Industry Events

The Digital Dealer Conference – a week later

Digital_dealer_conference_image
*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 Likes:

  • 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.?

The Dislikes:

  • 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 Neutrals:

  • 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
AutoRevo.

-Jeff

——————————————————————————

Dgimofo

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?

-Alex

—————————————————————————-

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.

S
  • S
    Seth
  • May 2, 2008
I would also encourage researching DGIO which is a distant relative to VSEO.

Seth

A
  • A
    Andrew Wright
  • May 2, 2008
Sorry I missed it. Sounds like it was a good show. I wish I could have attended but I have been out of the stores so much for other work related meetings that I couldn't afford the time away. One suggestion - for those can't make it, perhaps a streaming video website that we could log into for a partial fee? I know the spirit of the event is having everyone together, but I would have definitely watched some of the presentation on web video if available.

Thanks for the updates fellas.

S
Nice recap gents!

Jeff, I appreciate the high marks on my preso. It means a lot coming from you and I'm glad you were finally able to see me present in person.

Alex, I can't believe you created a DGI graphic! Man, you are hilarious! Truly made me laugh out loud. It was a pleasure finally meeting you face to face and I'm glad your boss was able to make the trip with you. BTW, kudos to you and Dealer.com on the re-design of www.checkeredflag.com. I look forward to seeing you at the next DD/AAISP or whatever it's called.

Extra Notes From a Non-Exhibiting Speaker (me):
This may sound a bit egotistical, but I was very disappointed to find that my session was not being video taped. When I arrived in the room before my presentation, there was no technical person to be found. Fortunately, I knew how to set up my own computer, brought my own wireless remote to click through my slides and was also able to mic myself so folks could hear me. I received a ton of positive feedback while at the conference and it has continued since returning home. Unfortunately, that session will now only live in the minds of those that were there. If you were there, please don't forget about the "silver bullet."

Final highlights were seeing old friends like Aaron Bickart, Ralph Paglia, Gilbert Chavez, Brian Hoecht, Jesse Biter, Cary Smith and many more. I of course have to give a shout out to Jamie and Seth over at ReachLocal. Their support of me is invaluable and much appreciated. DGI was truly brought to life by these two who regularly think of AMAZING opportunities. :)

New friends and contacts also make the DD/AAISP event worthwhile. A big "nice to meet you" goes to:
Kevin Frye at Jeff Wyler
Bill Hayden at Carl's Buick Pontiac GMC
Jeff and Ken at Skoots
Tony Taylor at Reynolds
Patrick Workman at Dealer.com
Robin Beebe-Moussaoui at Giant Recreation World (thanks for the unforgettable Jack Black moment)
Dick Clipp at Chrysler
Ralph Ebersole at Cars.com

I might share more later, but for now, I'm going back to bed.

Shaun
B
If you weren't able to attend, this is quickly becoming "THE" conference for car dealers who want to achieve online sales competency / mastery. Shouts out to Mike Roscoe for recognizing this 2 years ago + building up the brand.

Since our blog host missed my presentation + since I've had numerous requests for the "Cliff notes" version of the Shop + Buy Online presentation and panel discussion, I've put it out there on Google Docs.

http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id=df66httg_44fp46mnfk

Great conference, great learning, great networking, great friends.
K
Without doubt, the highlight of the conference was interacting with other eCommerce folks who are on the front lines of this market every day. It was also about time that I finally met Alex, Jeff, Gilbert, and many others that I have emailed and spoken to several times in the past.

I have to agree that the highlight was Shaun Raines' presentation. Why? Because he GETS IT folks! I don't want to be overly critical of many of the other presentations, but a lot of it was the same old stuff that has been preached for the last couple years. The reality of our market is that it is moving FAST and Shaun's presentation was applicable to our current situation. One of my primary goals to research was video integration into our sales process, websites, and other online sources. Most of what I saw was OEM videos being tagged and thrown on your website, however, there were a few folks who were on top of it - Shaun, Jeff, Gilbert, etc. Hence I found my greatest value in talking to the other folks who are doing this every day.

Location was awesome. I spoke to Mike Roscoe and thanked him for a job well done. Good thinking to keep having free food and drinks throughout the day where the exhibitors were, it kept folks coming back to meet.

