If you work in the auto industry, going to an industry-rated conference at least once a year is a must. Why? Because it’s a good chance for you or your employees to be brought up to speed with the the newest technology trends, latest industry regulations and innovative sales or marketing techniques.
Think of a conference or convention as a continuing education course, really.
Moreover, most of the speakers invited to such events are top experts in various industry-related fields. They readily share their expertise and experience with professionals like you, gathered from around the country.
We’ve selected five major national events, out of which auto industry professionals should pick at least one to try to attend:
#1. Automotive Resource Network (ARN) Annual Conference
When: April 13 – 14, 2014
Where: Grand Hyatt Hotel, NY
Why attend: The theme of this year’s conference is “Educate. Exchange. Evolve.” It means fostering new and creative ways of thinking that will confidently lead the auto industry into a future of innovations and rapid development.
Major topics: The new challenges dealers are facing in order to make a sale in the digital era; the state of the auto leasing sector; certified pre-owned vehicle programs and their impact on dealerships; how the industry is recovering from the recession; technology trends and the essence of recent years’ regulations passed by regulatory federal and state bodies.
Keynote speaker: Robert Hollenshead, founder and president of R Hollenshead Auto Sales, the “largest volume single car dealer in North America.”
Registration rates: $150 – $650
#2. 2014 Automotive Forum
When: April 15, 2014
Where: Grand Hyatt Hotel, NY
Why attend: J.D. Power, a global market research company and the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) are the organizers of the 2014 Automotive Forum. Manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and the media are invited to discuss the industry’s current standing within today’s economic situation, and its future development prospects.
Major topics: Macroeconomic overview; key trends in the global auto sector; the transformation of the automotive marketer; what is affordable luxury and how to promote it; how to handle the competition effectively and be at the top are among the hot topics this year.
Key speakers: Mary Barra, GM CEO, Michael Bartsch, VP of Infiniti Americas, Steve Cannon, president and CEO Mercedes-Benz, Forrest McConnell, NADA chairman, and much more.
Registration rate: $595.
#3. 16th Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition
When: May 6-8, 2014.
Where: Atlantic City, NJ
Why attend: A very important conference that will keep you up-to-date with the latest online marketing, social media, management and sales strategies. As a whole, the event targets every department in your dealership, even how to develop and implement customer loyalty programs.
Major topics: How to use Twitter and Facebook as powerful tools to engage, attract and retain more customers; SEO practices and web development; how to hire and train future leaders; best practices for selling and auctioning used vehicles and more.
Keynote speakers: Seth Godin, a marketing guru; Jennifer Blackmon, corporate director of Culture Transformation at the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center; David Lewis, author of “The Secrets of Inspirational Selling,” and Justin Poy, president and creative director of The Justin Poy Agency.
Registration rate: Dealership personnel (US and Canada): $895 pre-conference fee and $995 on site; Allied industry and international specialists: $1695 pre-conference and $1995 on site.
#4. The Independent Dealer Convention and Expo
When: June 23-26, 2014
Where: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
Why attend: Organized by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA), the convention focuses chiefly on what it means to be an independent dealer. The range of targeted businesses is quite wide – from small “mom & pop” dealerships to large retail stores and multi-location or franchise independents.
Major topics: the innovative ways through which NIADA continues to represent independent dealers; how to comply with federal regulations; customers’ new shopping habits; understand how the digital era can move your business forward; the changing market of used vehicles, and more.
Keynote speaker: Bobby Bowden, America’s most successful college football coach.
Registration rate: $549 until May 22; $599 until June 19; $649 on site.
#5. AICPA Auto Dealership Conference
When: Oct. 27- 28, 2014
Where: Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV
Why attend: This expert-studded conference is meant to provide practical guidance and real solutions to help you steer your business in the right direction. This is the only national event directed towards certified public accountants (CPA) and financial professionals in the auto industry. All dealership professionals are also invited, including owners, general managers, CEOs, controllers and auto manufacturer representatives.
Major topics: Special attention is given to accounting and auditing, tax planning and business management solutions, software compliance issues, internal audit process, merger and acquisitions, and much more.
Keynote speaker: to be announced.
Registration rate: $1220 regular; $920 AICPA member.
Do any of the mentioned conferences sound interesting enough for you to attend, and why? Do you think that more events can be added to this list?
Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!