Wow – what an incredible 8 days in California! I don’t know if it is the jet-lag or the fact that I hit the ski slopes hard after getting back, but I am exhausted today. This exhaustion is so worth it! I may be physically tired, but I am pumped.
Brian Pasch’s Napa Valley Digital Marketing Strategies Conference was one of the best, if not the best, automotive marketing conferences I have ever been to. This was the first conference where I saw so many vendors, consultants, and advanced dealers drop their titles and their brands to simply help. It was parity for the sake of the greater good.
The theme of the conference was leadership and with so many dealership decision makers present I believe that theme sunk-in. Many of the dealer principles were there to learn and we were all there to translate from geek to real world dialogue.
It was interesting to note that all the digital people at this conference were mostly saying the same thing: don’t get hung-up on shiny widgets and social media fairy dust. Profit is made through intelligent process and management.
However, one company’s representatives did not get the memo that we were all there to help. I guess egos have a tendency to get in the way sometimes. I had a few dealers mention to me that it was hard to learn with one particular individual in the classes. All I know is that it was hilarious to watch him smack his yellow Corvette rental car (do I really need to say anymore) into the curb – it sounded like a missile exploded. It made my day. Since I’m sure he’s reading this I have to ask how the 50th interview with Dealer Digest went? Sorry they had to interrupt all those demos you did at NADA.
Brian – you and the PCG team did an incredible job. There really isn’t anything you can do about the previous paragraph, so don’t worry about it. I walked away with a lot of new friends and look forward to making more at the Bootcamp in Orlando this coming April. This conference format is really strong.
It is vastly different being a vendor at a NADA. It is hard work on either side of the aisle, but dealers get to make their own days. For a vendor it is like taking 100 floor ups in a day, selling a few, but collecting the prospects for future follow-up. It is non-stop.
As a dealer I didn’t think about what a vendor is after at NADA other than some new accounts. Vendors look for partnerships with other vendors just like dealers look for new vendors to partner with. It was very interesting to be involved in these kinds of innovative conversations.
I didn’t get too many opportunities to make it out of the Dealer.com booth for long. I missed every workshop, but I did get an opportunity to catch-up with some old friends at their booths: Dominion, Dealer Socket, vAuto, eLead, and Phone-Up Ninjas plus visits from iMagicLab, TK Carsites, and ActivEngage. Always good to see you all. There were some very impressive new products launched at NADA this year, and I have to say that I am most interested in watching Dominion. They’re based in my hometown so I have a lot of history with them and I am glad to see them finally doing stuff with all those product lines they have. We need more players who can challenge the ADP’s and Rey Reys out there.
This is going to be entirely biased, but I have to give a shout-out to Dealer.com. The Saturday night party with Third Eye Blind at MOMA was the best NADA party I’ve ever attended. The attention to detail was amazing and both Amy Parker and Dennis Lemoine at Dealer.com deserve massive applause for putting it all together. Johnny Utah (John Jones – DDC Trainer), our DJ, tore it up at the party and in the booth. You know you’re doing a good job when people are hanging around for hours and the conference staff are constantly asking you to turn the volume down – if the cops don’t show up it ain’t a party.
As it is with every event there are always people I miss. I apologize and hope we can connect by email or phone before the next event.