Think Dealer 2017 Events

Think Dealer 2017 Events

If you haven’t already heard, Google changed up their Think Auto event this year. Instead of bringing everyone across the country to the centre of the universe…Toronto… they decided to bring their wealth of knowledge across the country and host Think Dealer specific events in 5 cities between October 12th and November 9th. Lucky for us, we were still able to check out Think Auto and you can read up on our quick summary of the event here!

The goal of Think Dealer is to bring the latest industry stats and innovations to a location near you. The team from Google will be presenting their latest findings on what you can do at the dealership level to reach, engage and drive car buyers to your dealership!

Our team will be jet setting off to 4 of the 5 Think Dealer events (sorry Montreal) and we’d love to see you there. Here are the dates and locations:

  • Montreal – October 12th
  • Toronto – October 17th
  • Halifax – October 19th
  • Vancouver – November 7th
  • Calgary – November 9th

If you’re interested in attending one of these events, we would be happy to sign you up! Please reach out to info@strathcom.com and we’ll take care of the rest. If you’re looking for some more information, head to https://events.withgoogle.com/think-dealer-2017/. Or if you would like to attend Think Dealer in either Toronto or Vancouver but don’t want to splurge on a plane ticket and hotel room, enter our contest and we will not only foot the bill, but also hook you up with Strathcom, Facebook, and Google swag!

We look forward to seeing you at Think Dealer!

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!

Women & Automotive Conference 2016

26216112171_84a074277f_bWednesday, April 6 was the first annual Women & Automotive conference at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, presented by Cox Automotive Canada. Speakers at this event included Erin Elofson from Facebook Canada, France Daviault from AIA Canada, and our very own Trish Rowsell. The goal of this conference was to bring together both male and female automotive professionals to discuss the challenges faced by women in the industry, and this goal was definitely achieved. There were over 200 attendees from all facets of the automotive industry including OEMs, fixed operations, finance, sales and more. There were also informative panels with an impressive line-up of speakers including representatives from Facebook, Canadian Black Book, and General Motors.

25677529574_6a1d86dc09_bOne inspiring keynote speech titled ‘Creating a Pipeline of Female Managers’ was delivered by Maria Soklis, President of Cox Automotive Canada. She discussed how reputable studies have determined that companies with the largest performance gains are those that have a pipeline of female managers as opposed to a token female executive stuck somewhere on the corporate ladder.

photo_2016-04-08_15-52-02

Trish spoke about how dealers can remain profitable in lean economic times and gave them straightforward, relevant strategies that they could take back to the dealership with them. Using examples from her industry experience, she gave dealers realistic and effective ways to decrease marketing costs and still reach, or even exceed their sales goals.

Even though the automotive industry has come a long way, there is still a lot of room for improvement. At Strathcom, we definitely know the value of having an equal workplace. Over half of our management team are women, and 75% of our sales team are women. We hope to see the number of women in the automotive industry continue to increase this year as it has been for the past 10 years, and we look forward to seeing even more attendees at the Women & Automotive Conference next year – April 5, 2017!  26216110231_0c84dd2f3f_b

Western Canadian Dealer Summit Recap- Banff Sept 13–15 2015

western canadian dealer summit

Another great year in the books for the Western Canadian Dealer Summit that brings three provinces together to educate and entertain car dealers.  So what did we learn? Here is the highlight reel:

  • Claire Thomson from Google Canada gave us an overview of the newly released Think Auto Data. Overall auto shoppers are taking 9 days less to move from the thinking to buying stage and they are still not happy with the timeliness and quality of responses from dealers.  Claire reminded us that people are busy and that as a dealer you need to get it right online with the first interaction.  Mobile experience is still important and dealers need to focus efforts on mobile bid modifiers and location and call extensions.
  • Dealer Principal Tom White Jr. gave a top notch presentation on people, process and culture. At his dealership in Wichita they have flipped the org chart upside down and believe in what Tom has dubbed “servant leadership.”  Tom spends 80% of his time getting to know his people at their activity-based dealership.  (A Subaru dealership that happens to be 4th in the country while being located in a market with less than 500,000 people.)
  • Charlie Vogelheim from Motor Trend Audio gave by far the most animated and perhaps most honest presentation on the internet, 3rd parties and vendors. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are coming and all the big manufacturers have offices in Silicon Valley now.  Disruptive technology is on its way to the auto industry, get ready!
  • Jeff Cryder formerly of Lebanon Ford talked about online reputation management. The best question that he posed in my mind was Are your reviews a reflection of your excellent review process or of your quality service? Do not expect reviews for average service, nobody raves about average!
  • Ed Woiteshek from CarProof Canada talked about the think tank initiative that they have launched called Transparency Advantage. Car shopping has a long way to come and it is time to innovate or get disrupted.  The think tank is working on several initiatives with a lot of promise, go to TransparencyAdvantage.org to learn more.
  • Search Optics did an interesting survey of dealers and how they feel their digital strategies perform versus what they are spending. The insights presented were very enlightening for the dealers and provided some benchmarks for dealers to better understand how their own spend compares.
  • Yours truly was on a panel about data ownership and why it matters to dealers. Don Hansen, Emily Baum and Allan Chell presented very important arguments from different perspectives to create awareness about this topic for dealers.
  • Wrapping up the conference was Alan Bird from SCI Marketview who shared his “Driving Sales 2015 Most Valuable Insight” winning presentation. Alan and his team were able to prove with data that not only is the speed of a response important but that the quality of the response is extremely important at increasing closing rates.  (Auto-responders and weak response won’t cut it.) You need to focus on subject lines and greetings, answering and posing questions, giving prices and availability and your dealership value proposition.

It was a great conference and Jay Radke definitely deserves a shout out for hosting it again.  Looking forward to next year in Vegas!

2 Upcoming Automotive Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss: AR Canada & Dealer Talk 2015

conferenceThere’s a growing tradition in Toronto: Once April rolls along, the hockey season ends abruptly and the automotive conferences begins in full force. (It’s okay Leafs fans, you could live in Edmonton like us, where the first signs of snow mean the Oilers are already thinking about the June draft.)

Coming up in just a few months are two such conferences in Ontario’s capital that Strathcom Media cannot endorse enough. They are chances to listen to some of the industry’s top thought leaders, network with your peers, and get all of your questions answered to prepare you for the year ahead. Continue reading “2 Upcoming Automotive Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss: AR Canada & Dealer Talk 2015”