*Actual photos taken at the Digital Dealer Conference.
Was the Digital Dealer Conference a Smashing Success??
“We sold out everything,” said Michael Roscoe, Chairman of the event. “We sold out all our booth spaces, all our food and beverage sponsorships, all our title sponsorships, our room block…if it was for sale, it got sold,” Roscoe continued. “We beat the 300 dealership registrants from last fall by more than 83%. This conference was a smashing success!” – Mike Roscoe
This is a 2 part post. First mine then Alex.
Well it’s been a week since the Digital Dealer conference. Wait..is it the Digital Dealer Conference or is it the AAISP Conference? I’m always confused about that!!
Anyways, I had intended to write the post tracking it day by day but that never happened. 🙂 So I thought I would give a brief run down from my side of the conference, the good, bad and maybe some ugly.
I didn’t fly in until mid-day Monday so I missed out one the 101 sessions. Props to Jesse over at
HomeNet for having me picked up in the stretch Hummer at the airport!
- The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center was very nice! Great place for a conference like this.
- Meeting and placing faces with all the dealerrefresh readers and contributors that attended. (Alex has listed everyone below, sorry if we missed anyone!)
- Mr. Shaun Raines had a most excellent session "Why Most Dealers Can’t Solve the Internet Puzzle" was an excellent session. I always enjoy your message Shaun.
- The exhibit hall was decent, none of the vendors go way out like they do with NADA obviously but there are some players in there.
- TKCarsites was the center of attention in the middle of the exhibit hall for more then one reason. Wheeew.
- Apparently I won some Internet Sales Manager award.?
- Tuesday mornings general session ""Putting all the Pieces Together" was a waste of time. I’m sorry but that was not good at all.
- I almost fell asleep during the Marketing Mixology session. What was that?
- Technology-Assisted Relationship Sales with Jim Ziegler was really out there. Even for me! That was just enough information for a green pea to become really dangerous, and not in a good way.
- Dinner at Norman’s at the Ritz Carlton. The company was excellent but the food wasn’t.
- Missed some of the sessions because we couldn’t figure out the class layout
- I won an award but had do idea, so I wasn’t there to accept it. So TJ over
at Homenet accepted it on my behalf. THANKS TJ!! LOL
- The Panel Discussion: "Technology: What is Moving the Sales Needle from Some of the Best and Brightest" I thought was average at best. David Metter was the 1 person on the panel that I was impressed with. Someone kept talking about how they work to make their sites "sticky".
- I sat in on a session by Pat Ryan Jr. "Winning in Today’s Internet-Driven Pre-Owned Market". He focused on 360 degree used vehicle pricing and the 4 different type of buyers. The end of the session became a sales pitch for one of the many used car price to market software companies that seem to popping up all over the place. It was a decent session.
I really wanted to attend more of the sessions. Sorry I missed the " Selling Vehicles, Service, Parts and Accessories Online – Like Books and Music" session Wednesday morning, maybe Alex can talk more about that one since he caught it.
This was my 1st time attending a Digital Dealer conference and overall the conference wasn’t bad, good actually. A lot of information for the green pea. There were some sessions (apparently on Wednesday) that I missed out on that I heard were really good.
If you’re on the fence on whether or not to attend, I’d have to recommend it. If the conference keeps going with the same amount of steam it will definitely continue to grow.
I will say though..PLEASE, lets get some people outside of the industry to speak. I get a little worn out hearing the same people in our industry over and over.
A few side notes:
Buzzwords – "Sticky" and "Meta"
OEM’s were in attendance albeit incognito
Hangovers were still pretty bad
The camaraderie was awesome
Some returning link love to Chad over at
As Jeff stated, it has been a week since the DD Conference….and we’re just weak for not posting this recap till now. Sorry guys!
Mike Roscoe and the gang deserve high marks on picking the venue this year – the Gaylord resort had just about everything the Conference could need. The only issue we had was on finding some of the classes. It doesn’t seem this was the fault of the Digital Dealer crew, but more the resort’s infusion of what seemed like three different conferences sharing space on the second floor. A big THANK YOU for having Dasani water readily available all the time!
After check-in, I got lost trying to find my room. I think the hotel staff intentionally give bad directions as a joke. However, I eventually found my room and all the accommodations (especially the alcohol-serving ones) the Gaylord had to offer (yes, that sounds bad). Many meals were had in the Italian/Med restaurant; where I grabbed dinner with my boss Monday night, and ran into Brian Hoecht (AI-Dealer), Shaun Raines, Jamie Adams (Reach Local), and Ken Lees & Jeff Clark (Skoots) who had pioneered the phrase DGI.
DGI is what it is all about in 2008! The dealer with the biggest DGI has no problem getting a date to the prom…or selling more cars – however you wish to think of it.
I also didn’t get started on the classes till Tuesday. It was definitely school for green peas: Internet 101. There were some good sessions though: Jeff mentioned Shaun Raines’ class, and I found Brian Hoecht’s panel to offer some good points as well. David Metter definitely owned the panel he sat on, and Jim Ziegler helped me bust a gut a few times. Some of Jim’s proposals on how to use social marketing frightened me though. I also enjoyed a session from someone at Cobalt, but I cannot remember his name. This was the Wednesday morning session Jeff missed. It was an excellent presentation on how to incorporate most areas of this "new marketing" mix we’re in by putting it all in plain terms.
I want to say it was nice seeing some old faces: Gilbert Chavez, Ken Lees, Jeff Clark, Tom Bernardcyk (sorry if I butchered that), DJ Ports, Mike Dee @ Dealer.com, of course – Jon Bon Kershner, and many more. Even better, I had the pleasure of meeting these folks: Dean Evans (you would have thought I’d have met Dean before now being a Dealer.com customer for so long – Vermont is slacking 🙂 ), Patrick Workman, Mark Rikess, Jennifer Picheco, Shaun Raines, the rest of the MileOne crew, Alex Bravvy, the HomeNet gang, Kevin Frye, Ralph Paglia, Andrew Difeo, Jaime Adams, Brian Hoecht, and many more…if I listed everyone, we’d be reading for a much loooonger time.
The best part of the conference was actually having my boss, Pete Lively, there. It was great to see him grow a better appreciation of things – not to say he didn’t appreciate this side of the business before. Having him there made the conference invaluable for me!
I’m looking forward to 2009’s Digital Dealer/AAISP conference….or whatever it is called?
So what did you think of the Digital Dealer Conference?
What was your fav?
What was your least fav?
Will you attend again and would you recommend it to others?
The 5th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition,
will be held at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in
Grapevine, Texas, six minutes from the DFW airport, October 5th-8th.