Today is my first blog of 2023, like anything, a new beginning. Yesterday, I was on a phone call with a dealer friend of mine who was quite optimistic about 2023. This dealer was focused on transforming his dealership for electric vehicles and on consumer preferences that are changing the very nature of what an automotive dealership needs to deliver for consumers. He also rightly pointed out that dealerships are responsible for carrying the OEMs brand forward in the local communities. I love this because it demonstrates how everything needs to work together, and when it does, everyone benefits.
During my career, I found the greatest success had always come when we moved away from departments, titles, and levels like senior staff, VPs, Directors, etc. Instead, everyone is focused as a team on business outcomes and our customer’s success. When everyone came together for a common cause and put their egos aside, we achieved truly groundbreaking and evolutionary products and approaches.
At Perficient, we have teammates all over the country and in over 40 countries worldwide. Yet our approach on every client assignment is to create a beautiful symphony where we can employ the best subject matter experts for that solution. Working together allows for better, more innovative solutions. It also creates a system of empowerment for staff and a much more functional way of doing business and going to market. It also allows for leadership to happen at any level of the organization, and our clients benefit greatly from this approach. Asking for help and being comfortable with knowing that sometimes being a leader is also being a great follower and teammate when somebody else has more knowledge on a topic or is in a better position to make a greater impact is key.
I never generate resolutions or things I want to do in any particular year. Since I was about nine years old, my sole purpose has been to improve daily. Be the bigger person, learn something new, try something different, and use each interaction with a teammate, client, or total stranger to learn something new and improve myself. Many years ago, a supervisor told me that “leadership is not substantive.” I obviously did not agree with it, but I also felt bad for that person because they were missing the point. In business, we do many things for our customers, our teams, and our business; we track all kinds of metrics and deliver business outcomes. However, the most important thing we do is take care of each other as people. Nothing else matters or works quite well if we forget that people are not there just to be managed, but we are in service to all those who cross our paths.
It is more important now than ever with the automotive industry entering a period of intense change. Over the next few years, what has been known as the automotive industry, will come to be known more broadly as the mobility industry. Mobility includes the next generation of products and services that enable the transportation of people and goods, combined with new technologies in material and digital sciences, and business models (e.g., ridesharing and shared ownership). This transformative period will require different and more innovative solutions. Solutions that rethink everything are aligned with consumer preferences and needs as well as business outcomes.
We work with almost all the automotive OEMs in North America and Europe to solve the industry’s challenges. We believe there is an opportunity to enhance digital retailing and align that with automotive customer experience design. We need to develop systems and approaches that align strongly with the dealer and the OEM. It is critical in the automotive transformation is the presence of real-time inventory access.
Another area of huge opportunity for the industry is the automotive shopper customer journey with increasingly fragmented paths to purchase have increased the importance of marketing attribution, and automotive analytics as consumers turn their attention, interest, and buying activity to digital channels. Also, it highlights challenges with customer loyalty and retention in the automotive space.
A major change that is happening is the end of a siloed approach to managing automotive customer data—created by the distinct repositories OEMs and dealers maintain for auto customer, transactional, and marketing performance data—which is inhibiting insights and activation. Pulling that data together will be a powerful way of both marketing to the consumer across all aspects of their personalized shopping journeys and providing increased ROI to OEMs and their dealers.
There’s no point in collaboration without tension, disagreement, or conflict. We need collaboration where tension, disagreement, and conflict improve the value of the ideas, expose the risks inherent in the plan, and lead to enhanced trust among the participants. Collaborating is unnecessary if you agree on everything. Building on one another’s ideas only gets you incrementally thinking. If you avoid disagreeing, you leave faulty assumptions unexposed.
My point is this process will not be easy, but it is necessary. Both the OEM and their dealers are united in serving their customers, and we are transitioning from selling a vehicle toward creating a lifetime relationship that will encompass all the transformations happening in the automotive industry today. I am excited about 2023, all the great opportunities in front of our clients, and how we can help them achieve their business outcomes.
One team, one mission…