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Jared Hamilton
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Andy Warner

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Digital Dealer 8 definitely plans to be a power packed conference based upon the ongoing advertising shift from offline to online, strong speaker line-up and an increase in last minute ticket sales.  (Oh, and do not forget the multiple give-aways that vendors have planned—from free trials to trinkets to ipads)  I have missed the past few conferences and am looking forward to connecting with old friends and colleagues and collaborating with new friends and vendors. 

Top Discussion Points

The top two topics discussed will be mobile technology and social media marketing without a doubt.  The internet community at large is still trying to understand and figure out how mobile technology and social media marketing will impact their businesses.  The forerunners are making strides in these areas, but it is still early in the game.  The leaders in the automotive industry in attendance will not be any different.  They will seek answers to these two buzzwords that individuals are trying to understand and manage.  Mobile and social media both have their role in the dealership’s online marketing tool chest, but they will not be the magic silver bullet. 

Mobile & Social Similarities

I believe that dealers have a wonderful opportunity in the mobile space because of their strong ties to the community.  Most dealerships employ a high percentage of local people, the majority of revenue is still locally based and dealerships provide oodles and oodles of tax money to local economies.  Mobile technology will help draw the local and time sensitive consumer into the dealership for current incentives.  Mobile will also provide simplistic communication regarding vehicle price negotiation, service updates and parts ordering, just to name a few applications.  Social marketing’s relevancy is highest among local individuals.  Yes, people are interested in their out-of-towns friends’ check-ins, but what relevancy does that truly provide for the individual’s current and present needs?  I have plenty of friends I communicate with that are not local, but if I want to “meet” them I call, email or video conference.  Likewise, when an individual has an immediate buying or consultative need, they will contact someone close and immediate to fill that need.  Provided a dealership manages their automotive social media marketing strategy properly, the consumer will seek the local automotive dealership for their next oil change and not Jiffy Lube.   

Your Personal Opportunity

I look forward to the education in the upcoming conference, but I know a three day conference is not enough.  There will need to be ongoing communication with others following the conference to keep the excitement and education fresh.  Returning to a dealership can be challenging when you are charged with making your newfound knowledge a reality when the majority of co-workers respond with the “deer-in-the-headlights” facial expression. 

I recommend meeting with the industry leaders after-hours as much as possible.  I will.  Face it, the standard conference format will not delve deep enough into the issues facing automotive dealerships today.  There is only so much information that can be covered within an hour.  Thus, meet with various movers and shakers to gather further insight into their experiences and ask follow-up questions to their presentations that their hour allotment will not permit.  This is where you will truly glean boat loads of information.  Take this as your opportunity to increase your business. 

Enjoy Digital Dealer 8 in Orlando, Florida.  Learn a lot… Take lots of notes… Make an impact when you return to your dealerships.  I know I will!  I look forward to meeting you at the show.

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