If you missed this morning’s CNBC segment, Mike Jackson, the CEO of AutoNation discussed this quarter’s record earnings. The differentiator of this traditional earnings interview is that Mike Jackson vocalized AutoNation’s increased focus and investment in digital strategy. CNBC host Joe Kernen asked Mike “why now?” Clearly, they have been doing something right to be the largest automotive retailer in the United States. Jackson replied with an answer that sounded more like a top notch Chief Digital Officer than a traditional automotive CEO. We are impressed. Comments included: (1) AutoNation’s recent streamlining of their brand online has helped the FL based company expand its reach nationally. (2) He stated that customers don’t want a digital experience and a retail experience, they want one experience. (3) A clear opportunity for them has been to establish an omnichannel customer experience to accommodate customers’ smartphones in the showroom.
Watching digital and mobile shine in the context of an earnings interview is further proof that digital strategy has never been a novelty. It is an essential cornerstone to successful business practices, spanning across industries, age and geography.
As Centric Digital approaches our fifth year anniversary this weekend, we’ve seen a tremendous change in the mindsets of some executive teams of traditional businesses.
However, mindset and implementation are separate entities, and digital is ever evolving. If AutoNation is really looking to make its digital strategy centric to it’s business strategy, we recommend a benchmark audit of AutoNation against the best practices of the leading digital disruptors. For instance, AutoNation doesn’t have a responsive website.