If you are just getting started in the Digital side of the Automotive world as an Internet Manager, Director, Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager, or any other role… Here are a few pointers to get you going.
Sign up for magazines, e-zines, and blogs. There is so much information out there that can help you assess and evaluate your processes, programs, and whole departments. Subscribe to and participate in online automotive forums. There is plenty of searchable content to answer almost any question you may have and, if you can’t find it, ask a question by posting a thread. You will get plenty of opinions and ideas to fix your problem.
As you actively seek out and implement the latest and greatest, your department will reap great rewards. Rapidly improving and changing technology has forced the industry to adapt just as quickly. Don’t be the dealership that gets left behind. Be the one that leads the pack.
Network, Network, NETWORK!
Networking is KEY in this industry. The best way to learn about the latest and greatest is to hear it from the mouths of people in similar roles, fighting the same battles. Social Media has given us the ability to network with like-minded individuals in similar roles as well as CEOs of major vendors, marketing geniuses, and successful dealer people. Find them, follow them, and interact with them. They have lived your life or are currently walking in your shoes and can help shed light, call you out when you aren’t thinking clearly, or even just be the greatest venting source ever. With that said, don’t just listen to EVERYBODY. Find those that are truly worth trusting. They are your most valuable assets.
Beware of Outdated Info!
Just be sure to keep in mind that product, vendors, and services change over time. Something that was great a year ago could be outdated today due to the ever-changing technology. A company that was amazing 5 years ago could have terrible service now. Be sure to ask people that are using the products now. Don’t stick with a company’s references. Ask around and you will definitely get a few different opinions to base your decisions on.
Conferences are a great way to pick the brains of people in similar roles, compare vendors side-by-side, and learning about all aspects of digital marketing. Continual education is the key and it is the interaction that occurs at conferences that have profound value in the long-term. We often get stuck in our daily routine and spend too much putting out fires instead of learning or trying new things. These conferences give you access to all aspects of the Internet Automotive world and can provide tutorials on how to accomplish your goals at your store.
Be Not Afraid!
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Push the envelope. Question your vendors. Push your departments to think outside the box. Don’t hold yourself back solely because your vision cannot see beyond the 4 walls of the dealership. A dealership may be where you work, but it doesn’t have to define what your organization is. Change the way customers experience a sale.
To that end, recognize that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of the available content, conferences, and people as valuable resources to build and manage your departments. Don’t waste time in trial and error when you can pull from those who have already tried and erred. Plenty have gone before us and plenty will come after us. As you use the information, participate and pay it forward so that the content is always fresh and new. But most importantly, be creative. Everyone in this industry has the same goal. When you start thinking differently is often when you start dominating!