2013 brought us so much change that we thought it would be best to provide you with a non-prediction, non-forecast, non-reflective perspective...just to throw you off (and get a few more reads). Cut to the chase right now? Naw...let's tease you a bit:
So we still live in a world hell-bent on immediate gratification. The perfect report. Flawless analytics. Immediate results. Impeccable product. Amazing customer service. And all for less than last year. Or last week...and our clients' clients want that, too.
Our challenges remain the same as they were over 13 years ago when the Auto Industry beckoned to me, selling cars to customers "over the Internet". Customers want a seamless, enjoyable experience that allows them to receive value, benefit and satisfaction. From consideration to contact to confirmation to courting to contract. We seem to fail at the essential points: reaching then, setting appointments and storing/sorting data.
Better websites and SEO and SEM and social media and reputation management, better products and marketing and incentives all show the glaring deficiencies we have as an industry when it still takes about 24 hours to get back to a "lead", make actual contact less than 40% of the time and sell under 10% (really under 8%) of them...
So our prediction is nothing will change; nothing more than a tick on the needle of progress. Oh sure, more dealers will do a "better job", their OEM and vendor suits will tell them so. Yes, for the most part the pie will shift its slices however it won't grow like it should.
More consolidation of vendors will happen. Manufacturers will continue roll out and/or mandate mediocre programs while not selling more cars or knowing how to actually measure a thing. Some of 2013's stars will fade while others will receive the spotlight. "Of course, that's the cyclical ways of commerce" you say...we say bull hooey.
2014 is the 20th year of the Automotive Internet, however over half of the market is still waking up to their year one. This is not meant to piss on anyone's parade, however it is a wake up call to the still-asleep-at-the-wheel. Those clinging to their manipulated audits while flying the flappy arm blow up man or building-sized animal, swearing that 3,000 people came in with their direct mail piece...
You can buy the new adaptive thingy. Roll out the chat-to-dance app. Boost your presence with the social-speed transmission. Serve mobile burritos to your clients. Then wrap it all up with some pay-per-view ultimate fighting service sauce. Or not change a thing and sell and maintain just about what you did in 2013. Why go through a business existence like this?
We need real education and investment. Not "training" and "cost". Curiosity killed the cat. And fear is the lengthened shadow of ignorance. So what will you do to support success before the next snake oil rep comes in with the "must have" toy or NADA party pass if you sign up?
2014 will not change a thing. Your customers will, if you allow them. Your OEM will not change a thing. Your service manager will, if you allow them. Your inventory will not change a thing. Your new actions will, if you allow them.
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Note: we've been quiet for a long, long time here on our blog. The "experiment" is done and we'll be more active again. So if you'd like to see a subject covered, let us know here, on Twitter, Facebook or by contacting us directly (310) 377-6481 or info at imacsweb.com.
A lot is in store for IM@CS in 2014 and we'd love to have you along for the ride. Not making it to NADA? Set up an assessment meeting with Gary, JD or Evelyn (for our Canadian friends), we are honoring 2013 pricing until January 15...
Thank you for reading (and participating on) our blog as we start year six of doing so for the Automotive Industry's superstars: the dealers.