Cars.com is back from Digital Dealer 12, and if there was one overarching theme on the workshop floor, it was that the consumer must be the center of our industry.

From “ZMOT” and “So|Lo|Mo” to “Moneyball” and “Big Data,” DD12 was all about reaching consumers how they want to be reached with the information they want – and leveraging the technology available today to track and target more effectively than ever.  Here’s a quick breakdown:

–          Car shoppers are consuming more information from more sources via more devices/platforms/channels, and the interaction that happens in a dealer’s showroom, while still the most important part of the total experience, is more dependent upon the dealer’s online engagement with that consumer than ever before.

–          Consumers are looking for a relationship with a dealership, not just a car.  Considering how much of a consumer’s purchase process takes place before they ever contact a dealer, DD12’s subject-matter experts weighed in heavily on the importance of a dealer’s online reputation and brand.

–          Thanks to advancements in online analytics, dealers are in a fantastic position to drive process improvement, shift their marketing approach and timing to align better with consumer behavior, and redistribute their marketing dollars toward the investments that sell more cars.

In short, the big takeaway from DD12 was that your dealership brand and reputation matter, making it crucial that you’re communicating your value consistently throughout all channels and on all devices, and that you’re tracking it in a way that drives better performance.

Slides from Jack Simmons’ DD12 workshop presentation, “Driving a Winning Online Reputation,” and Laurie Foster’s workshop, “New Car is Back!” are available on the DealerADvantage profile on Slideshare.  Be sure to follow us for the latest case studies, insights and workshop content!