Professional Community for Car Dealers, Automotive Marketers and Sales Managers
Las Vegas, Nevada - It is the Saturday after completion of the 11th Digital Dealer Conference and I am staying in the ADM Penthouse Suite at the Mirage until Sunday. Dr. E and I are attending some shows and relaxing while collecting our thoughts and observations after a blistering pace during the three "official" days of the Digital Dealer Conference, as well as two days of Automotive Resource Partners strategic planning sessions at the Ravella Resort at Lake Las Vegas. While still fresh in my memory i wanted to share some of my thoughts, observations and perhaps a few lessons learned during this past week.
First and foremost, let me start by saying that I have attended and presented speaking sessions at all 11 Digital Dealer Conferences... Which may be the cause of certain biases and perspectives that may or may not be shared by those who either have or will attend their first Digital Dealer Conference. On the other hand, I do not work for Dealer Communications, nor have I ever been compensated or received payments for anything from the owners and producers of the Digital Dealer Conference... So here goes; regardless of what anybody says, reports or publishes, the simple fact is that Digital Dealer Conference has improved in the execution of its mission and the achievement of its stated objectives on a steady basis since the first event was held in Nashville during the Spring of 2006. This event continues to get better and better in its execution and production quality to a point where, in my opinion, the Chairman (Michael Roscoe), Dealer Communications and the team at Premcor that manages the event truly deserve recognition, appreciation from the entire auto industry and a broad based thank you from all of us who have attended these events, paid registration fees and who are basically the customers of the Digital Dealer Conference... So, I want to say thank you to Mr. Mike Roscoe, the Dealer Communications and Premcor staff for delivering your products and services with excellence.
Secondly, after attending at least 50 Digital Dealer Conference general sessions, panel sessions, speaking sessions and workshops (other than my own) I am sincerely both amazed and puzzled by the range of competence displayed by the speakers chosen by the Digital Dealer Conference selection team. There are truly quite a few highly talented speakers that are available at most Digital Dealer Conferences, but there are also several speakers that are quite painful to watch delivering their presentations. Unlike many other conference attendees, I am far less disturbed by a session speaker who manages to slip in a promotion for the products they sell or deliver for a living, than I am by lame, incompetent, boring and unintelligible presenters who are supposedly professional automotive presenters! In many cases I will attend a Digital Dealer Conference speaking session because it is a friend or business acquaintance I admire and respect, only to be profoundly disappointed NOT BY THEIR MATERIAL, BUT BY THEIR LACK OF PRESENTATION SKILLS! So here's my advice to anyone who is selected to present a session of any kind at Digital Dealer... Get some coaching! If you are going to stand up in front of a room full of clients, peers and competitors, be prepared to present your material in a dynamic and engaging manner that makes those who attended your session be happy that they chose yours over the other 8 alternatives... Or, if you are giving a general session, you better ROCK the audience and prove that you deserved to be selected for the honor of presenting a general session at this very prestigious event.
I am not going to name the people I witnessed who embarrassed themselves by being so lifeless, reading the text on their slides out loud in a monotone, or were just plain painfully boring, but will say that the standards of how you should measure yourself are set by the best Digital Dealer Conference speakers... To see an example of these presentation standards, attend sessions delivered by the best, such as;
There is no doubt in my mind that many of the other presenters at the 11th Digital Dealer Conference who I have not mentioned must do a great job, but I cannot comment on speakers I have not watched deliver a presentation... Unfortunately, there are a few presenters who I have not mentioned, but who I have watched present, and who obviously need to get some coaching in order to learn how to deliver their presentations more effectively. The bottom line is that with as many as nine sessions running concurrently, attendees of Digital Dealer need to choose wisely so that they are not stuck in a session that is a dud while somebody who is highly skilled and effective at moving an audience is being missed in another meeting room.
I also want to thank the many Digital Dealer Conference attendees who attended my sessions on Guerrilla Marketing, Recruiting, Screening and Hiring the Right People and the Bonus Sessions on Friday afternoon where I presented the Brickell Honda Social Media Marketing case study... You were all great audiences with lots of questions and engaged to a degree that made my role as a presenter a lot easier. I take the responsibility of delivering my presentations quite seriously and always make sure to include a blend of humor and reality that goes beyond the data alone.
As I started out saying, the team that delivers the Digital Dealer Conference twice a year continues to get better and better at what they do... Now, it is up to all of us who are selected to speak at these conferences to step up our game by becoming better at delivering our presentations and session topics.
Lastly, the ADM Professional Community Member Reception in a Penthouse Suite at the Mirage for those attending Digital Dealer was a blast... Certainly the best party of the conference and had over 200 Digital Marketing Professionals who are ADM members come through while networking, meeting each other face to face and enjoying spirited discussions, great drinks and a lively audience... All the way up to the moment when Mirage Hotel security shut us down for being overcrowded and too loud. Thank you to all those who attended and thank you to Tier10 Marketing, Team Velocity, PCG Digital Marketing and Hire The Winners for their support of this event, which has now consistently become the best party after conference hours at Digital Dealer!
Photo Above: Ralph Paglia and John Giamalvo from Edmunds.com share experiences using Edmunds to sell cars and get customer commitments during ADM Member Reception in Penthouse Suite at Mirage Hotel during DD11.
Additional Kudos and Appreciation:
There are many important people and companies that should be mentioned in any review of the Digital Dealer Conference. The suppliers that pay to support the conference as exhibitors and sponsors deserve a healthy dose of appreciation and congratulations, because they are as important to this event as the speakers, panelists, moderators and session presenters. Without the Digital Dealer Conference exhibitors it would be a lot less fulfilling of an event as they close the circle of information with their demonstrations, literature, logo merchandise give-aways, best practice examples and expert advice.
Having said that, in addition to my previous congratulations to Mike Roscoe and Premcor, I'd be remiss if I did not put in a note of appreciation and congratulatory comment for all the folks who worked hundreds of hours over the last 6 months from Greg Noonan's team at CEI, which is responsible for selling those exhibitor booths, sponsorships and advertising which is where the funds are raised to produce the Digital Dealer Conference.
I congratulate Brad Feik, Joel Shuflin, Greg Ree, and Pam Noonan who masterfully worked with all 105 Digital Dealer exhibitors, sponsors and advertisers, set the show floor and helped in front and behind the scenes on so many aspects of the conference.
Without these people, the Digital Dealer Conference that so many of us have come to know and appreciate could not exist... Once again, many thanks to Greg Noonan, Mike Roscoe, the Conference Team and all those, including the ADM members who attended the 11th Digital Dealer Conference for making it the best it has ever been.
Ralph Paglia's 11th Digital Dealer Presentations: