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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jared Hamilton

Jared Hamilton Founder - CEO

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 President Bush and President Clinton both spoke today as part of the “main event” for the convention.  Personally I was unable to attend, which was the only disappointment for me this entire convention.  From what I heard President HW Bush was hilarious. President Clinton then got up and said something to the effect of, “I couldn’t get away telling the jokes he can.  Could you imagine if I said some of the things he did??”  Meaning Bush must have said something good… and I missed it.

I didn’t realize how good of a relationship these two prior presidents have, I guess they work together quite a bit.  It’s a rather elite club, to be one of 44 men in history to hold the post of  “The worlds most powerful person.”  It’s also a good example to those of us in the car business about sportsmanship.  As President Bush said about President Clinton, “He beat me like a drum, but we can still be good friends.”


Other than the Presidents speaking, and all the security buzzing around outside the convention hall (including the bomb sniffing dogs,) it was quite a regular convention day.  I was surprised with my workshop attendance.  I spoke at 8:30 am and I was not expecting many people to show after a long night of partying. However, that was not the case and the audience was very engaged with lots of questions.  I was very busy this day with on and off site meetings, most very productive but I wont bore you with the details other than to say I did spent time talking with Phil Zillinger, Jim Zigler and Gary May, some loyal DrivingSales community members.


Bart and I had a more dinner meetings and then later met back up with Gilbert Chaves, Joe Webb and Kim Clouse.  Joe has written another funny script about internet sales and wanted me to play a part in it.  We were all laughing and having a good time as we filmed.  They are going to edit and use it at their digital dealer presentation then we will post it to DrivingSales.  It features Ralph Paglia, Kim Clouse and myself; Ill let Joe tell you more details.  Until then you will have to wait in suspense for my Oscar winning performance!

The final day was SLOW, most people had gone home and the vendors were packing up.  Despite that, I had some very productvie meetings.  Overall I would say those that didnt attend the convention this year missed out on some great opportuities.  It was certainly less crowded, vendors were willing to bargan, there was a solid social and networking atmosphere.  In all those that came were there for a reason, I just hope we all have a better economic climate next year in Orlando to attract more dealers.  This was a benificial show, despite the small crowd, Id love to hear your thoughts or feelings, especially if they are different than mine.  More on the convention soon... we have a few things we purposely left out.
 

Ralph Paglia
Jared, Thanks for the great wrap up to NADA... One comment I would like to make is about the car companies and the dealers. With less than half the dealers attending NADA as compared to when business is good, it is especially notable that in the many meetings I had with OEM managers and executives, I have never seen so many car companies willing to consider digital marketing solutions that could be used to help their dealers. In the past, most car companies leave all tier 3 marketing and advertising solutions to the dealers, preferring to focus on things like web sites and lead management tools. But, at NADA 2009 I witnessed several car companies who are genuinely interested in assisting dealers with finding ways to advertisie using the Internet in a cost effective manner that leverages OEM (tier 1) and regional advertising association (tier 2) assets and capabilities. This is shocking and reminds me of the speeches and presentations made by Jim Farley in the past, both at Toyota and at Ford about how the car companies have a responsibility to provide digital marketing and advertising creative assets that cost a lot of money to build and which dealers should be allowed to use to drive business into showrooms at the local level. Sometimes, some of the best innovations take hold when business is bad... Maybe 2009 is the year when the auto industry figures out how much more efficient online marketing and advertising is when compared to many other media channels.
David Book
Ralph.... You are SPOT ON when you say that "some of the best innovations take hold when business is bad." There are so many GOOD reasons to NOT CHANGE when things are going well. Why in the world would a a super-efficient dealer, earning tons, creating jobs, adding to the local economy, etc, etc, make drastic changes? They wouldn't, and they don't. It would be like the Chicago Bulls trading Michael Jordan in his prime - why bother? But, when things go wrong (Michael can no longer dominate the game), things must change and it's exactly at this time when the SMART dealers have no problem adjusting. The latest trends in the internet, like Social sites and other relationship-building trends, are actually not new at all. Facebook and Twitter have been around much much longer than most dealers realize. But, because most dealers today are struggling to survive, suddenly these "ultra modern" ways of doing business seem appealing. They are not appealing because the dealers suddenly turned into "techies." They are not appealing because the dealers finally "see the light." And they are not appealing because the dealers were influenced by a hip "Hi, I'm a Mac" commercial. They are appealing because they are the only option. What's worse, ADMITTING the internet dominates our industry (and accepting all the implications), or going out of business? I think most dealers, old and young will choose the internet. Heck, they may even buy an iPhone. Cheers. David

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