain NADA website booths was the fix of the day?????), skewed analytics/search results and by recommendations (you know, what works for a dealer with half the competition and market size one of their 20 Group buddies has should work the same for someone else in a major metro with twice the stores and massive gross degradation?).
What generates results are a combination of relevant data, unbiased information, support, updates and consistency. However what we still see dominating today are dealers using:
...and the list just goes on and on and on.
If you want to sell cars, you have to do it right. Meet and greet, the walk, the drive, the pencil, the close (yes, the road to the sale to many) that can't exist without process, checklists, audits and accountability. Yet most dealerships' entire digital presence has none of those!!
What we need to do is do things right. Businesses are responsible for everything they do. It's 2012. If you don't understand websites and SEO, get someone that does in your store. Don't think social media is right for your point? Ask your customers where they want you to be and then get someone that does it inyour store. And get advice before you hire your person/people or bring on the vendor! You must ownevery part of your marketing today and not turn a blind eye. And no, it's not too much to do or to get someone in the store or close to you to provide reporting that is not from a vendor's proprietary dashboard (read: manipulation) that can't be validated by another unbiased source.
There are no excuses for businesses today to not know how to do things right and expect results. Sending texts from employees phones without permission based marketing and legal/opt-out included? Having a website for a 150+ unit store that has 800 inbound links and no +1's? Promoting a blog that has the same content as every other (fill in your brand) store within a 1,000 mile radius? It's NOT fine. It's NOT ok. Get real.
Act as if you're a customer to your own business! What are the chances you'd return to your own website if the home page never changed? Would you buy concert tickets from a site that never featured your favorite artists? Would you Like United Airlines on Facebook if every other post from them was two sea lions fighting or two mimes fighting with an intro of "caption this"? would you follow Morton's Steakhouse on Twitter if EVERY post was simply a push from their Facebook account and no interaction with diners? Would you continue to read Marriott's blog if all it contained was posts about awards they were winning from magazines rather than updates on their resort locations that you wanted to travel to? Look it's really simple, it's just not easy.
Own your marketing. The pisser is you've been hearing this for over five years now from a number of sources in the industry including this one. Quit cutting corners and believing everything that the large enterprise-level providers are feeding you. How can one provider claim to be the #1 vendor in an industry and charge half of what everyone else does? It doesn't work that way! You know that...
Look at it this way. McDonald's (as good as some of you may think they are) is not number one in hamburgers. They are number one in volume! Do they serve the best burger? No! Their burger is not the best...and neither is your website/CRM/Social Media if you don't know better.
If you're going to do it, do it right!
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results
You can read more IM@CS posts here on DrivingSales.com or on our blog