There are quite a few new additions to Dealer Expo 2011, including the new Dealer Expo Learning Experience. Here, Dealernews chats with Stephan Ulbrich, the program’s director, and Mike McClelland, Dealer Expo’s attendee marketing director, to learn more about the program.
Dealernews: What is the purpose of the Dealer Expo Learning Experience?
Stephan Ulbrich: The primary goal of the Dealer Expo Learning Experience is to help dealers become more efficient and more profitable.
Learning is fundamental for growth and success in life and in business. In today’s economy, it’s critical that dealers take a 360-degree view to analyze all aspects of their business and actively seek out knowledge and information that will enhance their dealership and improve the bottom line. Our goal is to help dealers with resources and solutions.
Mike McClelland: We’re trying to give our dealer attendees every opportunity to be more profitable and successful in their business. Really, if our dealers are more successful, then they’ll buy more from our exhibitors, and so on. By providing comprehensive training and learning programs on various facets of dealership operations we can help expand business overall.
DN: What areas of the dealership will the Learning Experience focus on?
SU: Well, we made no assumptions regarding content. This was an important piece of the planning process. Instead, we surveyed dealers to find out what they are most interested in and began building it literally from the ground up based on their wants and needs. What you will see is a complete learning environment that provides a resource for practical, real-world solutions to current business challenges. Whether it’s management, marketing, sales or service, we have something valuable and exciting for everyone.
MM: We’re taking the four main content pillars — sales, marketing, management and service — from Dealernews and building programs around them. These pillars all tie into ways dealers can make more money at their locations. Each one will be broken down into segments. For example, we’ll focus on online marketing and advertising for marketing, service department management, etc.
DN: How will the program work at Dealer Expo?
MM: While all the programs in the Learning Experience are free to our attendees, we want to make sure the program is valuable to attendees. We’re doing this in several ways.
All of the programs will be organized into educational tracks, where interested attendees can easily pick out the programs that interest them. We’re also moving some of the product- and service-oriented programs onto the show floor. Presentation and demonstration areas will be in several of the marketplaces at Dealer Expo. For instance, one of the highlighted features at Dealer Expo is a fashion show. We’re going to multipurpose this fashion show stage with relevant merchandising and marketing presentations on how to best merchandise and sell various types of apparel in a dealership.
DN: Will there be takeaway materials available?
SU: Yes, by taking advantage of the expanded Indiana Convention Center, we have plenty of space to offer a wide variety of learning experiences and formats. There will be everything from interactive “classroom” learning to live product demos, seminars, and roundtable discussions — all focused on interactive learning.
These are not motivational seminars high on emotion, low on content, with a limited shelf life. What dealers experience at the show and the materials they take away will be actionable from day one when they return home.
DN: What is the long-term focus and format of the program?
SU: The long-term vision is to brand the learning experience and provide it as a dealer offering year-round 24/7/365. Both content and communication will take place across a variety of platforms and vehicles such as print and online, with Dealernews.com serving as the central hub.
MM: Long term, our goal to make the Learning Experience the leading educational program in the industry. This will extend to online on Dealernews.com via webinars, educational videos and other online seminars, in print in Dealernews and on-site at Dealer Expo and the Progressive International Motorcycle Show tour.
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews November 2010 issue.