I got the idea for a story about how dealerships were using digital video in their marketing strategies before the NADA Show in February.
Then the world changed.
Some dealers have said they are pulling back on their advertising to conserve cash as sales collapse and service demand falls off during the COVID-19 outbreak, either because customers are reluctant to venture to a dealership while practicing social distancing or because state and local governments closed showrooms to the public.
I started asking dealers how they're adapting to a virtual world when the physical one is limited. Over the past few weeks, I've heard about social media videos promoting online transactions and remote deliveries, virtual finance and insurance conversations, even staff video chats.
There still is a story to tell about dealers' videos — just not the one I'd envisioned.
Like many of you, I've been following social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have had essentially no in-person contact with anyone outside my household for weeks. I am now keenly aware of how much I took routine interactions for granted.
I also think about how grateful I am for technology that keeps us connected.
For dealerships, especially those that can only sell cars online right now, the virus may have sped up adoption of virtual interactions out of necessity. Business is proceeding to the extent it can. Yet technology also can help dealerships stay connected to customers — and employees — until it's safe to return to normal.