FlexDealer Sponsors TADA's 2017 Auto Dealers' Innovation Series

By: Devon Babin   |   25 Mar 2017
2017 TADA #ADIS3

What do you get when you put hundreds of automotive general managers, dealer principals, marketing managers, with some of the brightest industry experts, in a room for eight hours? The Trillium Automotive Dealership Association’s (TADA) Auto Dealers' Innovation Series, of course.

The TADA regularly brings together some of the most sought-after minds in the online marketing and advertising world to speak with management and dealership staff across Ontario. The goal is to educate and help car dealerships adopt best practices and adapt to the ever-changing world of digital marketing. In short, the Auto Dealers' Innovation Series (ADIS) is helping bring Canada’s automotive industry to the next level. If you’re looking to sell more trucks, service more cars, and sell more parts — the ADIS is a must-attend event.

Several of FlexDealer's staff have had the fortune of participating in previous TADA events. Which is why we were so proud to announce our official associate membership of the TADA as part of our sponsorship message this past week.

Members of Team Flex were on hand at both the Ottawa and Toronto stops. Jenn Dunstan, Marketing Director, and Devon Babin, Senior Content Strategist, were in attendance in our nation's capital on March 22, 2017. Michael Cirillo, CEO, and Whitney Norrad, Marketing Accounts Manager, joined Jenn in Toronto.

Our CEO, Michael Cirillo, took the opportunity to interview this year’s TADA speakers for use in upcoming segments of his popular podcast, The Dealer Playbook. We highly recommend that you follow his official YouTube channel to be notified of this and other exclusive video releases.

So what exactly was covered on-stage at TADA this spring? Here's our brief rundown. 

Customer Experience (CX)

“Changes are coming for this industry,” Sean Moffitt of Wikibrands announced to the crowds in Ottawa and Toronto. That wasn’t a warning, but a positive prediction for the future. Generally speaking, the automotive industry at the dealer-level is lagging behind many other industries when it comes to customer experience.

Sean Moffitt

According to Moffitt, from the adoption of new technology, to truly listening to and engaging with customers, dealers have a big opportunity to gain and retain clients. Moffitt gave examples of companies that took cues from their customers' needs and wants to evolve their business practices. One example used was lululemon;, the yoga and lifestyle company knows its customers well, speaks to them directly, and has adopted a powerful online global presence that can’t be ignored.

He emphasizes the importance of looking outside our industry for ideas on how to move forward. Dealers can take a page from lululemon by utilizing the data and information available, to better identify and understand their customers; dealers should also embrace technology rather than fight it.

A GM’s Guide to VDP Analytics

Ian Cruickshank of Speed Shift Media gave an engaging presentation that shed light on the daunting topic of website analytics.

Ian Cruickshank

While analytics are nothing new, they are becoming more important for businesses of all types, and their staff on all levels. By understanding even the basics of Google Analytics, dealership staff can learn invaluable information about customer shopping habits; the ROI of digital advertising spend; the most popular vehicles being shopped on their websites and so much more. In a nutshell, dealers are doing their businesses a disservice by ignoring analytics and therefore giving their competition an advantage.

Depending on the dealership size, Ian suggests having a person on staff tasked with understanding and reporting analytic information to the management team. Still, the management team needs to know the basics so they can comprehend the reporting and make educated decisions using the information they’re being given.

Simply put, if your dealership embraces Google Analytics, it will be an invaluable tool for your business.

Pro tip: If you're interested in training your team on this incredible (and free!) software, head over to Google's Analytics Academy to get them started. 

Nevermind the Millennials

The word ‘millennial’ is tossed around entirely too much in advertising and marketing circles. It’s like a drug we simply can’t stop using. Brent Wees, Director of First Impressions at NextUp, took to the stage to deliver an important message to dealers: stop distracting yourself with millennials—they’re no more important than anyone else.

Brent Wees

In his presentation, Wees went back through decades of media messaging to show the crowds that “youth” have always been focused on in a negative light, hippies of the ‘60s being a prime example.

Millennials may appear to be more connected and take advantage of technology, but Wees proves that in recent years, Gen Xers and Boomers are statistically on par. That fickle range of people born between 1982 - 2004 are merely coming of age, much like the generations that preceded them. There's simply more technology present, for businesses to contend with.

Someone who is 20 has very little in common with one who is 33—yet both are considered a millennial. To blindly focus on this vast group of consumers, Wees points out, doesn’t make a lot of sense—especially when 60% of new vehicle sales are from people over 50.

Rather than focusing on an entire generation of young people, focus on your customers and how they as a whole, prefer to be treated. With integrity, honesty, respect—those are the things any age group will appreciate.

Fixed Ops with a Mobile Focus

Jeff Clark of DealerOn was a force to be reckoned with, passionately sharing with the dealer audience the countless ways they could be making a lot more money.

Jeff Clark

It was an unnerving statistic to note: on average, dealerships earn ~53% of their total revenue from the service and parts departments (fixed ops). That’s no secret, yet dealerships continue to neglect their fixed ops departments, instead funnelling thousands of dollars towards moving more metal. Clark pointed out several red flags, like expired service specials, or specials that have nothing to do with the current season (Winter tires? Spring is here).

What's even more shocking? That despite that share of profit—a dealership website only has three pages devoted to their fixed ops content. In his 45 minute presentation, Clark packed in countless other tips, tricks and warnings to ensure each dealership site was supporting all revenue streams. 

FlexDealer as Proud Associate Members

TADA's Spring 2017 Auto Dealer's Innovation Series was a smashing success with dealers from across the province taking away valuable information on how to innovate and serve their customers better. 

As part of our inaugural sponsorship event, we wanted to share some beliefs of our own. One being that content marketing, though slow and difficult—is worth every effort in attracting new customers organically in the years to come. In fact, you might compare it to the long-term benefits of healthy diet and exercise. Our Simpsons trivia-fueled brains want to shout from the rooftops: 

"You CAN win friends with salad!" 

Which is kinda what we did in our last blog. (Read it here.) So to continue this deliciously delightful parallel—we invited dealers to visit our Salad Bar setup in Toronto, to grab a couple of snacks, meet the team, and fill up on free resources to help them do their own marketing better.

TADA #ADIS 2017 FlexDealer

In order for a dealership to be successful, it needs to commit to healthy, long-term habits, using an assortment of quality ingredients. While this event's speakers touched on many of said ingredients, we know there are a million ways to make a good salad. FlexDealer's digital marketing experts can craft the right recipe for your dealership, no matter your CMS or budget. Contact us today for a free sample.