NADA 2012 this year was in one of my favorite cities out of the four city rotation - Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas is an exciting city to visit under any circumstances and this excitement and energy definitely carries over into the expo. While talking with an old friend in the lobby - we were both surprized as music suddenly blared over the PA system and to my further surprize a flash mob organized in the middle of several hundred folks in the lobby into a line dance. Only in Las Vegas.
For me, NADA is a very special time of year. While I do travel out several times a year to various events and expo's - NADA is a very special opportunity to meet up with friends both old and new. It is one of the best times and places to review industry trends and to see new products and features in support of auto dealer business.
I was particularly impressed this year with the level of focus on service marketing and consumer outreach solutions. It is quite recent that vehicle service data such as vehicle maintenance schedules has evolved to the point where it can power service solutions cleanly and effectively and as a result many companies are still sourcing this data themselves rather than relying on their automotive data partners for support.
This has not slowed the development of impressive feature sets. I had the opportunity to talk with several companies at the forefront of the industry who offer service CRM and scheduling products and there are some impressive feature sets right now, and even more features planned that I am very excited to see.
I would like to see more synergy between sales marketing services such as consumer equity trade in programs and dealer service programs. Sales and service in my experience tend to be viewed disparately from an actual application standpoint. I believe that there is great opportunity to leverage both - more - to consumer and dealer benefit. I'll be keeping an eye out over this next year for solutions that are able to "stage" the consumer for a service appointment while providing a strong incentive for the consumer to take initiative to schedule time to visit the sales dept during the service appointment. (equity trade-ins, new models, upcoming needs etc)
In the course of my meetings over Friday, Saturday and Sunday - I had the opportunity to review data and content needs with several folks including our clients and partners. In this industry as an automotive data source, it is important for us to take the initiative to develop content in anticipation of needs and to support ongoing innovation. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to sit down with such knowledgable people and industry leaders during events such as NADA and to be able to have discussions about data and content that will have direct and positive impact on dealer business.
By mid-afternoon on Sunday local time - it was time for Superbowl. I wrapped up my visit to NADA this year at Vince Neil's Tres Rios Cantina with some excellent margaritas and fish tacos in great company watching the game. Despite the loss by the Patriots - it was a great game and a nice end to my time in Vegas. I'm already looking forward to the Digital Dealer convention and expo in Orlando in April.