Industry Events

2008 J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable VS 5th Digital Dealer Conference


Which one are you going to?

As I’m sure everyone is already aware of by now, the 2008 J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable and the 5th Digital Dealer Conference are being held at the same.

For myself it’s a clear choice on which one to attend, especially since the Digital Dealer conference is held twice a year and I had just attended the last one.

I’ve had a lot of industry friends and vendors ask me “which one should be go to?“. I recommend looking at the 2 agendas and decide which one you think you will get the most from. The 5th Digital Dealer Conference still encompasses a lot of basic 101 within the agenda while the J.P. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable usually skips pass the 101 and speaks on a larger scale to the marketing side of the business.

From my past experience with the J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable, you’ll find more Tier 1 and 2 (manufacturers, OEM and marketing agencies) along with some big speakers from inside and outside the industry. You’ll often find some of the larger and more progressive dealer/s groups there as well.

The Digital Dealer Conference continues to tackle the basics and process of “Internet sales” (and I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it’s actually great, there are still many many dealers that need or are looking for the 101).

To sum it up…the Digital Dealer Conference speaks to the dealer and the J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable speaks to the industry. Both very important and it’s a shame that they would be scheduled at the same time, thought I believe J.D. Power has been having it at this same date for awhile now.

It looks as if both have an impressive jammed packed agenda but at the end of the day..Which one have you decided to attend?

I have listed out some of the highlights for each session after the jump..

Some highlights for the 2008 J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable

Keynote: Future of the Internet w/ Tom Leighton, Akamai Technologies
Dr. Leighton will provide insight on the future of the internet and how its growth will affect the automotive industry.

Third Party Sites in the New Economy
executives from well-known third party sites will share their unique
insights on maximizing the internet’s potential in today’s economy.

OEM Marketers and Dealer Group Discussion
OEM online marketers provide their points of view on the most important
issues in improving the Internet for consumers, marketers, retailers
and publishers.

Dealer Ratings and Reputation Management
As consumers are more engaged in the internet, they are more apt to share opinions regarding sales and service at dealerships.

Social Media: It’s Here. It’s Huge. Will it Sell More Cars?
media sites are racking up huge online visitation numbers. Can
automotive marketers tap into this market to build awareness, galvanize
brand relationships and actually sell cars?


  • Internet Insights: Engagement
    Online marketing success means more than click-through-rates and leads.
  • In-Text and In-Banner Advertising
    Learn how industry experts have used in-text and in-banner video advertising.
  • Ad-Supported Video Entertainment: Internet’s Future?

Roundtable Summary, Highlights and Review with Key automotive industry “journalists” will discuss information provided throughout the roundtable.

Cliff Banks, Wards
Chuck Parker,
Jeff Kershner, DealerRefresh

Highlights for the 5th Digital Dealer Conference

Keynote Speaker Cory Mosley – Adapting at the Speed of Change

This keynote will address the wide variety of changes in technology and consumer needs by exploring:

  • The economical state of the retail business
  • Changes in customer needs and wants
  • Thought starters for meeting and exceeding customer expectations
  • Working smarter and not harder using technology and automation
  • Reinventing “outside of the box” thinking
  • New technology that is on the horizon

Cory Mosley – “The Hardest Workin’ Man in the Automotive Internet Training and Consulting Business”

The Complete Online Car Shopping Experience for Today’s Shoppers
A dealership guide on the holistic approach to selling cars in the automotive Internet age
Howard Polirer – Director of Industry Relations for

How to Increase Lead Conversion by Identifying Shopper Clues
Applying Polk Research findings to convert online shoppers to sales
Kevin T. Root – Vice president of Product and Marketing at Dealix

Marketing through Mobile Phones
Rich Abronson – Co-founder and vice president of Products and Marketing for Gumiyo, Inc.

One Internet Salesperson: One Year – 1,000 Cars
Selling more online with less resources
Len Critcher – Dealer principal of

Managing for Profitability
Tracking and measuring media value in the online age
Ralph D. Ebersole – Director of automotive consulting and training at

Up Trend – Down Market
A penny saved is a dollar earned – smart ROI from people to process on group level
Rafi Hamid – Award-winning Internet marketing executive and e-commerce sales director

The Four Pillars of Online Process
How to drive peak performance and Internet sales results
Kathy Kimmel – Automotive consultant and training manager at

Videos: The Only Way to be First in Search
Google ranks video in search results!  VSEO is today, be there first
John Lilly – ADP Dealer Services/Digital Motorworks, Inc (DMi) for seven years

Running a Consolidated Business Development Center
Setting up five or more rooftops with one BDC
Anthony Monteiro – Director of Business Development for Prime Motor Group

