When I read Alex Snyder’s article titled “Are You Being Left Behind?” it confirmed that data PCG has been collecting on dealership investments in digital marketing education should be shared here first.
We polled dealers about their investments in Digital Marketing education and some of the responses tie right into what Alex said in his post. So before I add my commentary, here are a few questions and answers from the PCG Digital Marketing survey.
Keep in mind that the responses are skewed towards enlightened dealers. Since the survey was promoted on Twitter, Facebook, and social media channels; only the most connected dealers most likely responded. This should give you even more of a case for Alex’s point about investing in the next generation of dealership leaders.
Staffing and Budgeting
1. Do you have an employee tasked with managing your digital marketing and social media?
- Full Time – 58.3%
- Part Time – 22.3%
- No – 19.4%
2. Do you feel that the EXISTING dealership staff has the TIME and SKILLS to create and manage a competitive digital marketing and social media strategy for the year ahead?
- Yes – 41.7%
- No – 58.3%
3. Do you have an annual budget to train your existing staff to increase their skills and knowledge in the area of social media and digital marketing?
- Yes – 40.8%
- No – 59.2%
I’ll let you make your own comments, but what I see from the data is lack of action, not lack of knowledge. Over 65% of those taking the survey had the authority to invest money into educating their staff yet they chose not do.
Ironically, 58% of those survey felt that their internal team was not able to create a competitive digital marketing and social media strategy.
Creating Internship Programs
In industries outside of automotive retailing, new talent, skills, and a future workforce is introduced to various career path via Internship Programs. So we asked dealers if they had considered creating an Internship program to attract the skills and knowledge that their current workforce was missing.
As Alex pointed out, the next generation of workers has grown up with many of the tools that are standard operating procedure for growing businesses outside of automotive retailing.
4. Have you considered starting an internship program at your dealership for social media and digital marketing in partnership with a local college or university?
- Yes – 39.8%
- No – 60.2%
(Note: Of those that said that they considered an internship program, only 11% said that they had a program up an running.)
5. For those that answered “No” above, can you select the reasons why the internship program never got off the ground?
- We didn’t have the knowledge to properly train the intern – 23.8%
- We didn’t have the time to properly train the intern – 47.6%
- We didn’t have enough work to keep the busy – 19%
- We couldn’t attract the right candidates 14.3%
- We needed to create a program and curriculum for the school to approve. 47.6%
- We didn’t have a desk for them to work at 4.8%
The PCG survey data gave me the impression that dealers are like deer caught in the headlights. They admit that their staff is not fully trained; yet 60% said they had no budget set aside for education. This number is more likely to be 80% if we could survey all dealers who are not active online.
The fact they dealers thought about creating an intern program but could not teach initiates or create a curriculum that would be approved by colleges amplifies the problems that dealers are facing.
In 2011, dealers need to consider the implications of not investing in the skills development that their employees need to be successful. How will dealers build the next generation of leaders if they can’t attract bright minds that have energy, passion, and digital entrepreneurial skills?
Leaving eCommerce Directors home from NADA, as Alex points out, is a mistake. The greater mistake is to “leave them behind” all year.