2013 is off to a busy start. The automotive industry is coming off of the best year in five years and there is certainly a feeling of promise that 2013 may be an even better year for retail automotive than 2012. Innovation, technology and connectivity continue to advance at lightning speed. Consumers are online, on smart phones, on social networks, on review sites, on tablets and devices, sharing information with one another and trusting advertising less and less. Businesses, including automobile dealers, have the challenge of keeping up with changing consumer behavior and the shifting digital landscape while trying to create marketing that cuts through the clutter and connects with prospects in a way that leads to traffic, conversions, sales and retention. It is a tall order.
There is intense focus on technology, but we must never lose sight of the fact that people do business with people, and most people would rather do business with people they like. Harnessing technology to do the heavy lifting and then allowing the human relationships to take over is where the magic happens. In the dealership world, this requires the intersection of people, process, technology, timing and message. Operations and sales objectives should not become detached from the marketing messages or the “story” of your business.
I’ve been thinking about this lately. At 3 Birds, we’re building a company and a community. We strive to develop industry leading marketing software, design tier-1-quality creative, create effective marketing strategies, provide attentive account management and customer support, and to expand our customer base. Each department plays an important role in the success of our company, but as is often said in startup circles, no matter what position a team member occupies, we’re all in sales. Together, each and every 3 Birds employee represents our company and what we stand for to the outside world – to current customers, prospective customers, vendor-partners, the community and even to friends and family members. With this in mind, we’re in the midst of a very interesting exercise. Every single 3 Birds staff member has been asked to record their 60-90 second “elevator pitch” that they would give in response to the question, “So what does 3 Birds do?” I am eager to view the videos because I think that they will offer a great deal of insight into the different perspectives that each of our team members bring and what 3 Birds means to them as well as potentially revealing knowledge gaps that need to be filled.
What would your staff say if asked to deliver an elevator pitch about your dealership? Of course, you sell and service vehicles, but how would they articulate the unique value proposition that makes buying or servicing at your dealership better than the competition? How would your receptionist answer the question? What would someone in accounting say? Would the fact that your dealership has been family owned for three generations be mentioned? Do you think that you would be surprised by some responses?
Speaking of pitching, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we’re getting ready to leave for the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Convention and Expo (NADA) in Orlando, Florida this weekend. Our team has been enhancing and extending The Wire, our integrated marketing platform. Again. We’re not ones to rest on our laurels here at 3 Birds. We will be introducing version 2.0 of The Wire to the industry. Of course, we’re excited to show everyone the fruits of our labor and share how 3 Birds gives dealers the power to attract and keep customers by driving authentic results. When you come and visit us in Booth 185, you won’t just be meeting our sales team. Of course, Layton and I never miss a show, but we’re also bringing members of our Account Team, Customer Support and Creative Departments, to give people who stop by our booth a well-rounded understanding of the level of support, strategy and support our customers enjoy in addition to the technology that powers it all. Spend time with us at NADA and you’ll come away with deeper understanding of what we have to offer.
See you in Orlando.
Kristen Judd is co-founder and president of 3 Birds Marketing. She is passionate about bringing top-quality, concierge-level service to each of 3 Birds’ clients; she is also a Virgo and is single-handedly responsible for keeping Starbucks in business. Kristen can be reached via email at email@example.com, on Twitter at @kwjudd, and on LinkedIn