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When I first started working for automotive vendors around two decades ago, digital marketing innovation was a function of the outside world. The automotive industry was generally reluctant to embrace the internet as a marketing venue, so the majority of people who worked for my companies were outsiders brought into the business.
This was necessary because there simply weren't very many internet-savvy car dealership personnel at the time. Most dealerships didn't have a website, let alone an internet department, so we were forced to pull talent from other industries.
Things have changed. A valid argument can be made that the car business is the most savvy industry that's not based in Silicon Valley and that we're trendsetters for digital marketing practices. It's not just the vendors doing the innovating anymore. Anyone who has been to a Driving Sales Executive Summit knows that the best ideas come from dealers.
As the CEO of an automotive digital marketing company, I'm often tasked with finding new talent. Growth has been strong, so we're always on the lookout for talent. In every other company I've worked for, the mentality was geared around hiring industry outsiders to bring in fresh ideas and expertise. To me, this concept is antiquated.
Vendors can and should be hiring the vast majority of their people from inside the industry. This isn't just a call to other vendors to change their hiring practices. It's a call to those of you working in the trenches at dealerships to consider bringing your talents to the vendor side of the ball. I know that many of you have some tough vendor relationships. I also appreciate that working at a dealership can be one of the most satisfying and enjoyable professions in the world. Still, it's good to keep your LinkedIn profile updated and your ear to the ground.
This industry is at a crossroads. The prosperity that has come over the last couple of years wil have the unfortunate side effect of kindling complacency. Now more than ever, dealers and vendors need to put their foot on the gas and kick it into high gear so that the upward trends that we've been seeing can continue.
Forgive me for sounding like I'm delivering a State of the Union on job creation, but this is a crucial time for the industry. Many companies need good "car people" to fill their staffing needs. I know we do.
Photo Credit: Apple Chevrolet