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What The Watch Will Have You Watching as You’re not Watching What You Need To Watch

Not paying attention to mobile, tech and search is about to get more annoying…and costly!

What time is it? Really, what time is it? It’s not hammer time or time to get ill, although you may after reading this. It is time to consider where you SEE what time it is. For a lot of people in automotive (read: dealer principals, general managers, general sales managers), it’s usually a nice watch. And guess what? Within months, a lot of those people will be migrating to “smart” watches. Lots and lots of people will.

What does this mean for you? Well, truth is we don’t exactly know yet however know this…you’re about to get more annoyed from a cost and tech perspective. And to think, you were finally getting comfortable with spending money on SEO for your antiquated website 5 years after you should have been spending the money to DOMINATE your market and you just felt like looking into geo-fencing, although you still don’t get it.

Tech, and smart watches specifically, is going to continue the drumbeat of change and focus. Not to say everyone is going to buy a $10,000+ gold-plated Apple watch,. No. More people will be buying the Android watch that’s $499 at Costco right now!

Very few of you are going to think “great! A service app on someone’s wrist with integrated push notifications…I’m in!” Most of you are going to ask “what person would even want their smart phone that close to them?” or “Why do I need to pay attention now, until it’s more common?” or, the worst, “what spend any money on that?”

This is the real question you need to ask yourself, “will my platform, apps and communication be ready for this switch and what is a reasonable cost to be ready?” and for most of you, the answer is no. Look at your email templates and ask yourself are they mobile-ready today. (hint: most dealers have large/wide headers with links, some kind of framing, large/heavy graphics, video and other assets as part of your (non-relevant) emails you send to customers. Newsflash, you’re killing yourself and, if you have an OEM-pushed consultant coming in to your dealership, you’re even more in trouble. You’re not ready.

Tech, search and communication are changing at the speed of the consumer, and you have yet another wrinkle in your plan to do the same thing you were doing before you read this, so keep doing what you’re doing. Yes, car sales are up so dealers can make a lot of mistakes and still make money. The about-to-happen explosion of smart watches represent another example of how overwhelmingly wrong automotive retail marketing is. Now go put your Fitbit on your wrist that tracks you via GPS and uploads to your Strava account and do that run you were planning,. Nothing to see here, everything is fine …

 

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

A Blue/Black Dress. A White/Gold Dress. A Car Sold? Whatever…

Expose your business. Better yet, expose yourself!!

 

It’s not about who bares it all. No, the game is about who gets the exposure at the right time. And most of the time, we perform poorly.

 

Marketers have been talking for decades about exposure, impressions, brand recall and market share. And while nobody (at least here) needs to be convinced that exposure should be primarily online, we’ve once again been shown that the conversation shouldn’t be about advertising.  Yes folks, exposure leads to conversation. All kinds of exposure… 😉

 

So what does the color of a dress have to do with car sales? Both a whole lot, and absolutely nothing. Within a short while of the “dress” explosion last week, automotive b-to-b social media was abuzz with puns,  memes and conversations.  Some of those actually made it to the retail channel. No OEM or retailer had an “Oreo” moment due to what color a dress was. And it was all an experiment anyway.

 

Marketers are being shown up, at an alarming rate, by the media of individuals. And we are still concerned with the “right” newspaper ad for the weekend? Millions of people joined an online conversation about screen resolution and perception, yet nobody sold a car from it.

 

And there could have been some massive fun, too. “Buy a new (fill in car brand) and receive a (fill in department store) gift certificate toward any color dress you want” could have shown up on websites, email blasts and social media within minutes. No, it was all about the weekend ad, which gorilla looks good on the roof, or what new incentives will be, or pouring over month-end reports, instead of selling more cars through created connections.

 

What’s more disarming than making someone laugh? What’s more unexpected than having someone think they just had the least “automotive” experience they’ve ever had?

 

Exactly how to make a popular culture phenomenon part of your marketing is not the point here, realizing that you have the opportunity to capitalize on more of these types of occurrences is.  Ad agencies and media companies aren’t the ones who do this on the fly. We are.

 

Salespeople (and managers) are so focused on the “script”, the “road to the sale”, the “processes” and the such, we take so much of the human element out of making car buying fun.. 2009 was the first time we had a client sell a car specifically (and nearly solely) through social media. Stop thinking about what to say and simply start the conversation. Even if you don’t have a dress on…