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Digital Summit @ Mountain View: Disclosures of an Auto Conference Virgin, Part 1

Smiling Faces @ The Digital Summit, Mountain View
Smiling Faces @ The Digital Summit, Mountain View

As a woman with years of professional exposure to predominantly ecommerce and retail, the auto industry – even as it pertains to digital marketing, is a bit foreign to me. When I was given the opportunity to attend the Digital Summit @ Mountain View last week, I thought to myself, “I’m going to feel like a fish out of water, but this is something I have to do if I really want to market AutoHook. I need to learn the industry,” And so, I went…

And yes, maybe I was a bit out of my element, but once I took it all in and had a few conversations with my fellow attendees I realized that we have a lot in common, and they are all marketers of the digital age just like me. Sure, they’re selling cars rather than technologies, but their challenges, experiences and thoughts within the digital realm are not so different from my own.  And these people are SAAVY.

On that note, I’d like to share the first 4 of my top 8 key learnings from the Summit which you may find quite valuable (or, entertaining at the least.  Keep in mind, I’m a newbie!):

1.       The key to a successful launch is a great story: Guy Kawasaki, the keynote speaker at the event, taught us all that if your business or dealership is embarking on something new, you must have a great story behind it in order to sell it well. For example, maybe your new showroom used to be a winery. Or maybe you’re running a big promotion in May because that’s the month you sold your first car. Play off of these interesting tidbits by giving people a tangible and relatable story to follow, and you’ll be sure to grab more attention and make more sales.

2.       Mobile. Do it:  Okay, we get it. Or do we really? Even though mobile is something that marketers in all industries are a bit sick of hearing about, we’re still just not doing it! The statistics are frightening. More than half of small/medium sized businesses still don’t have a mobile site. And, 40% of consumers have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. My last thought on this one was, “Thank goodness we have an app.”

3.       Don’t abuse your social network privileges: As a good rule of thumb, Guy says that whenever you’re sharing via social media, make sure your Tweet, Status, etc. provides 1. Information, 2. Insights 3. Assistance. For example, a statistic such as “90% of car buyers start their research online” is informative, while “Taking a test drive? Acquaint yourself with the vehicle before starting the engine.” provides assistance. Just because you have the power to reach your audience as many times a day as you want, you shouldn’t feel like you have to.

4.       Lead to Show is a crowd pleaser: As someone who only learned about the Lead to Show product suite from an internal vantage point, it was refreshing to confirm my strong affirmation that our technology drives real, strong and significant results for dealers. When speaking with me during the main day of the conference, one client asked his partner, “How many cars did we sell through HookLogic last month?” His counterpart responded, “About 20% more than we would have without.” And that kind of thing was heard multiple times throughout my visit.

Look out next week for part 2. I’ll share some key stats and insights from my “virgin vantage point.”

It's February 7, 2012...Now What?

It’s February 7, 2012…Now what?

Imagine it’s the day after NADA…the flurry of NADA activities, meetings, demo’s, and appreciation events are now behind you. All the planning before-hand has left you overwhelmed with action items. As you sit at your desk, you pull up your conference notes and after a quick glance say to yourself, “Where do I begin?”.

If you’re like me, the reasons you attend a conference is to learn, connect and apply. And, how do you organize all those presentation notes, business cards, marketing brochures, meeting notes and follow up action items? In follow-up to an article I read that Eric Miltsch posted on DrivingSales, I started thinking about “after” NADA. As you plan and schedule now, keep these three things in mind for AFTER:

As I sit at my desk AFTER NADA:

1) Create a summary of key learnings (all those highlights and notes you made) to forward to your leadership team (if they were there, keep it for yourself). This will serve as your working document and easy to decipher notes for use in strategy. If you had to write it now, what would you include?

2) With your goals outlined from "Before NADA" (which should align with the dealership strategy), list two action items for each of those listed in "before".

3) Expand on each with "how" each will be accomplished.

NOTE: Keep these three things in mind as you attend each event which will help organize actions into buckets along the way making the "after" easier "now".

An example check list to consider:

3 "must visit" companies:

1) Company A will help accomplish X 2) Company B will help facilitate X 3) Company C is new and I want to learn X so I can do X (personal development)

3 "must connect with" peeps and why each is important:

1) Peep #1 2) Peep #2 3) Peep #3

3 impacts I want to make in my dealership/s when I return:

1) Impact #1 (immediate application, high impact effecting goal X) 2) Impact #2 (<short term> action item, high impact effecting goal X) 3) Impact #3 (<long term> action item, high impact effecting goal X)

"Lead the Way" when you return and  have a short, concise action plan detailing 2-3 deliverables for each goal, get the right people at your dealership on board (buy-in, involved), set realistic deadlines and ensure follow-up with each new connection.

Close the loop on your conference experience.

Check out this article where Todd Smith of ActivEngage is mentioned with his 2012 marketing trends that will have the biggest impact. How do your goals relate to these top 3?