Digital Marketing Strategies Conference 2020 Recap

July 16, 2020

Brian Pasch and team put on an amazing event. Top takeaways are below:

1.) In person is best

Yep, even now for us and for our customers meeting face to face is best. Yes, even today with a mask and all the other safety measures needed being in person in dealership is the experience that is remarkably still dominant. If your team can’t make the magic work in your dealership setting you aren’t going to be able to translate that goodness online. Winning in retail automotive is winning in retail and retail is all about hospitality. In our most recent survey of over 3000 people we found a full 86% of car buyers were heading to the dealership. How do you make your dealership experience safe, efficient, welcoming and kind? Focus on getting that right in person and then make it virtual.

2.) Video is the next best thing

We all really viscerally know this now from family “gatherings” to business meetings and shopping online, video helps you see what email, text or calling just can’t. It’s not surprising that #DMSC2020 had a consistent drumbeat on making the most of video. Both in the format of the meeting with super clever speed dating video chats, to carefully constructed video segments and the content of the meeting showing interactive video far outperformed other means of communication with customers and other means of showing the vehicle details. Video is and always has been an evocative medium. Getting a new car is and always should be fun and exciting. Adding video helps the shopper tap into that fun and enhances their desire to get into that vehicle. Having salespeople doing the video lower the barrier to entry for welcoming them in store. Anything that we can collectively do to build the relationship can only help to build the trust and sell the car.

3.) Staffing levels aren’t coming back

The cuts that were made to weather the crisis won’t be fully reversed. Many dealerships have found that they can do more with less. Michelle Denogean at Roadster, shared the slide below from their study with NADA, which showed that on average in April as dealerships fought through the worst of this that they added 6 units per salesperson.

This result varied a lot by staffing level.  Stores who were close to fully staffed saw a per person decline, while stores that cut deeply saw an additional 20+ sales per month. As we leverage technology to enable efficiencies throughout the buying process, we won’t be able to put the genie back in the bottle.

4.) You have to share

One of my favorite quotes from the conference was this one from Rick Buffkin, Internet Marketing Director, Beaman Automotive Group “Don’t be scared to give the customer information. Give up the fear of sharing information. They are still setting appointments and buying cars [with the information]. If there is one thing to keep from this crisis, don’t be afraid to give the customer information, that’s it.” The customer simply won’t tolerate anything else, because most of their choices now share.

5.) Treat them like Family

Automotive is often a family business and that was reflected strongly in this event. There are some downsides to that tradition in automotive, but here I am just going to highlight the positives. There was such a clear love and dedication and talent across the team in service to the industry. Brian Pasch enthusiastically cajoled and commanded an attention to detail on the prerecorded video assets to ensure that the content well represented the topics of importance to the industry today. Carrie Pasch was a phenomenal shepherd on this online event journey, trying to recreate the warmth and sense of community that would have been natural in person (such a great analogy for all the things the industry has to do as we project ourselves through online means to meet our customers). Glenn Pasch continued to reinforce the people side matters more, the software isn’t enough the training, the hands on attention to detail, the human connection is what matters in vendors servicing their dealerships and most importantly dealerships serving their customers and communities. We at the deepest level are social creatures and now more than ever that connection is key in automotive, business in general, and life.  Thanks for a treating us like family. It was a terrific show.

See #DMSC2020 special offers on MAX BDC and FirstLook.