Using Events to Drive Traffic Online and Offline

By Mike Forgie

Vintage automobiles have a unique aesthetic appeal and strong following. Go ahead and Google “vintage car shows” in your area. You will surely get results that cater completely to these blasts from the past. Now how does this help dealerships drive traffic to their websites?

Vintage cars are either rebuilt or their owners have kept them in pristine condition. If they are rebuilt, we get to see interesting body colors and graphics that direct a great deal of attention. If they are originals, well then we have a rare gem that car enthusiasts would love to check out.

These niche markets are actively looking for vintage vehicles, so give them what they want!

Vintage Cars in Action

PCG Digital Marketing is located in Eatontown, NJ, right by the beach. On October 20th, The Race Of Gentlemen took to Allenhurst’s sandy shore for a full day of vintage cars from pre-World War II. These cars were showcased on the street along Allenhurt’s boardwalk, and drag raced for a 1/8th mile stretch on the beach.

Car and motorcycle enthusiasts came from up and down the east coast to see the vehicles, and some were even sold during the show. This was simply a well-put together event that was promoted in local papers, blogs, and other news sources.

Drive Traffic To Your Site and Your Lot with Vintage Cars

While we don’t recommend holding drag races at your dealership, this local event was proof that old cars draw a certain crowd. Here’s a simple way to make it work for your dealership.

Start by finding an event. Like I said early, just Google “vintage car shows,” “classic car shows,” or “classic car races” in your area to find plenty of events to attend.

Take it one step further by hosting your own event. Classic cars can bring customers to your lot. Showcase a few over the weekend to contrast the 1960 Challenger to the new 2013 model. Nostalgia may set in for a bit, and the 2013 model’s muscle car body and power with an advanced media center could be your next sell.

For either event, take photos and make friends. Hand out business cards so those you take pictures of can go online and check out the blog post you are going to write on the event. This may also be a good time to expand your email list.

Writing a blog post featuring the specs and pictures of a 1940 Ford pickup compared to a new 2013 Ford F-150 is both informative and intriguing. The shapes have changed drastically over the years, and the technology is so far advanced now that it is hard to imagine not having Trailer Sway Control or Electronic Locking Rear Differential. Also, the people in your photos will want to look for themselves. It may seem vain, but hey, if you have a good photo they might just use it as a profile picture.

Post these on your blog, then promote on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. This can take your traffic from online to the lot and vice versa. Do a search on each network to find the target market.

Attendees, enthusiasts, and the car owners themselves are looking for photos of the event. Wouldn’t it be nice to be that outlet?

The Race of the Gentlemen

vintage car wheel

vintage car show

vintage car show photos

Vintage Car Jersey Shore

Digital Dealer Workshops Overlap with Boot Camp

PCG Digital Marketing is hosting the second Annual Automotive Marketing Boot Camp in Orlando.  Last year, we pioneered the Boot Camp experience in Orlando. Based on dealer responses, we have decided to host the Automotive Boot Camp again in Orlando.

This year we have expanded the agenda, courses, and scope of the Boot Camp to meet the demand communicated from dealers in the United States and Canada.  The Boot camp will also offer attendees 2.5 hour labs and workshops so more detailed educational training can be offered for complex topics like CRM, BDC Management, Social Media, and Website Analytics.  The Boot Camp also has 90 minute workshops schedule on topics where that time is perfect for knowledge transfer.

The Boot Camp will also introduce Technology Showcases for the first time which will feature latest technology from great companies like TK Carsites,, Dealer eProcess, and CAR-MERICAL.

The PCG Automotive Marketing Boot Camp is not associated with the 10th Digital Dealer Conference or the Digital Dealer Workshops.

We are very excited about the conference which has attracted an outstanding list of industry experts and leading dealership employees who want to share their best practices.  We also just completed a very successful automotive conference in Napa Valley for auto dealers, and details can be found at

Confirmed Speakers

We have a few special announcement to make in the coming weeks but we have a number of fantastic, passionate industry experts that will be part of the Automotive Marketing Boot Camp:

