Chris Theisen is the director of digital communications for Hare Chevrolet the “Oldest Transportation Company in America” Chris believes in the power of engaging current and future customers via new digital media, and uses it on a daily basis. When not attached to some sort of technology device he enjoys golf, tennis, bowling and coaching youth sports. Chris, his wife Liz and their sons Michael and Jonathon live in Noblesville. He can be reached by email at

If you are a business would you rather go to Lowe’s or Sherwin-Williams to buy paint?

Lowe’s has a good selection to choose from, seems to have a knowledgeable staff and has other things you may need to pickup. They may even give you a discount if you do enough business with them.

Sherwin-Williams specializes in selling paint. They know paint. They eat, sleep and breath paint (the last ones not such a good idea by the way)

While Lowe’s isnt a bad choice (they get alot of my paycheck) I would argue Sherwin-Williams is a better option. If the price is close to the same why not go with someone who specializes in your need? You can take this example and adapt it to many different areas of your business.

The auto industry is noted for being WAY behind the technology curve. I have noticed this first hand ever since I started working in digital communications at Hare Chevrolet. With the buzz around social media, new media and internet marketing spreading like wildfire everyday the auto industry has taken notice. Car dealership principals who have a hard time sending email are now being told they have to be on Facebook and Twitter and and and.

The management at most car dealerships are smarter and more business savvy than they are given credit for, but not when it comes to new media. They listen to every consultant that posts an article on an industry think tank blog, speaks the language of the car dealer or attends the national conferences. They take their word as bible and regurgitate it to anyone that will listen and think they are in tune to this social media thing. Its amazing the amount of bad advice and tons of money being spent on new media inside an industry that doesnt understand the medium.

There are template websites that dont provide options for on page SEO best practices or flexibility. Consultants touting numerous micro-sites as the ticket to a link building strategy, only to have those sites not get indexed because of lack of content. Social media strategies that your 6th grader could tell you arent the best way to engage your customers.f

You may be saying “well thats because its the auto industry, WE know better” While you may have a good grasp on any one of the digital marketing strategies that need to be employed in this day and age I’d be willing to bet your company falls back into industry specific traps. If you use a website provider because they “tailor” their product to fit your industry, stop now. If you use a website provider because your competitor does, stop now. Find someone who specializes in website development. If you are selling products via your site then find an e-commerce specialist, not someone in your industry who offers “e-commerce optimization” of your site. They may have read a post or attending a conference on the topic but they dont practice it as their main way of bringing in income.

The website example is just one of many you can make. Plug in social media instead of website and you get the idea. Find someone who practices it and makes their living doing it, not someone who attending a conference or read a blog about it. Plug in whatever area of your business (not just digital marketing) you would like and if you use an industry specific vendor you are probably being short sighted and too narrow in your vendor options.

The same goes for your online presence and your education in this ever changing world. Dont listen, read and follow only people in your industry. Branch out. Take what a restaurant is doing and adapt it to your carpet cleaning business. Take what a car dealership is doing and adapt it to your wholesale document imaging company.

Another reason to look outside of your industry. Many times specialists and leaders in your area of need are located right in your own backyard. Hare Chevrolet is located in the Indianapolis suburb of Noblesville. A good portion of you reading this either already know the great talent located in and around Indy or you will be hearing from them soon. Hare is starting to align ourselves with local vendors such as Compendium Blogware and have been in contact with industry leaders Slingshot SEO and ExactTarget, both based in Indy. Why wouldnt we use a firm in our backyard who is an international leader in their area of expertise? Most times your local vendors are in the same price point, or cheaper, as your current vendors regardless of where you live or your business is headquartered.

The other added benefit to branching outside of your industry and dealing locally? Your local vendors will, or should, promote you through their posting of their own work throughout their networks. Guess who is in their networks? You guessed right, your customers. Think your customers follow, have heard of or interact with that consultant or industry specific web firm on the coast? Doubt it.