Social Networking and Blogging
to leverage User Generated Content (UGC) sites to drive car buyers and
service customers from popular destinations on the Internet to your
dealership’s web site without spending additional money
Ralph Paglia – National director of Digital Marketing ADP Dealer Services

What You Should Know About Video and VSEO
Learn how to create, upload and optimize your own dealership videos
Shaun Raines – Owner/operator of Dealer Advisor, LLC

Marketing CPOV Vehicles vs. New or Pre-owned in a Credit-Challenged Auto Industry
Using cutting edge applications to manage/market pre-owned vehicles to maximize R.O.I.
Philip Zelinger – President of Ad Agency Online, L.L.C

Click here for the full list of Digital Dealer Conference Speakers

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
awww...the robots are holding hands.
In all seriousness I see speakers at both events that I think would be worthwhile. It's a shame you have to pick one or the other.
Jeff, I'd agree in principal for the same reasons. What JDPA did do to bring more value to dealers is, albeit not to the same degree, IRT is addressing some of the 101 aspects and has confirmed three breakaway sessions on Tuesday at 1:00p. Internet fundamentals, Marketing to Women ( and Online Service/Portal (TimeHighway and were added to speak to dealers still trying to deal with what do to online, how to build their Internet departments, engage customers and look for ways to add value to the mix.

JDPA has also indicated that they're open to adding (limited) more sessions if the feedback is positive while not taking away from the overall theme of the event. As you know, historically the IRT has been very linear where DD has been multi-track with plenty of value.

The agenda was updated on the Internet Roundtable website.
I went with the JD Power conference based on the opinion of two people I feel are industry leaders(Kershner and Paglia). I have been to four previous DD conferences. The first two I attended I was still pretty green and got a lot of terrific information from them, but by the third and fourth I found I wasn't having the same experience, my capabilites and knowledge had grown quite a bit over those two years and most of that was due to the DD conference. I had talked to several people at the last DD conference that had attended multiple ones like myself and they felt the same way.

I think the DD conference is great for a newbie and is a great conference to gather information at if you aren't tied in to all the blogs and networking sites in our end of the business. I guess I will find out if Jeff really knows what he is talking about in October, but since he has attended both I think I made the best choice for myself by going to Vegas.

Oh by the way Jeff, I tried booking at that hotel you suggested, I think it was the Chicken Ranch, but they were kind of expensive and out of the way, they were giving me a ridiclulous price of $4,000 just for an eight hour stay and they didn't even have any resturant choices, I decided to book in town it was a lot cheaper:)
I chose BOTH! How did I do that? Well... DD starts on Monday the 6th and JD Power starts on the 7th, so I'll be at DD until the afternoon on the 7th when I fly out to Vegas! Thanks for including me as a highlight at DD Jeff. My session on video will be in the morning on the 7th. If you'd like to learn about VSEO and how and why you should be using video don't miss it.
I can't make either event. I need help from anyone that goes to DD.

VSEO is real and I want more feedback.
I have run 5 pilot experiments with VSEO and I am here to tell ya'll that GOOG's looking for Video content (at least for this week ;-).

Heres my $0.02 after my VSEO experiments.
Pushed a handfull of videos to 30 free video sites, loaded 'em up with keywords and stood back.

3-4 & 5 top 10 SERPs from Long Tail keywords in under 48 hours.

Talk about Search SPAM, what a useless mess! There is little or no commerce potenial from my experiments. All it would be good for is jamming SERPs if you dealership has a bad reputation.

IMO, It won't take the GOOG engineers long to plug this hole. Because of this, I dropped further VSEO experiments until a better model comes along. (I also want to avoid the risk of being black-listed at all costs).

If anyone at DD has a thrilling review of VSEO, I'd like a review.

aka: Sleepless in Syracuse.

I'll be missing both of these too. I will make the Digital Dealer conference in the beginning of 2009 though.

Here's my really POOR excuse....

I'll be in Antarctica with National Geographic for a photography excursion. While you all are toasty and drunk, I'll be wet and cold....but having the time of my life!
  • J
    Joey Stivick
  • October 2, 2008
Seriously, I think both are a waste of time. You can get all the info they present there online. There is really nothing new that they present. For newbies it is a great session. For the experienced it is a junket to get out of the store for a few days.
RE: "Seriously, I think both are a waste of time."

At least 50% of the value of attending conferences is derived from the other attendees. A discussion with another attendee about what the presenter just said can justify the time spent on the enitre conference.
  • J
    Jon Groenig
  • October 4, 2008
I agree with James, I usually get my best infomation from networking with other attendees. I don't know how many times I have saved time and money with the connections I have made at these conferences over the years. I know one vendor contact I made got me out of a contract that had been misrepresented and saved my store $8,000, I definitely don't consider that a waste of time.