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The Auto Industry's 2013 Most Valuable Insight

By Lindsey Auguste on Apr 26, 2013

​When you get a room full of 100 plus Dealer Principals together, the topic of discussion doesn’t usually fall to things like choosing specific SEO keywords. The conversations center more on high-level thinking and strategic thought processes that fuel these entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level.

That was the very motivation behind DrivingSales hosting the first ever Most Valuable Insight competition. In the spirit of progress and thought leadership, we challenged the thought leaders in our industry to present an insight that directly impacts the way dealer principals and general managers operate their business.  Taking the conversations to the highest level, auto industry professionals were invited to share their thoughts and insights to the attending dealership executives to foster inspiration, progression, and celebration of a better automotive retail industry. Of course, all submissions had to be thoroughly backed with arduous research and empirical support.

After finalists were selected by a group of dealers, the dealer principals in attendance at the 2013 DrivingSales Presidents Club event in NYC were presented with four outstanding contributions to the automotive industry:

  • “Capitalizing on Changes in Online Shopping Behaviors,” presented by Scott Pechstein at Autobytel Inc.
  • “Do You Know Today’s Customer? New Findings Show Difference between Prices of Vehicles Shopped vs. Actual Prices Paid,” presented by Scott Hernalsteen at
  • “Mobile: your key to winning shoppers when they’re ready to buy,” presented by Jack Simmons at
  • “Are You Aiming at the Right Target?” presented by Chris Reed at Cobalt

The presentations were data-driven, actionable, and relevant to the high caliber audience in attendance.  A dealer judging panel on stage and off evaluated the insights on relevancy, originality, empirical support, and implementation, and after the closest dealer feedback in DrivingSales contest history, one insight stood strong as the most valuable.

Congratulations to Chris Reed and the Cobalt team for providing the 2013 Most Valuable Insight to the automotive industry. Reed’s insight, based on an eight month Cobalt study of consumer engagement with online vehicle information including metrics such as VDPs (Vehicle Detail Pages) and Time-on-VDP revealed that vehicle engagement are the single best predictor of future sales, materially superior to other metrics commonly used by dealership marketing staff such as visits and lead submissions. Vehicle engagement metrics provide insight into the effectiveness of a dealers off-line as well as online marketing and can be predictive of the timing of a sale down to the VIN level.  Reed also shared the pitfalls of relying on any single metric, including VDP views, to evaluate marketing performance and the predictive power gained by evaluating the pattern of consumer interaction with content on dealer websites and online advertising in general. 

As the winner of the Most Valuable Insight competition, Reed will have the opportunity to present the Cobalt data in much greater detail at the 2013 DrivingSales Executive Summit in October in Las Vegas.

Congratulations again to all of the finalists for providing thought-provoking data and action items to propel the automotive retail industry forward. 


This was such a powerful segment. Not only were all four of the presenters solid on the stage, their content and overall theme was so on-point with regards to where dealerships need to be focused.

Well done!

Apr 26, 2013

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