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Google Plus Pages Allowing Dealers To Do More (Half-Baked)?

With innovation and technology comes missteps and half-hearted attempts to "do it". As more dealers encourage their staff, and many times vendors, to push into new technology, software and social networking, which should be commended, the volume of missteps and simple ignorance increases as well. It's simple: if you don't know how to do something, get assistance. Just winging it in today's market won't pay dividends nor register with the public when it counts.

Google Plus Pages Equals Unknown_SMALL

Google Plus Business Pages launched more than a week ago and searches with typical terms (Toyota, Honda, Ford, etc) on G+ turns up car dealerships using Google Plus profiles as businesses. Not pages, Google Plus profiles as in personal pages. This is absolutely the same lack of common sense and willingness to "ask for directions" that has thousands of retailers on Facebook personal profiles rather than the appropriate business pages.

No different than buying a CRM and not utilizing more than 40% of its capabilities or paying $699 a month for a website without SEO services, multi-million dollar establishments continue to fudge it and then wonder why things "don't work" or "provide revenue or ROI". It seems that the more technology and opportunities avail themselves, the faster car dealers are willing to say "we don't have any more budget", "we're not looking to go after every thing we can possibly buy" and the ever-popular "we already are doing a great job using what we use". So things go 'round like they always do: crap in, crap out.

The jury is in on your decision to half-ass things: you're wrong! The rule is go big or go home.

When sales, service and parts staffs are quick to Google the latest part that a customer brings up, right after they check ESPN highlights on their smart phones, why do things stop before the extra click to search for "setting up google plus business pages" and reading a quick particle or, better yet, watching a two-minute video that explains everything to properly establish their presence. Naw, it's better to wait until it's seemingly too late to make a change and your competition that you "beat" now has a more established foothold in the same technology, website or service. A local dealer, after offers of assistance fro multiple companies, apparently had to wait until their Facebook "friend" page had over 2,000 people on it before asking about making a business page. WHY??????????????????

We continue to be an industry filled with ignorance, denial, shortcuts, Band-Aids and excuses. ALL of the information is available if you're willing to ask the right questions and select the right employee, partner or vendor. Yes, there is a lot of misinformation but it's not impossible to weed through it. Recently, a top-OEM endorsed social media company executive informed an audience at one of the auto industry digital marketing events that deleting spam posts from Facebook pages was not possible but that they "scan and report" such occurrences. Yes, there is incorrect information out in the market from what should be reputable companies so always finding the right ways to do things can be a challenge.

So are the absolutely-essential, need-to-have Google Plus Business Pages allowing dealers (and other businesses) to do more, just in half-baked ways? Yes, sure enough. Just like everything else that is not known, understood, new and not managed. Until it is…..

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Things That Pissed Us Off In 2010 (Yes, They Pissed You Off, Too!)

We know it, you know it, they know it. Almost everyone knows it. Because if everyone knew it we wouldn't have ben put through it. But we were, you were and they were. Disclaimers: These are not in order of importance. Many companies are being called out, not all. This is a singular perspective.

So here it goes:

1. Automotive marketing overall: Sucked, still sucks, will likely continue to suck.
2. Dealership websites: 1995 called and wants its sites back. Give us a break and some new suppliers!
3. OEMs that don't publish new inventory: Get over it. customers leaving your brand are.
4. Automotive trainers that re-branded as web consultants: A new suit can't cover 1982 style.
5. Reputation management companies: Fudge is brown. So is bull%^&*. Fake customers? Envelope stuffers? Hooters girls? Please leave…
6. Motivational speakers that re-branded as automotive trainers: See line 4.
7. Social media companies: Charging dealers $3,000-5,000 plus per month? Larceny is still a crime.
8. DMS companies: Still make clients sign in blood for 15 year old technology, for 15 years? Nice. FAIL.
9. Website company dashboards: No, use this thing called Google Analytics. Quit fudging numbers. Block dealers' and your IPs for starters!
10. Inventory marketing portals: The luster is long gone. Run or acquire some companies for revenue!
11. Sales reps: Stop selling and start helping. Don't know much so you can't help? Sell elsewhere.
12. Ad agencies (Tier 1): Quit the facade. Traditional doesn't sell. Experiential does. Learn to like social. Get help.
13. Ad agencies (Tier 3): Quit lying to yourselves and your clients…You don't get digital. Get help.
14. CRM companies: If you don't do that, say you don't do that. Otherwise add it for free. Pariahs.
15. Website companies using Flash: 2003 called and wants their websites back. It's called HTML or PHP.
16. Facebook Personal Profiles: Businesses, we've been yelling. Set up pages. Not "friend" profiles!!
17, Social media companies: Setting up APIs and RSS feeds from OEMs is not social. It's plagiarizing.
18. Social media companies: Setting up inventory feeds as posts? If that's social, I'm tall, rich and hot.
19. Traditional media/ad networks still selling to dealers "old school". Shame on you (and your bosses).

Dealers, you're not in the clear either:

1. Hiring any service, including social, as a "pay for it and leave it" service? No such thing. Period!
2. Hiring any company because you "liked the rep when they were at ________ before". Failure…
3. Not taking the time to get educated on new aspects of your business? Hand the keys back to the OEM
4. "Trying" new things?! Sample spoons are for ice cream. Business is for big boys and girls. Just Do It!
5. Cutting your nose to spite your face? Chances are you're too lean. Hire the right people, not resumes.
6. Leaving everything up to the factory (especially some luxury brands). Wake up! It's your business!
7. Believing the you can turn your store's reputation over to an outside company?!?! I've got a bridge…
8. Not flinching on a new $4,000+ service to a company you're already cutting a $15k check to? Dumb.
9. Spending $3,000 on a 3-day conference 3+ times when you can get a month for that?! And get more!!!
10. Spending any money on your business and not taking ownership of the new spend. Why, why, why?
11. Paying any amount of ad money to traditional media and it's not integrated and tracked?! Foolish.

New-age definitions when you don't understand the spend:

CPM: Can't Provide Much
CRM: Can't Remember Much
ILM: Incredibly Lousy Marketing
CSI: Coached Senseless Investment
SSI: Serving Senseless Initiatives
I/O: Incredibly overpriced
OEM: Overlord, Empire, Master
PDI: Petty detailed injustices
Social: Someone outside control incompetently and loosely
IMS: Inventory Means Something
DMS: Decades-old Money-draining (or Mediocre-Moduled) Systems

We could go down the path a long way but here's the simple version of the message: quit doing things old ways, with old thought processes, with old beliefs, with old defenses, with old intentions, with old management. If you want to run a dealership the old way, get stuck in 1964, 1974, 1984, 1994 or 2004. If you want to thrive in this and the coming markets, wake up to the reality that business will not be the same. Even if we sell 17 million new cars again, it'll never be the same.

Some may be able to, by all appearances, just skim along on the surface, mesmerized by everything going on around them and still put up the numbers. For most of the businessmen and businesswomen in the retail part of our industry, it's a deep dive kind of time. Your success depends on you and how you build your business's presence, results, growth and more. Less than 5% of your colleagues are engaged, firing on all cylinders and moving forward in today's market.

There are a lot of things that pissed us off in 2010. And we may never do a post like this again. But somebody needed to do it. This might motivate some, light a fire in others and have some in stitches. No matter what, it's time for moving some more metal. There's not too many ways to do that today.

Are you pissed off enough to do something? We've been helping those that want to do something for the past three years and three months. Are you next?

Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results