I'll apologize ahead of time if this comes across as a rant (which it is) about an important topic to dealers (which it should be). When I started on the vendor side of the car business eight years ago, I wanted to build my company's brand based upon education. We felt that the techniques and strategies we were using were not threatened by sharing. In other words, we could help dealers and even competitors learn how to make things better for themselves based upon an idea I heard at a conference once.
Paraphrased, the idea is this. If you educate your potential customers on how to do things for themselves, you'll find that 20% will take the advice and do it, 20% will hear the advice and want you to do it, and 60% won't act at all on the advice. It has proven itself out over the years, which is why I'm not a fan of big booths at trade shows but prefer to speak and educate.
We were blessed to be a pioneer when it came to educating on many of the topics that are hot today such as social, search, and mobile. Over time, we noticed that others were doing the same thing. The various automotive networks became flooded with articles. YouTube exploded with educational videos. New conferences started popping up. Webinars were plentiful regardless of which day you watched.
This site was built on the concept of providing unique content for dealers in some sections and to highlight excellent content that we find from other companies and dealer personnel that can be beneficial. We've even highlighted content from competitors on our Around the Web section because if the content is good and the advice is righteous, we don't care who is delivering the message. Then, something happened. It happened twice, actually, and we're going on a third round of it happening again. I'm having a difficult time finding content. I go to blogs of major companies and see only sporadic posts about new employees or promoting the booth at the next conference. I go to YouTube channels and see tons of promotion but not very many videos that a dealer could watch and actually learn something.
There are exceptions. Some of my favorite people in the automotive industry like Paul Potratz and Brian Pasch are still out there educating while promoting their products. I see nothing wrong with that message - "Here's what you need to know and here's how we can help."
Unfortunately, today I'm having another round of difficulties traveling across the internet searching for worthy content. Why are vendors abandoning the educational aspect of the web? Why aren't they posting at least a blog post every week? We are blessed with several talented people on our team, many of whom are active in educating through articles and best practices. Surely we're not alone, right?
This is an industry that relies on thought leadership. The good news is that there are plenty of thought leaders. The bad news is that many of them have stopped leading. This needs to change.