Canadian auto dealer met some spirited Canadians at the Digital Dealer conference in Orlando, Fla. and invited them to contribute blog posts. Here are some observations from Brent Wees, from Dashboard, a creative agency that serves dealers and associations.
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 of content 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 do…it 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!
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!