NADA 2015 Workshop Rewind

The NADA Convention always presents many wonderful opportunities for networking and learning, and the NADA workshops are a must. At NADA 2015, there were six major workshop tracks, plus several Super Sessions and, new this year, two Technology Town Halls. Several people from my team split up to cover as many workshops as possible, focusing primarily on the Digital Marketing and Executive workshop tracks. Apologies to any of the excellent presenters and workshops we missed.

On the Digital Marketing track, it was interesting to note that at least two of the workshops spent significant time talking “traditional” media. The first, Audit Your Advertising, presented by Erik Radle, was less of an audit procedure and more of a “media basics” workshop that explained some common pitfalls and how-to’s to make sure both traditional advertising and digital advertising achieve at least a minimum level of performance for a dealership’s ad program.

Being a media guy, I really enjoyed this presentation, although one of the dealers accompanying me commented, “This one was probably good for you marketing types but had a bit too much media-speak.” I felt the ideas presented were strong, but I wish the actual creative examples shown along with them were more up to par with the rest of the presentation.



The second Digital Marketing workshop, The Death of Traditional Media Has Been Exaggerated, covered the integration of digital and traditional media from a different angle. But as one speaker pointed out, the Internet has been with us now for more than 20 years, so calling digital media “new” really is a misnomer these days.

My team attended two social media workshops. The first, Social Advertising: I’ll Click on That!, presented by Digital Air Strike, did a nice job of explaining the new opportunities to use paid social media advertising platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and, of course, Facebook, which now offers a variety of advanced targeting options to allow dealers to reach in-market sales, service, and accessories customers.

A second social media workshop, Let Your Social Media Sell Your Service, presented by Stream Companies, discussed how to build a relevant online community of new and used car customers, and was an informative presentation for the social managers at dealerships.

Mobile is a hot topic, of course, and I was surprised not to see more on the subject. Mobile in 2015: Why Your Website Must be Responsive, presented by DealerOn, and Two Google Advertising Tactics You Aren’t Using, from Netsertive, shared strategies on how to capture the estimated 40% of traffic now coming from mobile devices.

Comparing this year’s NADA workshops to the many digital seminars and workshops I have attended, I found the subject matter presented—and the quality of the presenters—to be good to excellent based on overall presentation, relevancy, and the usefulness of the takeaways. My one complaint would be the scheduling; I found several instances of wanting to be in two places at once, while at other times I struggled to find something I wanted to attend. Of course, having more available hours devoted to the workshops would be a good thing.

For those who attended NADA 2015 but missed the workshops or want further information on them, NADA offers an app, available for Apple and Android devices, that provides most of the presentation handouts and many of the speakers’ decks. It is available by searching “NADA2015” in the App Store or Google Play. At the time of publication, the app is still available, but you may need your badge number to access some of the materials.

Ed Steenman (esteenman@dealermark.com) owns Steenman Associates, an integrated automotive marketing and digital services firm specializing in the needs of auto dealers and retailers. Ed has worked nationally and internationally with Volkswagen, is a contributing writer for Dealer Marketing Magazine, and an adjunct professor at Seattle University.

Ed Steenman

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