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For the first time ever, TRADER will host Carology for automotive industry professionals in Calgary, AB. The event will take place on June 27, 2017 at Telus Spark – and is open to all auto dealers, OEMs and agencies.

TRADER Carology – the must-attend industry event of the year – is heading to Calgary, Alberta on June 27, 2017. The annual event is tailored for automotive industry professionals, who will take away relevant and actionable insights that can be easily woven into their business operations. The last installment of Carology was hosted at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario earlier this year, bringing together auto dealers, OEMs and agencies to hear firsthand experiences of what it takes to win in an increasingly competitive digital automotive landscape.

Carology Calgary will be jam-packed with relevant industry insights that aim to reveal marketing mythologies versus realities, the new digital consumer, and why the full potential of digital marketing has not yet been realized in the automotive industry. The event will focus on the shifting digital landscape and the implications on the local market.

Speaker Spotlight: Q&A with Dave Winslow

Dave Winslow is Chief Strategy Officer at Universe Group. He has created scalable marketing strategies for leading enterprises, and guided the executive team at to market domination in the local auto marketing space.

We connected with Dave to get his thoughts on the current state of digital marketing and what the reality is in the automotive industry. Let’s start with the theme of Carology – Digital Promises vs Marketing Realities…

The way consumers shop for various aspects of their life has certainly evolved, and the online channel has undoubtedly disrupted the traditional retail shopping experience. From ride sharing services to accommodation booking sites, many brands and industries have been able to capitalize on the paradigm shift to digital. What’s the reality in the automotive industry? 

The reality is that we are living in a time where we will see a paradigm shift much greater than how we research or purchase a vehicle, but fundamentally how we both think of transportation and engage with brands.  Tesla, Uber, Waymo and other technology rooted brands are disrupting the automotive space because they are approaching the market from a radically different approach. They are working to advance how society is transported and what the transportation experiences will entail.  Tesla already solved for the car buying experience – they by far have the most advanced and customer friendly method through a sophisticated yet simple e-commerce process. The dealer experience when picking up the car is also customer focused as they spend 1/4 of the time on the financial paperwork and 3/4 of the time on learning about the actual car which reinforces Tesla’s brand promise.

Further advanced is the ride-sharing (Lyft, Uber, etc.) segment and self-driving segment (Waymo, Tesla, etc.).  What we are seeing is a change in the economics of automotive ownership. Fractional ownership, carless professional commuting on ride shares, and wifi enabled self-driving experiences will change how consumers think about buying a car from a financial and time perspective. As they say, time is money, and if someone can save time when it comes to transportation, they will put tremendous value on this savings. So if an individual or family could use public transportation and ride-sharing in a metropolitan area, there is the chance they would never purchase a vehicle and this is a growing possibility in the market.

Are there certain steps that dealers and OEMs can take to realize the full potential of digital marketing?

Yes, Manufacturers and Dealers need to integrate their customer experience strategies into one cohesive model that puts the consumer first.  To date, manufacturers have focused on brand marketing and incentive promotions, while dealers have focused on local advertising and inventory management. These four tracks need to form into one single consumer strategy that simplifies the messaging, personalizes the incentives and targets the right buyers — through an integrated approach. To truly realize digital marketing potential, the automotive industry needs to focus less on fixing the problems of the past and focus on the opportunities of the future, that are advancing at a rapid pace.

Everyone in the industry needs to deeply understand how Tesla’s shopping model and Uber’s technology model are establishing the benchmark for transportation moving forward and they need to innovate beyond what these two companies are doing today, so they can compete with them tomorrow.

We’re thrilled that you will be joining us at Carology in Calgary to share insights about “Local Marketing Tactics and Platforms That Work” and what it takes to win in an increasingly competitive digital automotive landscape. What key pieces of advice or information will attendees takeaway from your session?

Build your brand. It is imperative in the era of Amazon to build a strong local brand, beyond keywords and banner ads.  Dealers established their presence in their market by being the local trusted resource, and over the past two decades the Internet has forced dealers to compete on marketing tactics and vendor management which do not benefit the consumer. Technology in local marketing has been commoditized, so moving forward dealers need partners that truly promote their brand value, integrate all their data streams and drive innovation within the dealership that strengthens their customer value proposition.  There are many platforms dealers need to align with, and I’ll speak to the ones that matter the most today, and where they can refocus their time and energy to focus back on the customer first.

What is the biggest change you anticipate happening in the automotive industry in the next 1-2 years?

Car shopping will be streamlined to benefit the consumer – and providing simple websites that focus on the customer, not just the cars will become essential.  For instance, when a consumer gets to a dealers website, is there a video welcoming them from the General Manager? Is there a car buying process and content that highlights what the dealer does for the consumer? The digital marketing industry in automotive has been lacking innovation and competitors are just focused on getting more ad dollars from dealers. Moving forward there will be emphasis on integrating the different touchpoints along the consumer journey to deliver personalized experiences to consumers, and shifting from direct response advertising to brand building at a local level. Dealers have a lot to offer consumers beyond just “Buying a car”, and they need to build towards that sooner than later.

Entrance to Carology is complimentary for auto dealer, OEMs and agencies.

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