It was also great to see Pat O'Connell, who is taking Performance Lexus to new heights with his hard work, and also to make a great new friend - Alex Jefferson. We worked hard to help Alex get a date with the TK Website "basketball assistant", but things just didn't work out. Keep working that process out 90 days Alex, lol! Cheers! Kevin Frye/eCommerce Director/Jeff Wyler Automotive Family/ www.wyler.com
F
I do enjoy visiting Dealer refresh and have suggested the site for well over a year in my workshops. I don't "post " as I feel this is your site ( for retail folks ) and I am a visitor. I like to keep it that way.
My two cents this year.

This year's conference verse last years was much better and I agree with a lot of your comments. I also got to find some old friends and meet some new ones. There is a need to bring in new speakers and a floor plan would have been a great help.
Name tags could have been easier to read and color keyed. Dealer verse vendor.
I'm sorry but I need coffee at breaks, but no such luck. Water worked.
The other issue I felt would have a value would be to define the levels of content for people attending. As noted there were some, some? green peas, yes there were.
I am very happy to see Texas as the next location. Reviewing the attendee listings, I didn't see too many dealers from the west coast or from Phoenix. Hay Ralph Paglia we have got to do a better job here in Phoenix!
Thanks for allowing me to post my two cents. Now I will return you back to retail.

Fred
A
Alex and Jeff, great recap and it was a pleasure meeting both of you at the conference.

This was my first Digital Dealer conference and I enjoyed it on many levels.

Favorite Seminar : The eBusiness Performance Study from Cobalt

Favorite Seminar Honorable Mention : ROI of the Internet Department from Izmocars

Least Favorite Seminar : I usually don't like to point out my least favorite things so I don't offend anyone....but...I can't believe I got up early for the keynote speech of "Putting all the Pieces Together." Next time I will "keep all the pieces apart" and enjoy an extra hour of alcohol induced sleep!

A great networking event as well with so many talented people to learn from. It was a pleasure meeting everyone including Matt Nazar, Kevin Frye, Pat O'connell, Karen from cars.com, Mike from KBB, Patrick from dealer.com, and many many more that I can't remember due to a Heineken overdose.

Looking forward to another stay at the Gaylord in Texas in October!



K
Andrew - how did I forget to leave your name out... It was also great to meet you and the "mini-Boston" convention at the H2O Bar, lol, great times!
A
Shaun - I'm not sure that graphic does DGI justice. It is by far the coolest term yet for eCommerce - lol. I'm sorry I misspelled your name in the original post. My father's name is Sean and I was emailing back and forth with him when I wrote my portion of the post - I guess I got the spelling of your names mixed up. Maybe Jon Bon Kershner can fix it for me?

Andrew - you're a dangerous man to hang-out with at a bar! With that said, we're meeting up in South Beach soon....you fearless bastard....too much fun!
D
Alex, thanks for the shout out. Too bad I can't get my boss....er employee, John Bon Kershner to say he enjoyed my panel. Maybe one day I will make him proud of me......

On a more serious note, some vendors should keep track of certain female employees. That was the only thing that made that dinner worth attending. Instead of being an hour late, we should have showed up.. never. I am still trying to figure out what was sitting on top of my pork chop. All I know is mine looked better than Nail's. Speaking of Nail, next time your girlfriend gets dragged out of the Gaylord by the cops you should come to her rescue. At least go bail her out.....

The conference location was awesome. 4 minutes from my condo. Poolside meetings are the best. Can't beat it. Thanks Auto One for visiting and partaking in a couple of drinks. Rosco is going to need to step it up on the speakers though. Bring in a real keynote for goodness sakes and keep that girl from Cobalt off the stage..and away from the bar....at noon.

The DD fall conference has decided to go head to head with JD Power in October. Let's think, sub par speakers vs. industry specialists. Simple topics vs. advanced business strategies. No speed networking at DD vs. killer speed networking at JD. And some town in Texas vs. Las Vegas Baby!!!! Let's see. It's a tough choice. I know how to pick. Hey Jesse, where are you going to be???


E
So this is my first post although I am a long time (ok...less than a year) reader of the blog - Great to have this resource - thanks for Jeff and Alex both for taking the time to maintain the community!

This was also my first Digital Dealer Conference and I am wondering how I have not made it to one sooner! We actually chose the J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable last year in Vegas and the 30,000 ft. view of the internet landscape was interesting if not extremely helpful for someone at the dealership level.

My review of the conference - I thought it was all pretty well handled, but some improvements I would like to see include:

1. Do away with the canned questions and answers at the panel sessions...let us ask the questions and have the panel think on their feet...it would be must more interesting and useful.

