I spoke to Mike Roscoe today and he shared his perspective on what can now be dubbed "The Situation" of the automotive world (Fitting since Brian Pasch is from Jersey!). While it is clear we share different opinions on the what, the who and the why, I appreciate that he took the time to debate. Beyond that I have nothing to add as I agree with Mike that some things are best left between two men and not for the general public. In short, we agree to disagree... ;)
Thanks Mike for speaking with me today... Back to moving some iron.
Mike Roscoe called me to schedule some time to talk. In keeping with the principle's of the 7 habits, I will refrain from commenting further until I can seek to understand. Perhaps nothing will come of it and I may remain of the same opinion. But it is through discussion, debate (even vigorous debate) and sharing that progress and change can be made. In that light, I view this post and the discussion that ensued, a huge success. Mike, I look forward to speaking with you next Tuesday.
Thanks to all who read and participated in this post!
Many people know I have worked in Automotive Digital Marketing since it's inception. Having been born into the car business like so many others I began working retail at age 14 and have seen many familiar cliche's and stereotypes come and go through the years. There has always been a lot of propaganda over the years for or against new strategies to increase dealer profitability or volume. The list of the various products and techniques that have come and gone are too many even for it's own dedicated blog post.
The last 15 months have shown me that education and commitment to strong first principle's is neither a stereotype nor a cliche. That following correct principles backed up by knowledge through education will always best the latest greatest snake oil or widget. Initially, looking back at 2010 I made the mistake of attributing Marlboro Nissan's tremendous success in that year to a new, effective marketing strategy and while that strategy was incredibly successful, the strategy itself was born on the back of my continued commitment to correct principles and education.
Prior to NADA 2010 I committed myself and another Marlboro Nissan
employee to attend Brian Pasch's SEO Bootcamp. Little did I realize what a commitment I had made until it's commencement. The level of knowledge that was shared and available at this event was unlike any other I had attended. So much so, that NADA left me feeling unimpressed in 2010. In comparison NADA that year was relatively poorly attended even in context to the ghost town it was the year prior due to the economic collapse.
In the fall of 2010 I again, committed myself and another Marlboro Nissan employee to attend the Driving Sales Executive Summit. Again, I was amazed at the quality of the speakers, educators and even the selected vendor's who attended and shared at this event. The level of detail and professionalism was too impressive for adequate representation in a "lowly car-guy's" blog post.
Recently, I again committed myself and another Marlboro Nissan employee to attend Brian Pasch's Digital Marketing Strategies Conference prior to this year's NADA. The conference had doubled in size from their bootcamp of the previous year and the event was truly top notch in terms of the quality of the information that was shared.
I want to address that for a moment... QUALITY OF INFORMATION. We've heard time and again: Garbage in, garbage out. How many of us have attended keynote speeches over the years that were 5 minutes of what you already knew followed by a 2 hour sales pitch? That is NOT quality information or education.
Those who know me know I am a HUGE believer in Franklin Covey and the 7 Habit's of Highly Effective People. I strive everyday to ensure that everything I do comes from a principle centered approach. So when I learned that Digital Dealer was demanding that anyone wishing to participate in their event not attend Brian Pasch's 2nd Bootcamp I was both shocked and appalled at the gross lack of commitment on the part of Digital Dealer to their dealer attendees. Limiting valuable information for the sole purpose of trying to usurp authority over another entity out of fear is unacceptable. The following e-mail describes this:
"Brian Pasch's "Automotive Marketing Bootcamp" is in no way associated or affiliated with the 10th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition. Pasch did not discuss this event with anyone at Dealer Communications. But we have heard that some people think the two events are connected due to his promotion, such as Pasch referring to the two events as "The dynamic duo of spring events" and hash-tagging "Digital Dealer" and related words/terms to co-opt the Digital Dealer name/brand and piggyback on our event and our marketing and promotion.
Don't know if this is their modus operendi, but there was an "Automotive Marketing Bootcamp" immediately prior to NADA in San Francisco this month. We have received reports from sponsors and attendees that there were as few as 50 attendees...and as few as 11 of them were dealership attendees. These are people who were THERE and have no reason to inflate or deflate numbers.
