CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
From a business perspective, there's really only one choice for marketing vendors. Software sells. It's easier to sell to businesses, particularly in the automotive industry. It's easier to sell a software company to a larger entity. Software is scalable. Strategy is too confining.
Strategy relies too much on people. It isn't scalable in most circumstances. Unlike software, the more that dealers start using a particular strategy, the less effective it becomes. Anyone wanting to build a successful digital marketing company in the automotive industry should definitely choose building software over building strategies. To build a company that's based upon strategies is absolutely insane.
I like being insane. It's good for the digestion.
Car dealers have the potential luxury of being able to take software and build strategies around them. Vendors can as well, but it's much riskier to do so. There are several companies who were built around the concept of supplying like-gated contests to post to Facebook. When Facebook outlawed it, many companies had to pivot or die.
Dealers aren't restrained in such a way. You have the ability to build great strategies around someone else's software without the financial risk of crumbling based upon changes. The companies that had a foundation built on Facebook like-gating died. The dealers that built a strategy around Facebook like-gating simply had to change their strategy. The dealerships didn't shut down because of Facebook.
We've been told on more than four occasions by respected people in and out of the industry that basing our company around strategies for Google, Facebook, and other ever-changing software providers put us in a position of facing potential oblivion every day. This risky business that we've gotten ourselves into is the key to our success. Living on the edge keeps us sharp. It keeps us always looking in all directions for threats and it allows us to continuously need to improve on what we're doing for dealers...
... and that's the point that dealers need to understand for their own digital marketing presence.
Don't rely on software. Had Robert Karbaum relied on YouTube software to do what everyone else does with posting standard video content, he wouldn't have won the Best Idea Contest. More importantly, he wouldn't have been able to improve his process and increase sales at his dealership.
Dealers have the benefit of being able to live on the edge with their strategies and not have to face oblivion. We might be crazy for doing so, but you definitely don't have to be. Take the tools, turn them inside out, devise plans around goals that your competitors would never see, and develop your own success through brilliant application of everything the digital age gives us. In a single word: innovate.