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From the Trenches - I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet.


In the year 2000, I said,  "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet." to the dealership I was leaving.



I was talking about the Internet.


If only we could go back in time like Marty McFly from "Back to the Future"....

Marty had the right song for the time.  But he had cultural changes that he hadn't anticipated.


Now we face a change so much more profound than the Internet.  The Internet affected almost every industry and business on the planet.  It was a technological change that had cultural implications. We all had to adjust.


But now we face a true cultural change, partly based on technology, but also based on cultural changes that have affected technology and its uses.


The Internet produced Social Media, Reputation Management, Transparency, Mobile Connection, Always ON, Always Connected, Wearable Computers, and on and on.


So you think you finally have this Internet thing down.  You have an Internet department or BDC that answers leads.  You have hired companies to do SEO and SEM even though you don't really understand them.  You EVEN have a company that takes care of your Social Media and Reputation Management EVEN though you think they are useless and have no ROI but have been told you need them. 


You are even talking about targeted marketing and BIG DATA!  My, my, my... You've covered all your bases...




Because until you understand that these things are all in their infancy and are leading to cultural changes so profound that in 2080, people will be regarding us as having lived in the 18th century prior to mass production.


The technology and the culture of today is demanding of three things and three things only.  Those three things are VALUE, CREATIVITY, and CUSTOMER SERVICE.


The ability to offer those has become critical not only to our industry but to all.  In fact, we are demanding them of our vendors as well. 


  1. Serve us well. 
  2. Don't play games. 
  3. Be transparent. 
  4. Give us our money's worth. 
  5. Respect us.


These are prerequisites but no guarantees for success.  But when I look around at many dealers, I have to say, as Marty McFly did:


"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet."

Time to look beyond next week's profit and begin thinking of next year and the years beyond.  Are the attitudes and processes at your store in synch with the technologies you are using?




Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 675

Tags: BDC, Big, Data, Digital, Marketing, Media, Mobile, Reputation, Reviews, SEM, More…SEO, Social


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Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2013 at 10:09am

Alexander, me too! ;-)

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2013 at 10:05am

Bill Pardue, thank you!  I appreciate your insights as to multi-platform marketing.  I have observed, over the past decade that advertising was often managed by the Dealer or General Manager while digital marketing was the venue of the Internet Manager. Newspaper, radio and TV ate up most of the dollars and digital was considered small potatoes.  That's no longer the case and the different platforms must now be coordinated strategically with a consistent message that support each other and lead to the in-store experience that will match or exceed the message being put out.  Concurrently, the staff must be aware of it all (including the receptionists) so that they can respond in a way that reinforces the benefits of the promotion.

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 10, 2013 at 9:51am

That's why it's nice to engage on subjects like this with you fine people. We're able to cut directly through the bullshit and give honest answers. I love this forum.

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2013 at 9:41am

Alexander, I'm glad you liked it.  It seems you get what you pay for, don't you?

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 10, 2013 at 9:33am

Good stuff Tom and amusing. Most dealerships are saying that about web platforms (including blog technology), Social Media, proper SEO, Service and Parts pages, etc., except that which is forced or given to them for free, via OEM extras and compliance. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2013 at 9:23am

Thank you Wendi!  The in-store realities must match the expectations created by their online marketing or they will eventually pay the price in reputation.  They may make enough money now, but their long-term prospects aren't promising.

Comment by Wendi on May 10, 2013 at 9:11am

Amen- and NO more dealers than not have their personnel and locations running at the same synched speed and accuracy of their promotional technologies. Here is what I have found as it relates to the majority ofthem not at all "behaving" in synch with the technology they are using to get people to their locations. The biggest one that comes to mind is my recent meeting with a store which is one within a decent sized group who spends a tremendous amount of money on their Internet marketing/presence and push. They do a great job because they have great people in place to get er done. However, they still have sales people (their "top performers") give price HIGHER than what is posted on their website(s). IF, and I use that strongly IF, the prospect does not push back because he or she already knows the Internet posted price, THAT SALES person is instructed to go back into the store, where the Internet Director is contacted and told to IMMEDIATELY remove that price. Which he does his darndeset to do.

All I can say is WOW! and cringing at all the money in the long run this store leaves on the table because the customers who are in the know just leave. Their Internet and other advertising drives a ton of traffic to their store but their sales and CSI definitely do not show for it in a positive way. They make enough money so until they dont, and someone makes a change it will continue to be "UNSYNCHED" and one of those stores with that old fashioned car dealership feel to it, the minute you step on the lot. Its a shame

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2013 at 8:50am

Marsh, I just saw your comment.  Thank you!

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2013 at 8:17am

Thanks Gary!

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2013 at 8:13am

Thank you Cathy!

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