Amy Boehm, Marketing Manager at Kar Auto Group, wrote this blog after attending Digital Dealer 22 in Tampa last year.
Last week I attended Digital Dealer for the first time, so I thought I would share my takeaways and talk about some of the things that I learned during the week. Since I’m new to the auto industry, I thought this would be a good way to create a starting point for my learning as well as encourage others to either go or send their employees based on my experience.
I Love My Job!
I was pretty sure before going to Tampa that marketing is what I love and that this is what I want to do for the rest of my career. After going, I know that I was meant to do this job and that I have a passion for it. There are so many new things to learn every day in this industry that it never gets boring, and there is always a new challenge around the corner!
It Was Humbling and Overwhelming
I knew going in that I was at the start of my knowledge-building when it came to digital marketing, and boy, was that obvious! Luckily, there were others I met who were in the same boat and “green” like me. There were also experts in their field, and everyone in between. After the first day, I settled into being OK not knowing everything I needed to know and got ready to learn. I asked tons of questions, sought out answers, and offered what little advice I could to others who were in the same position as me.
The Amount of Information Is Endless
Isn’t that the truth! There are so many bright, shiny products (especially in the digital space) out there that claim they can basically run your dealership for you, that it can certainly get confusing and overwhelming. On the flip side, there is even more information out there available to you on the products you already have! This is invaluable and the way I decided to spend my time.
It was cool learning about all the new gadgets or programs, but when it comes down to it, don’t you also want to spend time and effort learning more about something you already have? I asked myself a million times, How can I get more value from my CRM or how can I use Google Analytics (which is free, btw) to better prove ROI on the marketing we are already doing? Then I spent my time meeting with those companies to help me get tips, tricks, and practical application tutorials on how to use their/my products better! I’m sure my employers appreciated that, as I wasn’t just trying to sell them on something new.
Wait … There Needs to Be a Plan?
Just like in life, I feel I am the most successful when I have a plan in place. Why/how did I not translate that to advertising campaigns? I knew I had a plan in place to do certain kinds of advertising (weekly, monthly, or quarterly) and to stick to a budget, etc., but I learned I wasn’t spending enough time thinking about the intent and execution of that marketing I was gearing up to do.
Here’s an example: I try to take a look at my websites very frequently, so I can stay on top of any changes that need to be made or address something that isn’t working properly. I was so consumed with looking for problems that I wasn’t thinking enough about what I was doing to drive customer usage where I wanted it. If I want them to be drawn to a “Contact Us” or lead form button, what was I doing to draw their attention there? Seems simple enough, but a lesson was definitely learned. This applies to everything: website, blog posts, direct mailers, emails, etc. The list is endless.
Not All Seminars Are Created Equal
I quickly learned after the first day that there are a ton of good seminars that motivate you, making you want to stand up and shout from the rooftops how amazing they are, how they gave you that one piece of information that ties all the pieces together, gave you the tools to solve your biggest problem in your dealership, and made you want to sit and work from your room so you don’t give yourself the chance to forget anything.
There are also many seminars that are just OK and you kind of wish you would’ve chosen another topic. You only get to attend 10 seminars while you are there, and it’s hard to pick. The worst is picking one you didn’t get much out of, but get told by everyone you’ve met how amazing the one next door was. I had such a feeling of loss when that happened. I personally found that the more specific the topic, the better the seminar was for me. It gave the speakers a chance to dive into specifics and how-to’s and takeaways so that I walked away feeling like I could change the world (or just my dealership) with the info I learned. Those were very empowering for me.
The ones I learned to stay away from are ones that are very vague in that they covered a huge topic and basically gave reasons why it was a good idea to use or do XYZ. I wanted to scream, HOW can I do that? How can I leave this room and accomplish what you told me was the fix-all to the problems I am facing? Luckily, there were far more good than not.
It’s All About People
They say in sales, that it’s all about the people, but it’s the same thing in marketing. We generate ads that will evoke emotions in people that will cause them to act – hopefully in buying a vehicle!
I learned ways to touch on people’s emotions with different types of media, whether it be Facebook, websites, blogs, etc. Funny enough, it’s that same way when I attended Digital Dealer. I looked for booths that pulled me in either from interesting design or fun-loving sales people. It makes sense … I AM their buyer. The best part about that is that I was able to meet some amazing new people that I am excited to see time after time for years. And better yet, email or call them when I have questions or need advice! These contacts that have become real people are now friends, and I can’t thank them enough for taking me under their wing and teaching me, introducing me, and guiding me to be the best I can be.
Look for Amy’s upcoming article on tips to successfully navigate an auto conference.