Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
It amazes me how the humble nature of the automotive Internet revolution for dealers from the past has changed to ego-driven displays of self-aggrandizement. It wasn’t too long ago that you would speak to dealers who were more excited to learn than they were to pound their chest and roar to the crowd about their own accomplishments.
As another Digital Dealer Conference came and went last month, I think it is time we realize that no one has the whole “Internet thing” figured out. There are those of us who’ve been attending these conferences, speaking and writing from the beginning about this segment of our industry that will freely admit that we don’t have it all figured out yet. I yearn for the day when dealers admit they have room to grow rather than try to convince others they have no specific needs.
“We have a pretty good Internet department.”
“You do? Wow. An Internet department? Oh well, You’ve got it all figured out, I bet.”
If you are a car dealer with an Internet Department, please download this Certificate of Participation and hang it moderately-proudly. You deserve it. (God, I pray dealers understand my sarcasm.)
Having an Internet department doesn’t make you special. It doesn’t make you stand out and it doesn’t mean your online efforts are profitable. Everybody has one. It’s like saying, “My car has a leather-wrapped steering wheel – so…I don’t think I need an oil change.”
It is time dealers recognize that you don’t always need everyone to perceive you as a powerhouse. It is perfectly fine to attend a conference because you have weaknesses. As a matter of fact, it makes you smarter to admit you have weaknesses. Adding digital tactics to your store’s marketing plan does not mean you’re successful at it. If anything, it illuminates problem areas. The Internet highlights your opportunities for growth; it doesn’t sweep your faults under a rug.
Internet Departments don’t make you great. Nor does a BDC or being a self-proclaimed “Internet dealership”. It is just a management structure you’ve put into place. And it doesn’t make you special. An Internet department (or Internet dealership) guarantees you no success. So when you recognize that there are opportunities to improve your store because you are achieving below-average results, don’t hide it. Seek out help. Don’t let your ego and desire to be viewed as a "superstore" get in the way of generating new business.