TADA’s Auto Dealers Innovation Series Recap

Auto Dealers Innovation Series 2016

This year’s event dove into marketing and sales strategies and featured presentations from several keynote speakers including: “Dragon” and innovation expert Bruce Croxon, Erin Elofson -Director of Auto and Financial Services at Facebook Canada, and Mike Badour – General Manger of Business Development and Direct Marketing at Canada Post.

Key Takeaways 

Bruce Croxon

Bruce Croxon spoke about how now is the best time to be a consumer and how dealers have the ability to reach the consumer through multiple places and products. Everything from Google to Facebook, cellphone to desktop. He said that dealers need to invest in core values that include teamwork, vision and planning, as well as make sure that they are measuring what is working and what isn’t working. Customer acquisition cost is key, and the importance of relationships between businesses and customers is coming back.

DD20_MichaelCirillo_HeadshotThe Dealer Panel discussed the customer journey and the use of technology. The panel  included the perspectives of dealers, vendors, and OEMs and was moderated by Michael Cirillo – Co-Host of The Dealer Playbook Podcast & President of Flexdealer. They determined that, when it comes to marketing, the old school vs new school argument doesn’t matter. You should never assume what level of technical experience your customers have; in other words, you should base your marketing on your customers’ habits, not their age. They also spoke about how customers expect an ‘instant process’ that matches the experience that got them to the dealer in the first place. The importance of price transparency in the online journey was also reiterated.

2._Erin_ElofsonErin Elofson with Facebook Canada told dealers to forget about fans and followers and to think of Facebook as a new channel to get buyers into your dealership. Out of the over 3.1 million mobile apps out there, 82% of the time spent on apps is split between only 5 apps, one of them being Facebook. Something that a lot of people don’t realize about Facebook advertising is the targeting ability. Since everyone logs into Facebook as themselves on all sorts of devices, Facebook always has the ‘real identity’ of users. Not only that, but Facebook can target people using the immense amount of data that they have about users, and they can use CRM and website matching. Also, since Facebook ads show up on your news feed without interrupting your experience, people tend to be more open to ads on Facebook compared to ads on YouTube, for example.

Mike_Badour-crop1-lgMike Badour with Canada Post spoke about how direct marketing is not only still relevant in a digital world, but actually complements other medias for a complete marketing plan. He also introduced Canada Post’s brand new Smartmail Marketing which uses Neuroscience to help businesses find new customers and increase the value of existing customers. Mike used Audi’s A8 launch as an example of a really cool mail campaign.

This was just a short summary of the conference, but as always, we learned a lot and look forward to attending next year!

What’s New in Waterloo? Google!

Google WaterlooWe were honored to be one of only 16 Google Partners invited to come and spend the day at Google’s latest and greatest office in Canada’s tech hub – Waterloo, Ontario.  This is one of the many perks that we get as a Premier Google Partner in Canada.  The day was packed with insightful speakers, great content, exclusive training, lots of food, and a tour.

If you were not aware, we are giving away 6 trips in September to this very same office where you will be treated to a similar experience – click here for details and to enter.  You will not be disappointed if you win!  

So what did we learn? A lot!  We are going to break this down into three additional posts.  One on Google’s brand new Expanded Text Ads, another on every business’s favorite source of frustration: Google My Business, and finally, one on What’s New with YouTube.  

A little about the newest Google office first.  It is in an incredible building that was built in 1918 and was actually a former rubber plant.  It houses approximately 500 Googlers with the capacity for about 500 more.  These engineers don’t work on Canadian specific projects either; they work on big ticket items like Gmail, Chrome and the Ads Infrastructure.  Like all Google offices that I have had the pleasure of visiting, it has wicked food at the main cafeteria, mini cafe’s on all floors, a cyborg moose (what’s more Canadian tech?) a gym with a climbing wall, nap pods and a whole lot more.

Google Waterloo - CafeteriaGoogle Waterloo - Cafeteria                    Google Waterloo - Cafeteria

What did we learn? For this post I am going to focus on two speakers, the individual posts will take care of the rest.  First up was Ben Wood, Director of Channel Sales Americas.  Ben spoke about how Google focuses on the ‘whole problem’ and works from that perspective.  If someone using Google can’t spell, it’s a Google problem.  If the internet is not fast enough, it’s Google’s problem.  This type of thinking has lead to great developments like Google Suggest (you know when Google suggests searches before you are done typing) and Google Chrome, a way faster and way better internet browser than what was available.  Further to looking at the whole problem, he spoke about 10X and moon shots – essentially the big, big wins that will transform your business, maybe even your industry.  Google considers these types or products over small iteration.  This is how we get self-driving cars, contact lenses to measure insulin levels for diabetics, and project Loon (balloon powered internet for the remote parts of the world).

