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From: Jared Hamilton
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Ed Steenman

Ed Steenman CEO Integrated Automotive Advertising Agency

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My Take Aways from Digital Automotive Boot Camp

Hi all. I waited a day to post my wrap up on Boot Camp.  Three days of workshops, speakers, and networking was intense and I wanted to get back to Seattle, sit at my desk, and think about the real world ‘takeaways’ from the event.  

Here are my three:

Takeaway #1:  ‘The Plan Doesn’t Have to be Perfect For You to Start It’.  

This may seem counterintuitive but the fact is this is fast moving landscape and there are lots of vendors (and dealers) out there trying many different things.  In fact during the course of Boot Camp I heard two ‘expert opinions’ on one piece of SEO that were actually exactly 180 degrees of each other.  Fact is, contrary to what we learned in school, sometimes there actually is more than one right answer. The practical approach I recommend is to grab whatever piece of the digital universe that makes the most sense TO YOU and start there.  Then build from that piece. 

Takeaway #2: ‘We’re all Learning This Together’.

The vendors at Boot Camp were generous with providing ‘free samples’ of their knowledge and expertise and some of them made the offer to continue to provide information if you contacted them.  In addition there are many places (like this fine publication and Dealer Marketing Magazine which I contribute monthly for) as well as forums where you can submit your question solicit your questions and get answers.  We’re ALL learning this together and while I noticed some vendors at the event who thought it was important for you to view them as ‘experts’ (but not all of them by any means), really in the long view someone might have a five minute head start on you, while you already have a two-and-a-half minute head start on the dealer down the street (who isn’t reading this), so it’s all a matter of perspective.

Takeaway #3: ‘At The End of the Day It’s Still About the Message’.  

Sure this year, VSEO and QR Codes might be the thing, but next year it’ll be about something we’ve never even heard of yet.  The TOOLS will change, but behind it all, the core marketing message about who your dealership is and what you stand for MUST STILL BE the over-riding piece.  Liken it to a new movie out that might have the coolest special effects ever, but still has a lame plot compared to an ‘old school movie’ that is low tech but has a beautiful story.  Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller probably hit this piece the best in my view. You gotta ask yourself truly what makes your store different from the guy down the street and it has to be more that a dealer principal standing out on his (or her) lot next to a car talking about the ‘deal of the day’.  I’m personally a believer in using humor, but whatever your thing is, make it YOUR THING.  The sniff test?  If you can substitute your competitors name for yours on your marketing and have it still work, then you’re not there yet.  Brian Pasch hit this same idea on the final night from a different direction as he spent some time talking about himself and how he lost weight and upped his fitness goals with the idea that ‘all this’ isn’t just about numbers and technology, it’s about becoming a better person on all levels.  Your dealership works the same way.

Good stuff. A sincere thank you again to everyone I had the opportunity to meet there (and apologies if you were there and I didn’t get to meet you).

And now I will most humbly ask for YOUR help. DMM is planning a follow up edition for the event and has asked me to write a piece for that, so any and all feedback from any vendor or dealer that was there and wants to offer up ‘their take-aways’ (or comment on mine) would be most appreciated.

Stay tuned and live well.

Kristin Garini
Nice screen capture of the Boot Camp- you really got the essence of it all. Everyone is at a different level in the digital dance—I know when I left the event I felt an urgency to make it all happen, and try to keep somewhat ahead of the curve. Kris Garini Carter Chevrolet
Ed Steenman
Thank you for your comment Chris, it was a pleasure meeting you these as well
Ed Steenman
Thank you for your comment Kris, it was a pleasure meeting you these as well
Brian Pasch
Ed Thank you for attending #AMBC and summarizing your impressions and takeaway thoughts. It was a unique experience for everyone and the momentum is building for quality educational events. From all the positive feedback we received, I want to remind everyone that October 9-11th is the DrivingSales Executive Summit, which is a must attend for dealers. Also, the feedback from #AMBC was so positive that we have decided to take the educational format on the road. Check out http://www.pcgpitstop.com to see the growing list of cities where we will be hosting great educational events.
Ed Steenman
Thank you Brian I will be sure to get this out via my column in Dealer Marketing Magazine as well. You and your team really did put on a quality event and I heard nothing but positive feedback. Hope to be able to join you again for another one soon.

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