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From the Trenches - Social Media - Evolution or Revolution?

Back in the mid-90s, I joined in on what we called the wild, wild web. And it was wild. There were no rules, no major search engines, and most of all, no experts to tell us how to do things. We were free to experiment… and we did. It was a time when one creative soul could fashion an Internet strategy and create an Internet department. And all that time, there were those who said it was a waste of time and you couldn’t make money using the Internet.

In 1998 I put web and car sales together and began a career that has lasted to today. By that time, eCommerce was beginning to turn into a revolution. The early adopters were making hay and leading the way. We believed that Automotive Internet Sales was the future. And as that became more evident, others began to follow. When it became overwhelmingly dominant, the resisters and nay-sayers gave up and came on board with the help of new “Internet Trainers, Gurus, and Experts”.

The Revolution had become Evolution. And so it is today… or is it?

With Social Media and Mobile, I’m beginning to feel “Déjà vu all over again”. I’m seeing creative types experimenting and creating new paradigms. I’m seeing great success and failures. I’m hearing questions like, “Who or where are the experts”? I’m seeing self-proclaimed Gurus.

And I’m hearing the resisters and nay-sayers chanting ”Show me the ROI”. They want to know why they don’t get fans on Facebook when they put their inventory there and tell people how good their dealership is. They want Social Media to be a sales floor.

I’m feeling another Revolution coming on. I’m breathing the air of the wild, wild Social web! I’m enjoying that new rush of creativity and excitement. Do you feel it? Do you agree with the comparison? Let me know your thoughts….


Written by Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 158

Tags: Internet, Media, Social, blogs, facebook, marketing, mobile, twitter, youtube


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Comment by Tom Gorham on June 30, 2011 at 6:54am
Thanks for the comment Brian.  Google is certainly one of the big drivers here and I'm really anxious to dig into Google+1.  All of the current activity across the board is good news for those who started "dabbling" with SM a few years ago only to see it become more and more relevant.  It will be interesting to see how you and Keith and others put it all together for dealers.  I love it!
Comment by Brian Pasch on June 29, 2011 at 10:05pm


It's the wild-wild-west indeed.  Google unleashed Google Places in October 2010. Then unleashed the Google Places App in early 2011.  Then in Spring 2011 they introduce Google Boost.  See the pattern?


Create Demand...Fill Demand...Monetize Demand


Now they unleash Google +1 for organic listing and Adwords.  This changes all past concepts of SEO strategies.  Then consider social media signals and "likes".  The game is moving to empowering the customer...this is a major shift. 


Now Google offers up enhanced analytics and behavioral marketing for all PPC campaigns and the list goes on.  Am I excited...oh yeah!  This is the right time be able to assists dealers navigate the choices.




Change is happening every month and dealers that want to leverage early adopter status benefits better be connected with digital marketing leaders and not followers.



Comment by Tom Gorham on June 29, 2011 at 9:36pm
Thanks Keith.  I love the ROI comment!  Back in the early days of the automotive web, I was lucky enough to meet a dealer who recognized that.  And btw, I remember Dr. DOS!  I also remember dreaming HTML and waking up ready to hop on the computer but feeling like I never slept!
Comment by Keith Shetterly on June 29, 2011 at 7:24pm
Tom, it's a brilliant comparison.  We forget the "I" in "ROI" . . . it's "Investment".  Investments are made now and pay off later:  Social media isn't a quick bet on a blackjack table--it's a long-term investment in a growing stock.  It's not the ".com to .bomb", it's early Microsoft when Bill Gates was still working with DR DOS trying to get a check from IBM.  Great post!!

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