Google WaterlooAfter Ben we heard from Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada, or the big boss.  Sam provided us with an unbiased look at what Google is trying to accomplish in Canada – mainly diversify away from search advertising.  He spoke candidly about ad blocking and that one solution will be for Google and Premier Partners like us to build better ads.  One comment that he made was that in 10-15 years every business will be a software business.  He provided examples from big banks and agencies and how software is starting to be at the core of all we do.  Whether he is right or wrong, I am going to learn how to code.  The last concept he shared that really resonated with me was about Yahoo’s sale to Verizon for ~$4.8B.  Yahoo was valued at more than $100B at its peak in 2000.  What happened to the other $95B?  No one knows exactly, but it is this type of event that constantly reminds him (and perhaps it should all of us) that we need to be a little bit paranoid about the next start up.  It is this paranoia that needs to drive us to hit our 10X goals that Ben outlined, to stay in business and not lose 95% of our value.

Overall it was a great day and it is always an honor to be invited to such an exclusive event.  For more information on the day and all the training we received, check out our three other blogs on the event:   Expanded Text Ads, Google My Business, and  What’s New with YouTube.


Duncan Cochrane

Win A Trip to Google’s Newest & Coolest HQ!

golden ticket google

We have all heard the rumors about the perks of working at Google. Thanks to movies like The Internship and shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley, the curiosity surrounding the inner-workings of Google are reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. If you have always wanted to get a firsthand look at working for the Search Engine giant, great news: Strathcom Media has your Golden Ticket to Google!

We are giving away 6 all-expenses-paid trips to Toronto and Waterloo! Strathcom and Google will pay for everything, you’ll be our VIP.

  • golden ticket googleWe’ll fly you to Toronto for one of our Google Breakfasts at Google HQ
  • We’ll transport you to Waterloo for a tour of Google’s newest & coolest HQ
  • We’ll look after all of your accommodations & meals
  • We’ll also set you up with a swag bag packed full of all kinds of Google and Strathcom merchandise
  • You’ll also get One on One Time with a Google-Certified team member


Google’s Kitchener-Waterloo location opened in January of this year and – according to one of our Google reps – is the coolest location they have opened yet! The trip is September 21-23, and the contest is running until the end of August. Enter Now! And for access to more opportunities like this one, subscribe to our newsletter!

golden ticket google

No Bullshit Here! Google Comes to Edmonton

Google Event

June 23 was our first Google Event in Edmonton and it was a huge success! This event was special not only because it was the first event of its kind in Edmonton, but also because it was the official launch of our non-automotive division – The UnAgency. Check out our full blog post, as well as our band new UnAgency website here!


Auto Remarketing Canada Conference 2016

26243614245_86be07bd9b_bThe 9th annual AR Canada Conference took place on Monday and Tuesday in Toronto, and our President, Duncan Cochrane had the honour of speaking for the second year in a row. The AR Canada conference is presented by ADESA, CARPROOF and Cox Automotive Canada, and is designed to bring members of the used-car industry together to discuss current opportunities and challenges faced by industry members.

This year, there were over 600 used-car industry professionals and 18 different workshops. There were many ideas and insights shared from all aspects of the industry, and it was a great learning opportunity for everyone that attended. If you weren’t able to attend this year, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most memorable moments and key takeaways that we observed!

avatar.jpg.320x320pxShawn Vording from Carproof spoke about a national survey that they completed which found that 40% of customers trade in a vehicle, and 61% of people that traded in a vehicle thought that their trade in value was too low. Are you educating your customers on how the value of their vehicle is determined? Shawn was also able to backup these statistics by doing a live poll with the audience.

25989074080_44155ec0b2_bAnother memorable presentation was from Erin Elofson from Facebook. Facebook is so much more than likes and shares; did you know that there are large, attention-grabbing, lead-generating ad formats available on Facebook? Erin also shared some interesting stats including:

  •  1 out of every 4 minutes spent on mobile in Canada is spent on Facebook and Instagram
  • over 21 million Canadians have Facebook and 16 million of those users are on Facebook every day.

So not only does Facebook give you the ability to create large, creative ads, but also gives you a reach of over 16 million people. This is a huge opportunity that dealers can and should utilize.

25640942533_b438c1f315_bDuncan spoke about Iteration and Personalization. He discussed why it’s important and how dealerships can incorporate it into their websites. Dealerships are now selling to a generation of customers that expects their buying experience to be personalized to them, and Strathcom Media has the tools to help sell to this new customer base.