2. Have more advanced type seminars that run for longer instead of trying to cram the info into 45 minutes or an hour. I would prefer to attend one or two meaningful sessions per day and really get some good information.

3. Make the more basic type seminars more useful by providing usable guidelines for structure, metrics, staffing etc... rather than offering a broad overview.

I know that this is probably not the right forum for this discussion, but perhaps someone could get these ideas to the right people.

I did get to meet Shaun Raines, although I am remiss that I missed his presentation. I would have liked to have met more of you, but I had the whole Fam Damnily there (free hotel room + Orlando + 4 year old = Disney!) and my evenings were full. Perhaps we can meet in October at the 5th Conference. I live here in North Texas and one of my dealerships is about 3 minutes from the Gaylord Texan, so I can assure you that there is plenty to do here (sic. Mr. Metter!)

In fact if you want to bring the family, there is a Great Wolf Lodge right across the road from the Gaylord. And for those of you who had a crappy dinner, check with me and I'll steer you in the right direction - we have some phenomenal steakhouses here!
J
"Alex, thanks for the shout out. Too bad I can't get my boss....er employee, John Bon Kershner to say he enjoyed my panel. Maybe one day I will make him proud of me......"

David you make me proud everyday. I made a few changes for ya. :)

Jeff
D
Jeff;

"Is it the AAISP conference - or the Digital Dealer Conference..."

Truly, those who have been around for a minute know exactly where you are coming from. It still confuses me a little each year, too!

Look for my synopsis of the conference, soon.

In fact, what the hell - here it goes (as opinionated as a purposefully selected onion-filled lunch item)...

2008 Digital Dealer Conference in Orlando
A CIRCUS OF VENDORS
By: D. Rawls, President
Auto Buyer Consultants, LLC



WOW! An exclamation readily associated with events and happenings that venture beyond the window of what is ordinary, has to be the perfect description for the exposition floor at this year’s 4th Digital Dealer Conference in Orlando.

Opening with a healthy smorgasbord of direction from icons in the Internet Sales Consulting profession, David Kain and Cory Mosley, this year’s conference had all the big names, addressed the big issues, and featured the big technologies. Indeed, Mike Roscoe has parlayed his expo into an industry ‘must attend’.

THREE RING CIRCUS…
From ADP, Reynolds, AutoTrader, Cars.com, and NeoSynergy, to Dealerskins, KBB, IMN, and Dealix, every measure was taken throughout the industry to ensure that product representation was not a shortcoming. However, there were three main attractions on the exposition floor.

The omnipresence of mega-media funded AutoTrader.com and Cars.com played flank to a new kid on the block by the name of NeoSynergy. At the center ring of this bazaar of sorts, the leadership of this new mother ship (much of whom have long ties to the industry, including past tenure with Reynolds and Reynolds) announced product tie-ins with Google to an exciting toast of blue, red, yellow, blue, green, red martinis – custom decorated to commemorate the occasion.

Impressive in every aspect, NeoSynergy commanded the center ring at this year’s conference. This ambitious company out shown the flanking rings by wielding a cutting-edge approach to listing prices for dealers, called Best Deals. At the booth, heavily clad with the blue, green, and black of its moniker, NeoSynergy representatives gave multiple interactive presentations to individual dealer professionals on how their Best Deals product generates quality leads from sites such as AOL and integrates with Google Maps, and then signed them up to begin benefiting right away. During the entire event, C-level leadership from the company was at the booth and made it plain to all why their vision is best. At a break away session I attended (one of the only truly interactive sessions at the conference, as I understand it), NeoSynergy CEO David Wassman presented the facts about consumers’ migration to online retail automotive transactions, and led a search for the best deals on various products – including, of course, a car. To say NeoSynergy was the talk of the town would be a gross misinterpretation. They seemed to own this show!

Cars.com was a good flank to the center ring. Mostly, they attempted to engage dealer professionals in the use of their existing online advertising tools. Their unmistakably purple booth environment was furnished with arte deco sitting places, and a few large, flat-screen computer monitors. There were no significant announcements of new product launches or sign-ups, but much of the executive staff did seem to be on hand to take the event in. Among the most interesting activities at the Cars.com booth were client testimonials being filmed by the Atlanta area Account Manager, Val Williams. She was racking up the points with positive feedback from Cars.com customers, including dealers, Internet sales managers, and ecommerce directors. The Cars.com national trainer, Ralph Ebersole, did a break away session as well.

