By Dan Smith, Outsell CMO While doing a Google search a few days back, I tripped over an article in a little-read Boston-area neighborhood publication called the Fenway-Kenmore Patch. It was about a guy named Bob Whetstone. Who’s he? If you’ve been to Boston and attended a Red Sox game any time since 1993, you would have undoubtedly walked passed him. He wades among the Red Sox faithful with his "Jesus Is Lord" T-shirt, oval glasses, Jesus-themed trucker hat, and a sign depicting the eternal pit of fire known as Hell, quietly handing out pamphlets about salvation in forty different languages. In his own words, Whetstone “just wants to see these folks get into Heaven.” He sees his business as saving people from bad choices. Now I don’t in any way mean to imply that choosing a customer engagement platform is in the same league as choosing between Heaven and Hell, but, if you’ll forgive the metaphor, making the wrong vendor choice can make a dealer’s life feel like Hell. And it’s Outsell’s job to save them from making bad choices. It may not be fancy, but you have to admire Mr. Whetstone’s “Saved by Jesus or Lost to Hell” sign. It gets right to the point: he’s challenging his audience to make a (very stark) choice. And when you distill it down, Outsell is asking dealers to make a choice as well. As a dealer, do you want to concentrate on your sales strategy, your store brand, and your customers—or data management, marketing technology, and multi-vendor integrations? Do you want to buy, install, and maintain expensive software or do you want to just pay a subscription fee and have the software (and all of us at Outsell) do the work for you? Do you want to engage in a consistent cross-channel dialogue with your customers, or is it okay to treat the customer differently on each channel? Do you want to drive revenue for your dealership or is just counting clicks and adding fans enough? With our analytically-driven campaigns and curated social content, we can provide individual customers with relevant information and offers. I’d like to think we actually delight dealers’ customers—and “delight” is one the greatest words in marketing. Outsell Fuel is built for dealers and it’s ridiculously easy to use (done in three clicks). We offer cross-tier, brand-consistent, cross-channel content. We actively manage (and orchestrate) message delivery and, most importantly, help generate sales—as important as oxygen to a dealer. We’re making great progress on developing our next-generation platform that will significantly raise the bar on what we’re able to deliver to our dealers, and further differentiate Outsell from its competitors. In the meantime, we sleep better knowing that what we do every day is getting our clients into (Dealer) Heaven; like Mr. Whetstone, we’re saving people from bad choices. Dan Smith, Outsell's Chief Marketing Officer, is responsible for driving the ongoing evolution of Outsell Fuel, our award-winning customer engagement platform, to effectively engage consumers and drive incremental sales for automotive brands and their dealers.