There is nothing wrong with being creative. But the timing of this event is a blatant, hostile attack on the Digital Dealer Conference, using DD 10 and the Digital Dealer name/brand and marketing and promotion to build their own event. Make no mistake, these are NOT complimentary events. This bootcamp appears to be a mini-Digital Dealer conference...without an 80-company exhibit hall and hundreds of dealership attendees to network with. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but we take these attacks very seriously.There are 365 days in a year...is it a coincidence that this event is the three days immediately prior to Digital Dealer...and in the same city?
We need to be clear that there is no affiliation between the two events, and that includes NOT having speakers at DD10 who speak at at Pasch's event. If you intend to speak at Pasch's event, please inform us so we can remove you from consideration. No hard feelings, and there's always next fall. It is not our intention to put speakers and potential speakers in the middle of this. We announced the dates of DD10 with 51 other weeks of the year for others to hold their events. But without even mentioning to us, someone decided to bandwagon on DD10. Digital Dealer needs to separate itself from others' events that are intentionally scheduled before or after and in the same city as Digital Dealer. We simply cannot allow for dealers and vendors to mistakenly believe there is any connection between Digital Dealer and other events that piggyback on it. We hope you understand.
If you have already been selected to speak at DD 10 and you have told Pasch you would speak at his event, please contact Michael Roscoe asap at mroscoe@Dealer-Communications.com. There is more you should know before deciding at which event you would most benefit from presenting. But at this point, you most likely understand why we can't have DD speakers at both.
Also, early next week we will be announcing Digital Dealer Academy, the OFFICIAL bootcamp of the 10th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition. This event will take place the two days before the Digital Dealer Conference, April 17th and 18th, and will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, the same venue as DD10. We have meeting space for 200 dealership attendees and rooms reserved for 200 dealership attendees at the same rate as DD 10. Attendees of both Digital Dealer Academy and DD10 can check in once attend both and receive a $200 discount on DDA. Why would they go anywhere else?
Thank you, and please don't forget to contact Michael Roscoe if you would rather speak at Pasch's event.
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One aspect of "Effective People" is in operating from an abundance mentality, which this statement is in direct opposition with. Liz did make one correct statement, "There are 365 days in a year..." and as a dealer, I appreciate that Brian Pasch would schedule his event in conjunction with an already existing one. I was committing even more of my staff to attending bootcamp and Digital Dealer 10
this year and it is a tremendous savings not to have to book additional flights and accommodations and traveling expense. Apparently, Digital Dealer is not interested in saving money for dealers or making it convenient for us to leave our stores for educational advancement.
Perhaps Digital Dealer didn't realize that we lost nearly half of the dealer body in the economic collapse and that many of us have cut "fringe" expenses like travel and conferences as well as staff in some cases. Perhaps Digital Dealer thinks that we don't really work for a living and can just jet set around the country on any whim to attend events and seminars all year since there are "365 Days" in it. Or maybe they just didn't get the memo that Car Dealers and their staff work 72 hour work weeks, not 40 hour ones...
This is not a new MO for Digital Dealer either, but I have kept quiet as it has never directly effected me before. But enough is enough. They have banned key industry educators from speaking at and even attending their events and this level of thinking must be avoided at all costs. As car dealers we often cling to bad mindsets built on old habits. We cannot afford to subscribe to the teachings of more bad leadership under the guise of "new" technology.
NADA has it's place. And while we're on the subject, they made a quantum leap forward this year in the quality of speakers and events. I'm ok with purple inflatable gorillas and car washes. They all have their place. And when I go to a carnival I expect to see a bearded lady. But you know what, I don't REALLY need to attend ANOTHER event! Especially when it is notorious for the 5 minute tease of education followed by the 2 hour pitch.
I really owe Liz and Mike Roscoe thanks! They saved my company 20 nights stay at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort! This year Marlboro Nissan is sending 4 employee's to Brian Pasch's bootcamp. I'm really glad this happened before I booked my trip!
My recommendation is simple. If you can't get enough of the mass e-mails trying to sell you something, if you can't get enough random phone calls in the middle of a staff meeting trying to sell you another widget, then digital dealer is for you. We all need to start some where and Digital Dealer is a great event for very entry level information and a plethora of stuff to buy.
If you are interested in learning how to empower your own staff and have a great opportunity to network with the best known car dealers in the country and get real world advice from the best industry leaders in a more hands on environment, I would recommend Brian Pasch's bootcamp.