This post was originally written by Logan as a guest blog for Miranda Pyette — that blog can be found on Miranda’s website here. Miranda Pyette is an automotive consultant in Ontario who helps dealers develop plans for spending their marketing dollars more efficiently and effectively.
Marketing and advertising spending remains one of the biggest challenges facing dealerships today. Automotive conferences are a great way to stay ahead of the curve by giving you an opportunity to talk with dealers from different markets, and meet new vendors that might have better, more affordable options for you.
Here are some conference tips so you can get the most out of your investment:
Attending conferences can be heavy on resources for your business so it’s important to choose which one is worth your time, and money. There is no shortage of conferences to choose from, but here are a few recommendations with some personal insights:
If you’re looking to attend a different regional dealer event, there are many automotive associations that put on excellent conferences in beautiful locations featuring plenty of speakers and tons of opportunities to network with industry partners, vendors and industry innovators.
Our favorites are the CADA Summit, TADA’s Innovation Series, NDA’s BC Auto Industry Conference and MDA’s Western Dealer Summit. Make sure you reach out to CADA to find the best regional conference for your dealership.
Conferencing can be overwhelming if you don’t do a little research before hitting the runway. With thousands of attendees and hundreds of vendors it’s easy to lose an hour in a session that doesn’t apply to you, when you could be talking to a vendor that can help you with the problem you’re having.
Some of these conferences post an exhibitor & attendee list, have a Facebook event page, or advertise a group on LinkedIn. As a dealer, take the time to check out some of the exhibitors online to decide if they’re on your radar or not.
Most conferences tag exhibitors with what kind of solution they provide so you can easily filter results while doing your research. Go so far as to send a message to them, asking questions if you’re not sure whether they’re a good solution for you. As a vendor, do the same. Check out the attendee list. If there is someone you want to talk to, send them a message inviting them to your booth (for a chance to win Super Bowl tickets, yuk yuk).
Go into the conference with a plan or an outcome you wish to achieve. Have an idea what you, and your team, want to get out of the conference before getting there. There are usually several workshops and presentations to choose from every hour. If everyone on your team is game, I suggest the divide and conquer method. This way, post conference, there will be a ton of strategies and ideas for you to share during in-house meetings.
Each person can come to the meeting and give a five minute overview with key takeaways of the presentations they attended. If any of the presentation decks were really insightful, most conferences share their presenters’ slides with attendees so they should be easy to access.
My last insight is to be agile, say YES to networking, and don’t forget your business cards. If there is a networking event – GO! It’s well worth your time, and I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how much you learn during cocktail hour.
*Pitch-fest: Conference presenters pushing their product/doing a demo. If you attend an educational conference and this is the case, please inform the conference organizers. No conference wants to get a reputation for being product driven.
If you’re still wondering what conference is right for you, please reach out to me. I’ve only pointed out four above but there are several others to choose from in North America annually. I’m happy to share my experiences and insights about any event that I’ve attended!
Contact me anytime at Logan@Accu-Trade.ca, or on my cell at 506-874-7355. Happy Conferencing!
Connect with me on LinkedIn to build your network and see more insights.