Auto Summit Series to Feature Facebook, Gartner, GM, Hyundai, Kuni Automotive, Navistar, Nissan, Sonic Automotive, VW, Zender Ford, and More on June 24 & 25, 2014

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BOULDER, CO — April 14, 2014 — Thought Leadership Summits, Inc. (TLS), today announced the lineup of executives speaking at the Automotive Summit Series, which includes two events: the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit on June 24, 2014, and the Automotive Social Media Summit on June 25, 2014. Both events will take place at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, CA.

Each Summit offers a full-day agenda and provides an exclusive environment for senior executives from OEMs, Dealers, and Finance providers. Unlike typical trade shows, the Summits feature exclusive sponsors and strictly limited vendor involvement. They provide a unique setting for learning and networking with fellow thought leaders — creating opportunities for individuals and companies to move the automotive industry forward. More information on the Summit Series is available at or by calling 720-287-0145.

Automotive Customer Centricity Summit — June 24, 2014

Now in its 10th year, the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit is the only summit dedicated to helping the automotive industry improve customer relationships. The theme is “Connectivity’s Impact on Customer Relationships”.

Constant consumer connectivity is accelerating rapidly as people are using more devices, more often. Consumers are also starting to view their vehicles as an extension of their digitally connected lives. Not only is there an expectation that personal devices will function seamlessly inside the vehicle, people expect the vehicle itself to function as a connected device. This constant individual and vehicle connectivity offers a dramatic opportunity for brands to create personalized shopping and ownership experiences. In fact, vehicle connectivity offers something completely new in the history of the auto industry – the chance to interact with a customer every time they’re in the vehicle. In 2014, the Summit will focus on how individual and vehicle connectivity will impact the customer experience, and how brands, dealers, and finance providers are collaborating to capture and leverage the information available through such unprecedented connectivity.

Topic highlights include:

  • Automotive Management Services Inc’s view on how emotions impact customer retention
  • Gartner’s insights on how technology leadership will determine the industry’s future
  • Hyundai’s ability to leverage their partnership with “The Walking Dead”
  • Navistar’s approach to drive customer value through predictive and behavioral analytics
  • Paragon Honda’s experience effectively utilizing mobile marketing
  • Sonic Automotive’s evolution to match changing buyer behavior
  • VW’s insights on the transition from traditional to digital marketing

Keynote Presentation: Hyundai Motor America

Connecting with consumers used to be a lot easier – this isn’t news to anyone. While we each share this common challenge, what differs is our approach to creating meaningful relationships with our targets. In the simplest form there are two available approaches: you interrupt what your target likes or you become part of the content they love. Steve Shannon, VP of Marketing will share how Hyundai turned a small partnership with “The Walking Dead” franchise into an experience that far surpassed the expected outcome typical of a sponsorship or product integration. The resulting program was an intricate web of content that was devoured by the show’s rabid fans. This approach allowed Hyundai to create a truly authentic relationship with a new and younger car buyer.

Featured Presentation: Gartner

The technology-enabled vehicle is the foundation for consumers to complete all aspects of their digital lifestyle, including work, home, and when being mobile. This has fundamental implications for the automotive industry as connected drivers expect more than just getting from points A to B with a pleasing entertainment experience. Instead, they want their vehicle and automotive experience to enhance all aspects of their driving, ownership, and mobile Internet activities. Thilo Koslowski, VP & Lead Auto Analyst will discuss the consequences as automotive companies fundamentally expand their value proposition by moving from a product centric focus to a customer experience centric strategy.

Featured Presentation: Sonic Automotive

No industry can expect to operate unchanged decade after decade – change will come. Used car sales are essentially just as they were 30 years ago. Someone needs to reinvent the model the way Starbucks reinvented the coffee shop and Apple reinvented the music business. Why – because while people love their cars, they definitely don’t love the process of buying a used car. Marti Eulberg, Director of Brand Management will explain how Sonic is redefining the used car model and transforming customer expectations for used car dealers. She’ll reveal the strategy that Sonic has been preparing over the past several years, along with the tactics that have been implemented in pursuit of this dramatic goal.

