Industry Events

AutoCon 2012 – A New Addition to The Fall Conference Lineup

The fall automotive conference season will be here before you know it. With OEM mandated meetings and independent conferences on the September and October calendar, dealers have more choices than ever before where to invest their time and allocated education budgets and resources.

If you’re not already aware (as I’m sure you’ve received some type of message from Ralph Paglia), the newest conference for the fall season is AutoCon. AutoCon 2012 is the brainchild of Automotive Media Partners LLC. (AMP) which is a new company started by Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, and Mike Myers.

AMP has hired First Class Educators, a “sister company” of PCG Digital Marketing (Brian Pasch), to produce the show. Carrie Hemphill, Executive Director of FCE, has been working diligently to create a very special event this fall for the automotive industry. If you have ever attended any of Brians micro conferences, I’m sure you would agree that Carrie does an excellent job.

Another Fall Conference?

Options and competition is good – right!? The fast pace of change in the automotive industry requires professionals to embrace new technology, marketing strategies, sales processes, and regulations. Dealers should no longer rely on one conference a year for their primary thought leadership and to connect with new tools for their trade.

Plus I’m sure Mike Roscoe and the rest of the Digital Dealer camp welcomes a bit of competition into the arena.

I was on the phone just the other day with Mr. Pasch. Brian and I go way back – several years actually as he was just breaking into the automotive industry. I recall  nights into the late hours on the phone with Brian speaking SEO, dealer process and industry news.

While we were on the phone, I too asked Brian “Brian – do we really need another fall conference?”

After our long winded discussion around the subject – I invited Brian to write up a quick post with his response while speaking about AutoCon 2012 and the promotion they are running on Tuesday.

Here is what Brian put together….

Follow along with me as I do my “napkin math” formula on supply and demand. I would make the case that at least six “roles” in the dealership need high quality continuing education twice a year. Those roles include Dealer Principals, General Managers, General Sales Managers, Internet Sales Managers, Marketing Directors, Social Media Managers, and Fixed Operations Directors.

With approximately 17,000 franchise rooftops in the United States my napkin math says that approximately 100,000 employees of dealerships should be involved in continuing education twice a year. Some of that education is accomplished via webinars, regional meetings, 20 Groups, and online communities like

When you consider that the established “branded” fall conferences attract less than 2,000 dealership employees, (2%) you can see how more choices are needed to connect with the larger audience that does not feel compelled to attend a fall conference. AutoCon 2012 was designed to attract and engage more automotive professionals to help our industry adapt to change.

Why Dealers Should Consider AutoCon 2012

AutoCon 2012 was based on the feedback from dealers who have attended past FCE conferences, and the feedback from the planning committee. The conference is designed to foster a more intimate learning experience that includes all the amenities that dealers expect from a first class event.

AutoCon has over 70 workshops lead by industry leaders that are clearly labeled as educational or sponsored workshops. This format is designed to limit the “pitchfest” that some workshop leaders deliver as they cross the line between dealer education and sales presentations. The sponsored workshops are perfect opportunities for dealers to learn more about vendor products, which is a common reason for attending national conferences.

AutoCon will also feature learning labs each day. The lab room will give attendees time to follow-up sponsored workshop presentations with hands-on access to the technology and/or teachers that attracted their attention. Since the labs are separate from the exhibit hall, more one-to-one engagement can occur without the common distractions of a busy exhibit hall.

A dealer who purchases an AutoCon ticket is well rewarded with all breakfasts, plated lunches, and cocktail receptions included in their registration fee. AutoCon also offers free Wi-Fi connectivity in the exhibit hall, workshop rooms, general sessions, and guest rooms, which allow attendees to stay connected with work around the clock. In Las Vegas, this adds up to hundreds of dollars in savings!

All the workshops, general sessions, and the exhibit hall are contained on the third floor of the Aria Hotel & Casino. Getting around is easy and keeps everyone in the same place to maximize the networking experience.

If you have never visited the Aria Hotel, it is immaculate. The $125 room rate is a great way to experience this five star luxury hotel. With over 70+ workshops, 8 keynote speakers, and over 50 exhibitors showcasing their latest products, AutoCon 2012 represents a tremendous opportunity for dealers to engage with fresh content.

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Special Promotion

On Tuesday August 7th, dealers can take advantage of a special promotion: “Two For Tuesday.” The promotion is very simple. Dealers can purchase a ticket for AutoCon 2012 for $895.00 and bring a second attendee for free. The offer expires at midnight on Tuesday, August 7th so I encourage all supporters of to reserve your ticket immediately.

At AutoCon I will be conducting a three part workshop series on Google paid search and joining me is Anita Avram from the Google Adwords team. I will also be conducting a two part workshop series on Google Analytics and joining me will be John Jones from

Additionally, I am very excited that I will be releasing my new book “Unfair Advantage” at AutoCon 2012, which is collaboration with Tracy Myers and ten automotive industry leaders. This is my second published book, with the first book being in 1984! I hope you will come to the panel workshop, which will feature most of the authors of “Unfair Advantage”.

There Is No Best Fall Show

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that every fall conference has its strengths and weaknesses. AutoCon 2012 is a very compelling choice but I also think highly of the conference format designed by Jared Hamilton at I also am looking forward to speaking at JD Powers this fall, which immediately follows DSES.

Automotive professionals that cannot attend AutoCon 2012 due to scheduling conflicts, I would strongly recommend that you attend the DrivingSales Executive Summit (DSES). This year DSES is scheduled at the Bellagio Hotel and Casio on October 21-23rd and dealership employees can register at the early bird rate of $795 per person.

So, more choices will help the 98% of dealership employees who are not able or compelled to attend a fall conference. I hope to see you in Las Vegas this fall, and if you want to increase the impact of AutoCon 2012, make sure you buy your ticket by August 7th to lock in the “Two For Tuesday” promotion. – Brian Pasch

Let’s give Brian and the Automotive Media Partners a THANKS for not only the MONEY saving promotion but for also taking the leap into the conference arena – giving dealers more options and opportunities for much needed education in this fast paced industry.

Will you be attending AutoCon 2012? 

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
  • R
  • August 6, 2012
Many thanks to both Jeff Kershner and Brian Pasch for writing and publishing this information... The addition of AutoCon to the Fall conference circuit is good for the industry, as Jeff and Brian point out, more choices increase the likelihood that more dealers will send the key people that benefit most from sharpening their saws a few times a year. But beyond additional selection, I have personally been to many conferences over the course of many years.  I have attended every single Digital Dealer Conference and J. D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable... Having been part of the AutoCon Planning Committee, I can attest to the fact that this event is built around the concept of continuous improvement, and is designed to improve upon what has been done to date by other conferences, such as Digital Dealer.  It is flattering to see the Digital Dealer team copying features like the AutoCon Learning Labs, and lets us know we are on the right track. So, be sure to take advantage of the "2 For Tuesday" promo to get a great deal on attending the inauguration of the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.