I just got back from spending 4 days in warm Orlando, FL where I attended the 14th Digital Dealer Conference. Being back to work in rainy mid-Michigan was a bit of a letdown. It would have been nice to take a day off, relax a bit and put together some notes and a timeline. However, the automotive industry is always in GO mode and I had stuff that had to be done yesterday so therefore there is no down day.
After a conference the question that most people ask (and I’ve already been asked this about 6 times today) is, “what was the highlight of the conference?” I have to say that for me the highlight was the keynote speaker Avinash Kaushik. Avinash is listed as the “Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google” and since he is not part of the automotive industry he gave his experience of online car shopping. It is possible to sum up his 1 1/2 hour session in two words – WE SUCK. I wish they had video recorded this session (if someone can tell me that they did please leave a comment below on how I can find it). I want to have all of my managers watch it. If the dealer owner would allow me to spend the money I would like to bring Avinash to the dealership so he can give the presentation in person to all of our managers. It would be worth every penny . . . and perhaps more.
My next week will be filled with action plans, budget approvals and timelines. Like most conferences there was a ton of great information. Now the questions are: What can we do now? What do we need for the future? and How can we make sure we make our online experience easy and enjoyable for our customers?
I knew going into this conference that we do a lot right and we do a lot wrong. I found how that we are doing a lot more right than most auto dealers. However we still have a long way to go to meet the customers expectations.