The agenda for the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit includes:

  • AMSI Tracy Riazzi Director Operations – Customer Service
  • Gartner Thilo Koslowski Vice President & Lead Auto Analyst
  • Hyundai Steve Shannon Vice President – Marketing
  • Navistar Mike Cerilli Vice President – Marketing
  • Paragon Honda Brian Benstock Vice President & General Manager
  • Sonic Automotive Marti Eulberg Director – Brand Management
  • Volkswagen Charles Kim GM of Dealer Network Development

Automotive Social Media Summit — June 25, 2014

The 5th annual Automotive Social Media Summit is the industry’s only summit focused exclusively on social media. The summit continues the learning and peer networking opportunities for those who attend the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit. The theme is “The Increasing Sophistication of Social Media”.

The explosion in information and the number of channels available to consumers as they flow through the automotive customer lifecycle has created new challenges and opportunities for the automotive industry – the emergence of social media being one of the most significant. While social media and easy access to increasing amounts of data has helped consumers, “Big Data” is also available for OEMs and dealers to create actionable information that enables more sophisticated social media interactions. In 2014, the Summit will focus on utilizing social media data to better understand consumers and develop more sophisticated methods of social media interactions. The Summit will provide real-world examples of how OEMs and dealers are increasing the sophistication of their social media interactions with consumers across sales, marketing and customer service – improving acquisition & retention, reducing costs, and developing a sustainable competitive advantage.

Topic highlights include:

  • Ancira Enterprises & Kuni Automotive’s ability to leverage data across social media
  • Bozard Ford’s success in taking control of their reputation
  • Facebook’s insight on effective ad targeting for OEMs & Dealers
  • GM’s integration of social media into customer care
  • Nissan’s view from the cutting edge – successes & lessons learned in social media
  • Oracle’s Social Relationship Management strategies and trends in automotive
  • Zender Ford’s strategic & tactical challenges of social media in retail

Keynote Presentation: Oracle Social Cloud

Everyone agrees that the importance of social media will continue to increase however that’s where the consensus ends, and a wide variety of strategies emerge. As OEMs and Dealers work to create successful social strategies where should they look for insight? Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) team has had the opportunity to support companies in Automotive and other industries as they develop and execute their SRM strategies. Meg Bear, Group Vice President will discuss key SRM trends, share insights gained and lessons learned while working with companies on SRM, and will provide specific examples of leading companies developing the ability to reach, listen, learn, and engage with customers at every touchpoint – regardless of channel or device.

Featured Presentation: General Motors

Melody Blumenschein, Social Media Manager, Customer & Relationship Services will summarize the evolution of the General Motors Social Media Customer Care program and its success improving the customer experience. She’ll outline key aspects of the program such as its size and scope, and she’ll detail specific online listening and engagement initiatives. Melody will explain how GM has successfully leveraged their traditional contact center infrastructure, while defining new social media processes and focusing on the consistent execution that is crucial for long term success. She’ll also provide the key “Social Care KPIs” that GM tracks to measure their progress. Melody will conclude with GM’s focus on the ‘Voice of the Customer’ and how it has created collaboration with internal stakeholders, ultimately driving an enhanced customer experience.

Featured Presentation: Zender Ford

Chad Zender, President will tell their story of Social Media, covering the trials of launching social and integrating it into their daily operations. Chad will discuss how they developed their social media strategy, review their tactical execution focusing on the quick growth of their social media exposure, and explain how their social media leadership has created a marketplace that they can cultivate. He’ll detail specifically how social has become an integrated medium to interact with customers and prospects in their market. Chad will finish by providing specific examples of their success such as the case study Twitter developed on Zender Ford.

The agenda for the Automotive Social Media Summit includes:

  • Ancira Enterprises April Ancira Vice President
  • Bozard Ford Lincoln Jeff King GM & VP
  • Facebook Kass Dawson Head Automotive Marketing
  • General Motors Melody Blumenschein Social Media Manager – Customer Services
  • Kuni Automotive Heather Stenberg Director – Digital Commerce
  • Land Rover Denver Anthony Brownlee VP & GM
  • Motor Trend Audio Charlie Vogelheim Host & Producer
  • Oracle Social Cloud Meg Bear Group Vice President
  • Zender Ford Chad Zender President


About Thought Leadership Summits

Thought Leadership Summits, Inc. (TLS) develops and executes exclusive, executive Summits, which enable the exchange of ideas, strategies, and tactics among the world’s best companies — helping our constituents maximize the return on their strategic investments. Learn more at

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Thought Leadership Summits


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