Admittedly, the information flowing from the AutoTrader.com booth was minimal. As I made my rounds on the exposition floor, I noticed very little activity at the bright orange, jungle-gym-looking contraption which stood in as the AutoTrader.com booth. What I did hear from colleagues was grunts and moans about yet another rate increase for dealer clients. It seems that the circus-goers have greater expectations (especially for increased ticket prices). Indeed, there is still no arguing the numbers when it comes to the amount of consumers who shop the listings on AutoTrader. However, the ‘build and they will come’ approach to Internet is a few eras gone by, now, and it will be interesting to see how the leadership at AT/Cox will adjust.

THE LIONS, THE TIGERS…
Beyond NeoSynergy, there were some other acts and curiosities worthy of note. The notion of moving the entire sales process online was being championed by a few seasoned veterans of the retail automotive Internet space. Among these were Brian Hoecht who hosted the closing general session with a forum discussion of the matter, including the likes of Jeff Clark and Ken Lees. Their discussion of eNegotiations and Artificial Technology as it relates to the immediate future of online automotive transactions was livening.

Dealerskins, KBB, and Dealix were proactive as could be expected. But I couldn’t decide whether AutoUpLinkUSA or The Higher Gear Group offered the better value proposition after presentations on their lead and inventory management tools from Joshua Schofer and Skip Murphy, respectively. That was good! IMN has always been an undeniable asset on my list, and it was good to see them pushing their Loyalty Driver product at the conference. An act out of Atlanta, MyDealerBroadcast.com, grabbed my attention with a sales driver tool that uses email as a call to action for internet customers – it was a new twist on the automatic responder that offers incentive to customers for replying. And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the winner of the “If I Were to Join a New Company Today Award”, DriveTime TV. These guys were maxing and relaxing in leather smoker’s chairs while watching ESPN on the Hi-Def flat-screen – everyone’s envy at the show. Their product, in-store marketing systems which integrate into televisions in dealerships’ customer lounge, waiting, and showroom areas, was a bang, too!


And, to go along with all the exposition’s headliners, there was some worthwhile information, too. The discussion of moving the entire automotive buying process online found credence in the statistic showing consumer’s who said they would purchase a vehicle online increased from only 2% in 2003 to right at 20% in 2007. Another very interesting figure was relayed in an online car buying presentation which said, “…of all internet shoppers surveyed, 73% leave a website within only two minutes of not finding what they are looking for online.” Of course, tracking was a topic of discussion. The use of a ‘Monthly Internet Performance Report’ was recommended. I did not attend the break away session where the report was broken down and/or explained for practical use.

In fact, implementation and practicality was not the status quo – at all. It was almost as if (among the ‘lions and tigers’) the goal was to give as little that was usable as possible, in far too many instances. But, this speaks sheerly to the evidence of this year’s conference being more so an exposition – or circus of vendors, than a platform for addressing the ascendancy of the Internet to a major tool in contemporary automotive marketing. Indeed, the crowd was indicative, however, of the migration(finally) of attitudes among dealer professionals and vendors that the future of this industry will unfold on the Internet.

THE BEARS, OH MY…
ADP, Reynolds, and the OEM’s seemed to be their sluggish selves during this year’s expo. Being grandfathered into this movement of the industry online is going to be much less likely than before. Absence of representatives from particular nameplate manufacturers was sickening, as it is no doubt that many among the ranks at the manufacturers’ corporate offices are of the old garde who believed Internet would never have relevance in the industry. It’s a frightening thing to know that they trust such stale leadership in a pivotal era.

Learning is still a key to the evolution of retail automotive Internet marketing, and the deficiency in this area seemed blatant at the expo. “Maybe dealers just don’t value the concept of training anymore…” was the sentiment of one conversation between industry icons. I, however, would quickly speak to acknowledge any such sentiment being played out across dealer networks is only the early spelling of doom. Because we are still dealing with an adolescent (Internet Sales is only about 13 years old in the automotive sector), it is imperative that the lines of communication remain open. Many early advocates and pioneers of this automotive Internet era (those among the avant garde) seemed to be taking it all in – whether on hand, or from a distance. Maybe they are weighing in their wise minds whether such spectacles as the Digital Dealer Conferences are integral parts of this zeitgeist shift.

