Keeping up with the 'Joneses' in the industry is something that most people want to do, if not beat them. The issues are typically time, resources, knowledge and access. While I've been using many of the online resources for a while, it's not the case for the majority of our industry friends. Also, there is a reluctance at different levels of the industry due to misunderstanding and ignorance.
Part of what IM@CS brings into clients is eliminating mistakes or the 'what not to do and why' as compared to simply telling people 'do this'. There are a few newer resources that address that in a great way, and they deserve plugs.
First and foremost, it is imperative to stay up-to-date with education from your vendors and use their products fully. Second, leverage the eNewsletters, webinars and events that are free to 'inexpensive' (defined by you or your dealership) run by companies including Automotive News, Cars.com, KBB, Automotive Digest, Ward's, Dealer Magazine and more.
Then you have access to sites that are community based and living on the real-life, day-to-day, cut-your-teeth edge in order to provide value where it's needed most. Here's two that are prominent players and should be bookmarked:
AutomotiveDigitalMarketing – What can you say that hasn't been said about the prolific Ralph Paglia? Don't waste your time (sorry Ralph), just go to the website and immerse yourself in the groups, discussions, blog posts and more because these are the people (about 1,600) making it happen at retail every day. http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com*
*The fact that this post will end up on the site as well is not an additional endorsement and no, we're not being paid!
DrivingSales – Jared Hamilton started this site as a way to stay in touch with people he had taken NADA courses with. Still in beta (and a number of bugs to work out), this is another community that aims to be the knowledge base for folks starting and maintaining their digital presence, including vendor rankings, video interviews and more. http://www.drivingsales.com
Nothing is static about our industry anymore. Your success depends on accumulating an incredible wealth of knowledge, deciding how to move forward and then doing it. Both sites are testimonies that these communities must exist and are of significant value. And if you have an idea, comment and question, go ahead and get it out there. Chances are there's at least one other person that has the same.
Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results