A dealer once told me that he goes into his office at 5 a.m. on New Year’s Day every year by himself and thinks for hours about what he wants to accomplish for the year. For a long time I thought of this as an admirable trait and a quite compelling way to set a course for the year and goals. Then, as my own business grew I realized that was very small-time thinking because there is no possible way to sit down in one sitting and plan out all the goals for the year. Plus, if you are doing this at 5 a.m. every New Year’s Day you probably didn’t have a very fun New Year’s Eve.
For me, setting a course for the year is a process that begins in December. Having time to think and reflect on what can be accomplished takes time and serious thought. I think trying to decide what you want to accomplish in 12 months cannot be done in one day, and even if you try, you probably have your sights set on doing far too little. Some people accuse me of trying to accomplish more in a given day than I would ever be capable, but to me if you don’t set your sights extremely high then you are certainly not going to live up to your potential.
It’s time for dealers to be looking at how they can concentrate and dominate their marketing efforts for 2016.
It’s simple. Back in the recession years everybody cut their budgets back and would only spend any money if they had something that was guaranteed to work. With the car market rocking and rolling these days people are spending money everywhere and wondering what is sticking. As the market gets better, people get more comfortable with what they are willing to try in marketing but it also creates a lot of waste in advertising.
Many stores require a good bit of work on current efforts before any marketing money is spent on new budget items. I hear all the time that “we need to get our processes in line” or “we can’t do that until we have enough sales people.” Yet, when it comes to the latest new and shiny object, people will experiment with anything long before they actually need it.
The goal for my dealer clients this year is to concentrate and dominate the areas we know drive results. Some dealers have vastly different executions than others but the common denominator is “focus your time and energy on what works the best.” People ask me every week “how’s the market” or “how are your other dealers doing”. Generally the ones who ask are the ones who are not concentrating their efforts on dominating certain areas.
If you will set your mind to a mode of dominating your current marketing strategies before trying new ones you will be able to either see a near immediate route to success or know that something is missing and needs to be evaluated. This is not to say that everything in your marketing plan has to be digital, or everything has to be traditional but you must concentrate on the areas that allow you to dominate.
The old cliché holds true “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Concentrate and dominate was what my dad used pertaining to advertising back in the 70s, and here 40 years later, it’s still such a valuable component.
My mantra for this year is to focus on what went well and improve them. That’s how you perfect something. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone. Focus on what you are able to do extremely well and then do everything you can to maximize the results you see from it. That’s how I define “concentrate and dominate 2016”.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.