Death, Taxes…Innovation and Disruption

Stick your heads in the sand, you can count on all four in Automotive!

It’s more clear than ever, especially in the face of the past five to seven years in the Automotive space, specifically online/digital. The more the existing base stick their heels in the sand, the more innovation and disruption will take over.

At this week’s DrivingSales Presidents Club in New York City, one of the primary focuses was preparing for, absorbing ourselves around and becoming part of the existing, as well as forthcoming, disruption.

If the past eight years demonstrated much, is that the dealer body becomes blind (er, at least ignorant) of “the outside” when things are relatively easy and profitable. Another very evident aspect is blaming outside forces for change, counting both outside-industry start-ups coming inside, venture-backed technology and disruptive services experimenting in automotive, to the already ever-present third parties, vendor mergers and partnerships that morph perceived “friendlies” and “unfriendlies” alike into pseudo-larger providers typically based on technology, top- or bottom-line revenue and/or a history-packed executive team with a slick pitch.

Change? No thanks, we prefer a couple rounds of headwinds followed by a year of cost-cutting, mixed with a buy/sell or two or, better yet, a new management team. Gosh folks, really??

Sure, it’s hard to grasp a new technology, different approach or confusing mindset based on how most of us have been brought up in the business. However, there is no reason why that should stop you or, at a minimum, cause you to spend real time researching, understanding and investigating products and services that scare the sh*y out of you.

We are fundamentally, one of the slowest verticals to adopt technology. One shining example is how dealerships receive leads into CRM. Automotive is the only larger vertical in the US that still demands the XML ADF format our leads are delivered in.

Disruption in supply chains, consumer engagement, delivery (remember when JIT was new?) and even technology is here to stay. The more capital that becomes interested and focused on automotive, the better. We’ll learn what works and doesn’t, what succeeds and what fails. No matter what, it’s parts of all our jobs to be open, intelligent, adoptive and, quite frankly, excited about being part of the changes that are necessary.

It’s been a long time since one of our colleagues in the industry went to an airline counter to buy a ticket, drove to a dairy for milk or had to wait four minutes for their television to “warm up”. Heck, most of you reading this haven’t deposited a physical check into your bank account in months (or a payroll check in years). Turning your face on everything you do every day via technology and disruption to save a bastion of the industry is called hypocrisy.

Don’t lose focus on the business and never lose focus on your customer. We are all customers. If you can do both while leveraging new tools and technology, we’ll all win. Now get back to paying your taxes and dying…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.