I have been reflecting about what an instant gratification world we live in today. While speaking this week to a team of automotive marketing professionals, I discussed long term contracts for dealerships. My stance being that I whole-heartedly oppose them. Most dealers and smart business people realize and respect when marketing is working. Meaning, a piece of paper to tie you into a long term guarantee is not necessary. If marketing is not working, you are going to have to try something new so why wait or ride out a very lengthy contract?
If you have a great product that will create traffic for your dealers, then you don’t need to have something locking them in long-term. If you have dealers who like to change marketing direction as much as the weather changes then they will never sign a long-term contract anyway making it a moot point.
The world we live in today is one of immediacy. If you want something now, you have the power of technology on your side to go online or on your phone and get it. If you need something, there isn’t a lot of waiting around and planning. You can simply order it and have it delivered to your doorstep the next day. This way of living is spilling over into the vendor and client relationship especially when it comes down to marketing and effective marketing.
Many times this year I have been in dealership meetings where someone says, “Hey I need this and need it quick!” My canned response has become, “I’m not supposed to do this because I drive my staff crazy, but we can get that done for you today.” Or “Let me see if I can get that handled before we leave this meeting.” The power of the Internet has changed or virtually erased the need for wait times and that holds true across many different things we come in contact with daily.
Thinking back to a decade ago when I first started my company, it is mind boggling how little instant gratification existed. I remember barely being able to talk on a cell phone while traveling because signals were so bad and calls got dropped so much; you just pushed things off until you got back in the office. It was a stretch to be in a dealership on a Tuesday and be changing a print ad that was supposed to run on a Friday. Simply having to call the office and send the changes in was a rare occurrence. Today you sit in a dealership on a Tuesday and send out an email blast to 300,000 prospects that same afternoon.
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.