We had a great time at AR Canada again this year, and we look forward to seeing everyone again at AR Canada 2017!

Strathcom is Presenting at Auto Remarketing Canada and Women & Automotive!


Have you noticed how many companies have been talking about algorithms and personalization lately? Twitter recently announced that they are implementing an algorithm that – similar to Facebook – will personalize the content that users see. A few weeks later, Instagram made a similar announcement.

You may be wondering what personalization is and why so many  large companies are doing it. If you are going to be in the Toronto area next week, you’re in luck! Our president, Duncan Cochrane, will be presenting at the Auto Remarketing Conference in Toronto for the second year in a row.  He will be talking about Iteration and Personalization and what Strathcom is doing to provide personalization tools to dealers. With over 16 years of combined experience in sales, advertising and marketing, Duncan will show dealers how they can incorporate personalization into their website.

women-automotive_sponsorNot only is Strathcom attending the AR Conference for the second year in a row, but we will also be presenting at the first annual Women & Automotive conference in Toronto on April 6th. Given the current condition of the Canadian economy, our Director of Client Services, Trish Rowsell, will be discussing how dealerships can not only survive in lean economic times, but thrive in them. Trish has over 14 years of leadership experience in sales, promotions and marketing, so she has experience working in economic downturns and will teach dealers how they can make the most of their marketing dollars.

Strathcom Media is honored to have the opportunity to give these presentations, and we hope to see you there!

The Best Automotive Conferences to Attend in 2016


2016 Young Executive Society (YES) Conference – Vaughn, Ontario

March 29th

Held in the city of Vaughn, the Young Executive Society Conference is designed for the young, up-and-coming industry leaders that are seeking an opportunity for professional development and networking. This event takes place in the afternoon, starting off with lunch and ending with a workshop. Keynote speakers at this event include Ron Tite and Dave Fifield. Ron Tite is a branding and creativity expert, and Dave Fifield is an industry mentor currently with Wakefield Canada. If you are an automotive executive in the making, don’t miss out on this professional growth opportunity!

For more information, follow the link below:



NADA Convention & Expo – Las Vegas

March 31st – April 3rd

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention is the largest convention for franchised new-vehicle dealers in the world. This event includes hundreds of exhibits, dozens of workshops, and an opportunity to network with executives from major manufacturers. The NADA convention also boasts a star-studded list of keynote speakers including: Jeff Foxworthy, Karl Rove, Howard Dean, Peyton Manning and more. But why let me explain it to you when you can see the event yourself through the eyes of canines?

For more information, follow the link below:



AR Canada – Toronto

April 4th-5th

Auto Remarketing Canada is an excellent networking opportunity for everyone in the remarketing and used-vehicle industry. Not only has this event seen higher attendance each year for nearly 10 years, but it also brings together hundreds of dealers and exhibitors alike. Participants get to network with industry leaders, attend workshops, and meet with top automotive companies exhibiting their products and services; all while learning about upcoming trends and strategic ways to apply them. Speakers include professionals from all over the automotive industry, including our very own President, Duncan Cochrane.

If you are in the used-vehicle industry or the remarketing industry, this event should definitely be on your calendar!

For more information, follow the link below:



Women & Automotive Conference – Toronto

April 6th

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of women in the North American automotive industry has been rising. In the last 5 years, the industry has seen four more women as CEO’s and 10 more women in executive officer positions.

The Women & Automotive conference is a platform for women to discuss current opportunities and challenges that women are facing in the industry. Speakers will discuss ways for auto companies to recruit and retain women, as well as ways to develop more education, leadership, networking, and growth opportunities for them. One speaker is our very own Trish Rowsell who will be discussing ways dealers can utilize their Google Analytics data to get the most out of their marketing dollars in slow economic times.

The event will not only discuss women in dealerships, but also the emerging opportunities in manufacturing, finance, banking, insurance and supplier segments in Canada.

For more information, follow the link below:



DrivingSales Presidents Club – Miami

May 4th – 6th

This event was created for Owners, Dealers, General Managers and other executives that are looking to gain deeper, practical knowledge from their peers rather than opinion leaders from other industries. Industry executives will discuss new practices that they are implementing, as well as common problems that themselves and other dealers are facing and how they are solving them. Since the topics discussed are only related to the automotive industry, attendees can be certain that they will leave with a real plan, derived from real problems, solved by their real peers.

