The biggest decision facing dealers over the next 24 months will be what I call “Digital Control.” Who is in control of managing your digital properties and executions and why are they qualified?
It’s a new day for automotive retailing in America, but traffic is still what you depend on the most. So why are so many dealerships relying on an internal manager or a third party vendor with no long-term vested interest to drive your future success? I see it simply as many fail to see the power of a perfectly executed digital strategy compared to checking the boxes in digital marketing.
Most dealers I know have land and property investments in excess of $10 million. They build immaculate facilities that comply with manufacturers’ regulations for physical appearance and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in cleaning, maintenance, landscaping, and general upkeep.
When it comes to the website, a property that generates far more visits a month than any physical location, there is usually very little money spent on its physical appearance. More importantly the “control” is left up to someone who will not be with your company a decade from now. Most third party search and optimization companies never even send an employee to visit your dealership as everything is communicated over webinars and conference calls. Yet you let this person or organization control your digital destiny?
I know some dealers like this but also ones who can touch and describe every digital element that is happening in their strategy. They know not only who manages the campaigns but also what the campaigns are and what the goal is.
In four years it will be 2020, the year I was told as a child would have people living on the moon. While we are still a little far away from that, we are staring into a future that many will be lost in because they simply never took control of their digital strategy.
John Paul Strong: As owner of Strong Automotive Merchandising, a company that increases traffic up to 1,000% for dealerships, Strong lives by the simple concept that your attitude affects your success. Without a positive mind set he would not have been able to grow the company over the last decade from just 10 to over 80 full-time employees. The rapid growth is thanks to his ability to keep the company on the forefront of technology, market changes and an infectious talent to motivate and keep employees striving to fulfill their potential. His beginnings in direct mail gave him the tools and skills to develop incredibly successful marketing plans. From there he moved on to traditional forms of media and has now mastered the dynamic world of digital and social media advertising. With over 150 dealers to please, Strong takes a hands-on approach and personal attention to detail in all aspects of marketing strategies. His expertise in plan development gives him a keen sense on how to maximize a dealer’s budget and ultimately increase their bottom line. Strong is a passionate speaker in the automotive industry. He has authored two books on creating next day traffic. He graduated from the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School. Strong received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Montevallo. He lives with his wife and three children in Homewood, Alabama.