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I made a promise to myself that following my next conference I would make time to properly capture my thoughts and musings and get them into my blog. That being said I had the priviliedge of attending another Digital Dealer conference and came away like I always do, filled with new insights, facts, figures and of course the opportunity to connect with some really awesome people.

Four of us headed down together, Barry Hillier, Ralph Reefke and myself, all from Dashboard/Glovebox and Susan Gubasta, owner of Mississauga Toyota. It was nice to add a couple more Canadians to the group, more importantly to bring a dealer like Susan whose dealership is embracing broader digital strategies for her dealership. We grabbed our schedules and diligently assigned ourselves to as many seminars as we could (Barry and I have travelled together in the past and adopted the same system of "divide and conquer" across the schedule). Having four of us taking in seminars throughout the conference really allowed the team to digest a lot ofcontent and we used our free time in the evenings to share what we learned that day.

By the second day it became clear to me that my notebook got more of a workout whenever I attended a workshop where a detailed case study was presented. What was it about those seminars that really engaged me more than the others? Personally I feel that if you can put your money where your mouth is - you've got a good case study backing you up. You can talk to me all day about how social, mobile and video marketing are going to propel your dealership's business into the stratosphere but if you're just delivering industry stats and trending reports you don't have me locked in. I need you to prove it. Now I know some of that falls to the fact I am a digital marketer and I live and breathe that information every day. One of the most powerful tools we have as digital marketers is the ability to measure finite ROI against our efforts. I try to educate my clients whenever I can on this ever evolving digital/social arena, if I have a case study where I can show them a real dealer, who experiences the same challenges as they resonates louder than just pummelling them with industry stats.

Case Study Highlights:
David Boice, Tier 10 Marketing gave us "Case Study – Hendrick Lexus LeapFrogs 14 Spots in Just Three Months" and it was an excellent seminar. Hendrick Lexus was experiencing a severe slump in its sales and service and engaged Tier 10 to assist them in a strategy to reignite the dealership as a whole. David set up the background, goals and strategy of the Hendrick Lexus project and brought the audience through every phase of a remarkable integrated campaign. For every goal laid out in the strategy, David was able to tie all the efforts back to real ROI for his clients (and the audience as well).
Kevin Frye (Jeff Wyler Automotive Family) and Sean Stapleton (VinSolutions) presented "The Future of One" a case study in how Kevin's automotive group integrated their online strategies with one full service provider. Kevin connected with his fellow dealers right away, many whom have struggled or are struggling to corral all of their vendors and technologies on a daily basis at their stores. The seminar was successful because you had someone from the trenches in front of a room full of dealers telling them what their own challenges were, what was the tipping point for change and what were the immediate results based on what they committed to. I'll turn a blind eye to the fact it was heavy on pitching a product (a conference no-no) because they were transparent with their data and their results.
When Digital Dealer 11 hits Vegas make sure you dig through your Agenda and find those seminars that deliver strong case studies, the insight provided could have a profound effect on the success of your digital/social strategies.

I want to give a couple of shout outs to the presenters, everyone did a fantatsic job and it takes a lot of time and preparation to do what you do, so thanks!

Presenter Highlights:
Duncan Scarry, Moore & Scarry - Digital Marketing Hacks: 10 Digital Marketing Secrets that will Save you $100,000 Next Year Learn digital marketing secrets the industry doesn't want you to know about - Vendors all over the conference probably didn't want anyone near Duncan's presentation! Duncan walked the room through industry "buzz verticals" and showed the room how to utilize them on a shoestring budget. Simple, insightful and empowering for dealers with experience in digital and social media strategies.
Dan Moore, Smart Web Concepts - The Future of Communicating on the Customer's Level - Dan had his work cut out for him kicking Thursday morning off after Wednesday night's parties. Dan walked the room through ways of using other verticals (other than phone and email) to enahnce their customer communications. Dan covered a ton of ground and engaged the participants in lots of good Q&A. The sign of a good seminar is when Q&A is going long and the next group is already starting to take over the room.
Mathew Belk, Better Car People - Google Places is More Important than your Web Site - I have attended Mathew's seminar at the last conference and was really looking forward to this one. Mathew walked the audience through how to take ownership of their Google Places page, set up alerts, get reviews to your places page and use Places analytics. Mathew's presentation style makes it very easy for inexperienced dealers to pick up the content while always peppering the presentation with nuggets of wisdom for the seasoned attendees

And finally I want to ask, was I the only one who put my twitter handle (@brentwees) on my nametag? C'mon folks, social media was the major focus of the conference again and I'm the only guy to think of doing this? (I think if @DealerNerd was at the conference he'd have my back!) Here's hoping everyone's handles are more visible in Vegas!
Looking forward to seeing everyone in October!

Views: 87

Tags: 10, Dealer, Digital, automotive, case, conferences, digital, media, online, presentations, More…seminars, social, strategies, study, vendors


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Comment by Brent Wees on April 26, 2011 at 5:34am
Thanks for the comments guys and taking the time to read the post. I look forward to connecting with you both more at the next conference! I missed Bryan's presentation on the last day, I'll have to reach out to him and see if he'll share his presentation.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on April 26, 2011 at 4:44am
I came from the tech industry years ago to automotive, and I clearly remember asking vendors for case studies and "white" papers, which were common supporting documents where I came from.  The vemdors looked at me like I was speaking Latin!  Nice to see all this happening now.  Good job!
Comment by Kevin Frye on April 26, 2011 at 4:36am

     Nice writeup!  Thanks for the kind words as well.  I must share that I was hesitant to do our presentation "The Future of One" as most people in the room were fully aware of who Sean is, and which company we used with our solution.  This put us in a difficult situation with "not sounding like a pitch".  I spoke with 2 people at Dealer Communications regarding this, as well as Sean, and their advice was "you cannot go wrong with the truth".  We started with a full disclaimer of who we were with so there were no questions, and we shared our experience from there.  I hope that the info we shared was useful, and I my goal was to emphasize the benefits and savings we saw by taking a one-solution approach.

     I agree that "real-life" experiences of other dealers carry a lot of weight, and it has been great to see Digital Dealer proactively searching for dealers to speak at the conferences now.  Bryan Armstrong gave a great presentation on the last day that I think was very well received, and I hope he speaks again.  I hope we see more dealers speaking in the near future!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on April 26, 2011 at 4:25am
Thank you for an EXCELLENT overview of some of the most important parts of DD10.  Great post!

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