Indeed, products and services in the segment have come a long, long way. In the formative years, that’s usually how it works. But, the circus is a spectacle, only. The best approach to Internet is not a pointed dictatorship, but a democratic forum. The best people are still the only perfect pathway to the best results. The Internet is fast becoming each and every one of our jobs.

Before we let the Big Top down, and head for the next city with this expo, we should be sure to make note that our Internet is no longer a toddler – but an adolescent. The formative years have passed, the fragile teen-age years have arrived, and our online being will begin to take definitive direction. Maybe there is validity to Dr. Lloyd Richardson’s vision to hinge the AAISP upon accreditation and certifications for the industry’s professionals, so as not to alienate those most dear to the evolution of the tools and standards which are integral parts of this zeitgeist shift. Let us all be responsible stewards of the power of this tool. Let us be mindful of the etiquette we would require of our own adolescents, pay close attention to the paths our teen is taking, and stand firm as the creators of this being – unafraid to bestow upon it praise and laurels and/ or time proven threats such as, “I brought you into this world, and I’ll take you out…”

J
Gulp... D. Rawls, you sure love to write, that post was hours and hours of effort! Your mind is so active and full of color that your insightful observations get lost in the forest of tangents.

I too have this "waaay too wordy" problem. I constantly have to remind myself... Less is More.

Joe
p.s. I re-wrote this 3 times to shorten it and it's still too long! hahahha

I
  • I
    Ian Statler
  • May 8, 2008
Jeff, your photos KILL ME! You come up with some crazy shit. I was laughing my A$$ off at the guy sleeping.
R
I really enjoyed reading this post and the string of responses following it...

Having attended all 4 of these Digital Dealer/AAISP Conferences, my observation is that each of them have been unique and well worth attending. Jesse Biter's Post-Party gatherings at a choice local watering hole have become legendary. Each event seems to reveal a side of somebody I have not seen before... This time I got to see Kendall Bilman's obnoxious intoxicated side, which was actually quite interesting!

In regards to "official" conference content, watching Melissa McCann (Cobalt) and Adrian Madland (Google) on stage on Wednesday morning was painful... Could they have been more agonizingly patronizing to each other? Shaun Raines workshops are always good because of his sincerity and genuine comfort in front of a group. I did like the way the vendors were set up and the length of the breaks between sessions allowed everyone to mix and meet other people in that vendor area. It would be nice to see Roscoe line up a better caliber of speakers for the big room.

Overall, the Digital Dealer Conferences have become the most significant gathering of automotive digital marketing professionals in the industry, and it really should be a must attend item on your calendar. Going back to the original origins of AAISP, it would add a lot of value to the conference if there were some level of integration with an AAISP Certification program.

Lastly... Let me send a big Thank You out to those that attended my workshop on buying conventional media using Digital Buying Channels on Wednesday afternoon. We had a great crowd there and the questions and attendee dialogue were truly energizing.
J
Vegas or Texas??? While I agree with Ralph “the Digital Dealer Conferences have become the most significant gathering of automotive digital marketing professionals in the industry”, I just don’t think I can give up both Vegas and JD Power (http://corp.jdpower.com/irt/internet08/); not to mention DealerTrack’s Innovation Conference (http://www.dealertrack.com). Since both conferences will be going on at the same hotel back to back (Bellagio) and because it’s in Vegas – that’s where the legendary “post party gathering” will be!! I guess Andy and crew will have to make Digital Dealer work without me ;-) See you all there!

--Jesse Biter
HomeNet, Inc.
C
NETWORKING- Excellent

SESSIONS- Shaun Raines above and beyond, Ken Pfau (Cobalt Guy - New Marketing Mix Preso Alex mentioned) had some good stuff, Kendall Billman was on his game as well.

AH-HA MOMENT- Using Social Networks, brilliant! ;)

A PARTING SHOT- "THE BEARS, OH MY… ADP, Reynolds, and the OEM’s seemed to be their sluggish selves during this year’s expo. Being grandfathered into this movement of the industry online is going to be much less likely than before. ... It’s a frightening thing to know that they trust such stale leadership in a pivotal era."

-----> HUH? Reynolds and ERA in the same paragraph, thanks!
C
I forgot to give props to Kim Clouse who I understand had an excellent session, unfortunatly, I was far too navigationally challenged to find said session. I sure would have rather listend to Kim than the pharmaceutical sales training sessions I ended up in...
C