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


  • Emiltsch says:

    Nice list Gary; eventually you’ll get through to everyone:)
    Amazing how some people are still functioning with some of these items in place.

  • Thanks Gary, just got woke up the kids, I was laughing so hard. I guess someone had to it/everything, eh?
    Here’s another for your dealer list: Focusing on *easy* instead of *effective*. Managers, if you want online success, the price of admission is your time, your effort, & your ability to clear roadblocks. Get involved!

  • Cjtheisen says:

    I knew I liked you for some reason 🙂 This should be required reading for all in the industry. Sad thing is the people that should read it wont because they cant promote themselves in the comments or refuse to learn. I have one huge one to add. Dealers stop letting auto specific vendors sell you stuff because they are auto specific. 8 times out of 10 that just means they are lazy and are selling a service to an industry that doesnt understand that they are getting hosed on quality and price. Do research, you will find better and more affordable options outside of the auto industry on most occasions. Except for Gary May, you are well worth it.

  • Joe Webb says:

    I cannot disagree with a word. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make me laugh. It makes me mad at the current state of affairs. Obviously you and I both feel that #4 is hurting dealers almost as much as anything else because some reputations blind dealers to realizing what is valid, how-to information and how much is just read-and-repurposed crap.
    I would have to add on
    SEM companies that show their dealer clients massive click through rates, but don’t highlight the report where most of those clicks come from going after the dealer’s very own name – Shame on you.
    Dealer who spend a significant chunk of change on a service just because it is a buzzword – instead, understand before you spend.
    You couldn’t have made it more clear that far too many vendors are gouging dealership wallets on social media and reputation management initiatives. It is a medium that is screaming to be DIY and dealers are refusing to seek knowledge from the outside to how to handle their own online presence in these forums.
    In regard to the lack of truth so many software vendors are spilling, I feel it is imperative that dealers, when evaluating a new potential vendor partner, start asking “What is it you wish your product did do?” and “Name a feature that a competitor has that you don’t that you see a value in.” Dealers need to start doing as much research on the vendors they choose as their customers do on the dealership they choose.
    Good article, Gary. See you in SLC tonight.

  • Great Post Gary. The sad part is that it was easier for you write about the things we can change versus the few bright points of 2010.

  • Brent Wees says:

    I’ll be passing this around to a few dealers up here in Canada…nice work Gary.

  • Meow! Somebody get out of the wrong side of the bed?
    Great bitchin’ post Gary, That’s a pretty comprehensive list.
    As mentioned by CarDealerBlog, it’s sad that the list is so long, compared to the bright points of 2010.
    Let’s hope this time next year, there will be a similar list, but focusing on how well the industry has learnt from it’s mistakes in 2010.

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