For more information, follow the link below:



DrivingSales Canadian Dealer Forum – Vancouver

June 20th-21st

Similar to the DrivingSales Executive Summit, but with a Canadian twist. This forum brings together industry leaders to collaborate with each other and inspire each other. It also includes insights from professionals outside the automotive industry to provide a thorough and broad perspective on how dealers can achieve measurable results. Some conferences want to be innovative and revolutionary, this conference is designed to be a practical forum for dealers to develop actionable plans.

For more information, follow the link below:



Google Think Auto – Toronto

September 8th

Google is arguably the largest, most successful company in the world. Google brings their influence and knowledge to the automotive industry at their annual Google Think Auto conference. At this conference, Google representatives share their data and forecasts from a strictly automotive perspective. If you are going to listen to anyone about what to expect in your industry, Google would definitely be the one to listen to.

The location and date for Google Think Auto 2016 has yet to be announced, but check back with Google’s largest Canadian automotive partner – Strathcom Media – and we will get you all the details!

For more information, follow the link below:



TADA Auto Dealers Innovation Series

Ottawa – September 13th, Toronto – September 14th

Formerly the Canadian Digital Dealer Conference, the Auto Dealers Innovation Series has evolved to incorporate a broader variety of insights including sales, marketing, leadership and development. This range of perspectives will give you the knowledge to grow your business utilizing more than just one department. Like its American counterpart – NADA Convention & Expo – there are several inspiring keystone speakers including: Erin Elofson from Facebook Canada and former ‘Dragon’ Bruce Croxon!

For more information, follow the link below:




Toronto – September 20th, Montreal – September 28th, Calgary – October 6th

Put together by Free For All Marketing and Kijiji, the DealerTalk conference teaches dealers the latest trends and innovations in online sales and marketing. The first few conferences were held in Toronto and, due to the popularity, in 2015 it was expanded into Calgary. The conference includes keynote speakers and networking opportunities designed to teach dealers new ways to market their business and generate more leads.

If you are looking for ways to improve, upgrade, or revive your marketing strategy, DealerTalk is a must attend. The date and location has not yet been released for DealerTalk 2016, but check back with us here at Strathcom and we will keep you in the loop!

For more information, follow the links below:



DrivingSales Executive Summit – Las Vegas

October 23rd – 25th

The DrivingSales Executive Summit in Las Vegas is an event curated for those Dealers, General Managers and decision-makers who have grown weary of traditional conferences and exhibitions. The goal of this conference is to inspire innovation among the top leaders in the automotive industry by being dealer driven as opposed to vendor driven. With nine keynote speakers with backgrounds in everything from marketing to the Navy SEALs, you know you will leave with a well-rounded set of new strategies and insights.

For more information, follow the link below:



Best Practices for Automotive – Detroit

October 16th – 18th

What better location to host an automotive conference than the place that started it all – Detroit, Michigan? Not only is the location ideal, but the guest list will include professionals in nearly all aspects of the automotive industry: decision-makers, business process owners, analysts, support teams, and super users. If you prefer a more interactive conference, come to the Best Practices for Automotive conference for fresh ideas and strategies that can help improve your business performance.

For more information, follow the link below:


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New Mobile Stats from Google


As one of Google’s exclusive partners, Strathcom is invited to exclusive training sessions, and  we were lucky enough to attend another recently at Google Canada in Toronto. During this session, we learned about how Mobile is changing the digital landscape. Don’t worry; I made sure to take lots of notes so I could report back on some highlights I found quite interesting!

  • There are over 4 billion searches on Google each month in Canada, alone
  • 80% of mobile searches happen where a computer is otherwise available
  • 75% of mobile searches make a conversion within 1 hour
  • 30% of online purchases are made from a mobile device
  • 41% of mobile searches are goal-oriented
  • 77% of mobile searches lead to an action

With more Google searches taking place on mobile devices than on computers, it’s obviously important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly or -responsive—so much so that Google has now designated mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for search engines. Consider the “moments” that customers can be influenced to buy a car, book a service appointment.

If you have any questions regarding responsive- and mobile-friendly websites, or for more fun statistics regarding the automotive industry or search trends, check out the rest of our blog or contact us today!


Our Top 8 Takeways from DSES 2015

From October 18 – 20, we were lucky enough to be a part of the Driving Sales Executive Summit in Las Vegas. The weather was way better than Edmonton’s, the venue was pretty spectacular, and the parties, well we won’t get into that this time around. But, we will get into the top 8 takeaways from the conference!

Continue reading “Our Top 8 Takeways from DSES 2015”

Strathcom at Dreamforce 2015!

What do you get when you take 160,000 people and stuff them into San Francisco for a week? One of the largest software and technology conferences in the world: Dreamforce!Strathcom was proud to attend Dreamforce '15

Continue reading “Strathcom at Dreamforce 2015!”