  • Rob Fontano – eCommerce Director at Marazzi Motors
  • Tracy Myers – Frank Myers AutoMaxx
  • JD Rucker, New Media Director at TK Carsites
  • Andrew DiFeo – General Manager Hyundai of St. Augustine
  • Timothy Martell – Internet Director Albrecht Auto Group
  • Eric Miltsch – eCommerce and Social Media Director Auction USA
  • Jerry Thibeau – CEO of Phoneup Ninjas
  • Alex Snyder – Product Development at
  • Brian Pasch, CEO of PCG Digital Marketing
  • Jeff Kershner- Director of Marketing Younger Motor Cars
  • Scott Falcone – Dealer Principal Word Hyundai Matteson
  • Glenn Pasch, COO of PCG Digital Marketing
  • Jared Hamilton, CEO and Founder of
  • Gary May, CEO of IM@CS
  • Christy Roman, CEO of Now Marketplace
  • Matt Murray, Director of Digital Marketing at
  • Sean Wolfington, Partner Tier 10 Marketing

Register For Orlando Boot Camp

To register for the Automotive Marketing Boot Camp, visit:


Abundance vs. Scarcity in Automotive Education

Automotive EducationIn my short time being active in the automotive marketing community, my passion has always been focused on dealer education.  I have been blessed traveling around the country meeting dealers at conferences and 20 Groups.  From my travels it is clear that dealers and managers are hungry for education and winning strategies.

However, that hunger is not always reflected in dealer budgets and commitments to education for all dealership employees.  A recent PCG Digital Marketing survey indicated that over 35% of car dealers had no line item for employee education in their budgets.

The lack of commitment to education can be seen by the lack of participation for cutting edge automotive conferences.

A case in point, one of the most popular automotive conferences is the Digital Dealer Conference. According to their conference website discussing their Fall 2010 Vegas venue:

We hosted more than 850 dealers and managers at our fall Conference in Las Vegas, coming from 48 states, Brazil, Canada and the Netherlands. … and more than 1,800 total Conference attendees.”

The Education Opportunity

There are approximately 18,000 new car franchise dealers in the United States and many more independent used car dealers.  Yet, less than 10% of dealers and likely less than 5% of key employees are sent for cutting edge conferences like Digital Dealer.

Our recent 2011 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Napa attracted 90 dealership employees, workshop leaders, and vendor sponsors combined.  We are just scratching the surface.  Yet I am encouraged by the responses from conference attendees; they want more!

Dealer principals are not the only ones that should be attending educational conferences and let me add 20 Groups.  Most dealers will forget over 50% of what they learned and most will have difficulty translating digital marketing, social media, or mobile technology best practices to their internal team who stayed home at the dealership.

As you know, handing your ISM copies of a PowerPoint presentation does not have the same effect as if they were participating in a live workshop.

Send Decision Makers To Conferences

Dealership employees that run all profit centers should be engaged with their peers, inspired by industry educators, and educated by best practice leaders.  If you consider service, parts, F&I, used cars, and new car managers a case could be made that every dealership should be sending multiple employees out for peer education each year.

Yet, the industry numbers indicate a very different commitment to education.  The vendors, educators, and leaders of the automotive industry must do more to encourage dealer commitments to education.  Throughout the year, our industry needs more educational opportunities that are geographically dispersed to reduce travel costs.

As the automotive industry relies more on digital marketing, social media, mobile devices, and new communication channels, education will be a prerequisite for success.  We need the structures in place for dealers, general managers, and front line employees to gain confidence in mastering the new paradigms in automotive marketing and operations.

Innovators Try To Meet Demand

Innovators like Jared Hamilton have announced the  PCG Digital Marketing has announced the Automotive Internship Program.  Industry veterans like Jim Ziegler have successful programs like the Internet Battle Plan.

We need more of these high quality educational opportunities.  90% of the dealership employees that should be involved are not getting the opportunity to engage.

With less than 10% of the employees that need education participating, I see this as an “abundance” opportunity.  One could also make a point that since 10% only participate in off-site education, it’s a dog-eat-dog fight for those decision makers and education dollars.

I will prefer to believe in the abundance philosophy; there is so much opportunity for individuals and companies that want to serve car dealers.  The market needs more people dedicated to educating dealers with passion and integrity.

I am a passionate educator.  I encourage more to step forward to help car dealers master the skills needed for success in today’s changing marketplace.

Mark Your Calendars For Education

I hope to see many of you at the 2011 Innovative Dealer Summit in Colorado on March 30, 2011 hosted by Tim Jackson and CADA.

I invite you to attend the 2011 Digital Marketing Boot Camp, April 16-18th in Orlando.

When the Boot Camp ends, make sure you attend the 10th Digital Dealer Conference, which starts on April 19th, just down the street in Orlando.

And don’t forget Jim Zieglar’s  Internet Battle Plan on May 18-20th Kansas City.

Make a commitment to education and your investment will be well rewarded!


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