MArketingIt is said that if you only look for improvement from within your own industry, you will only replicate what has been done before. At first glance, I disagreed with this statement, but after I had more time to digest it, I agree wholeheartedly.

Do you as a business leader look at what your competition is doing so you can mimic their behavior or try to one up them with a better version of what they do? Has this been a solution that elevates you way past them – or has it had limited success? You may feel better in the short term because at least you are on par with your competition, but the problem is you are still looking at another similar business for your guide.

Why stay only in your industry? An additional strategy is to look outside of the places you look to for inspiration for ways to improve your marketing, sales or customer service.

I am not saying to ignore what is going on in your industry or what has worked for you in the past. However, we are all consumers of many products across different industries and what we experience with each interaction should be taken into account and thought of in terms of how to apply it to your business.

Simply put, if you like it, so will your customers. If it bugs you, don’t do it to your customers.

For example, when you go online, does it bug you when you can’t find what you want simply on the website? Or what about when you email customer service and they don’t answer your question? Now look at your processes. Do you do this to your customers? Do you give them only part of the information they need, hoping then they will call you for the rest? Have you ever thought how many potential customers you are losing with that strategy?

Let’s look at a simple thing like phone calls. I wrote about this before but Would You Pick Up If I Called, asking if you like it when you are asked to  “press 1 for X and 2 for Y” and halfway through the menu you forget what they said and just hammer on the zero hoping it gets you to a live person? If it infuriates you, then why do many of you still have the IVR for your customers to go through the maze to find sales or service or management?

Let’s look at the content you are putting out on your website, blog and social media. If content is king as per Google, then are your writers just reading your industry’s blogs to mimic their style? Wouldn’t it be beneficial if they stepped outside the industry and looked at how hotels write about the experience at their locations. Have your writers look at the different styles and how they write about the rooms or the staff. Do you see how this same sense of storytelling could be used for staff page or how you describe the dealership itself?

Why not write about your waiting room, showroom or your amenities as if it were a five star hotel? I can see the smiles out there, but remember that if you don’t take pride in what you are presenting then I may do my business elsewhere. If I can find the car at multiple locations, are you painting a great picture for me of what it is like to do business with you?

I want you to think of a great customer service experience you had. Think of the things the staff or business did to create that experience for you. How can you bring that to your dealership? If you want to be different than your competition, look at what other industries are doing and replicate the best ideas. Write the blog post that stands out. Provide the customer service that you would want to receive. Have a real person answer the phone. Do it before your competition does.


Glenn Pasch is the current COO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a writer, National Speaker and Trainer.