Article

Data Games

NADA 2014 brought the battles and brinksmanship over big data into sharp focus.

March 2014, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by David Gesualdo

Welcome to the post-show edition of Auto Dealer Monthly. Those who attended know that NADA 2014 was one of the best shows yet. New Orleans never disappoints, but dealers didn’t fly all that way just to visit the French Quarter. They were there to learn, and big data seemed to be on everyone’s minds.

As Stephanie Forshee illustrates in the story that begins on Page 18, dealers are eager to take advantage of the sales opportunities that access to marketable data offers. Vendors are lining up to accommodate them. But where is all this information going, where is it stored, and who or what is keeping it safe? As you will see, opinions are mixed, but the NADA is encouraging all parties to take an active role in protecting your customers’ personal information. Those who have been reading Jim Ziegler’s “On the Point” columns know that this issue is close to his heart. He shares his NADA story, and many more, on Page 8.

More data can also create more revenue. Our series on dealer management systems continues with an entry from Dealertrack’s Allan Stejskal. He interviewed three dealers who are treating their DMS like new profit centers. Stejskal describes them as a “treasure trove.” For the uninitiated, he also describes how DMS reporting works and how to transfer the data into a workable document. From there, it’s up to you and your staff to convert that data into new opportunities for the sales, F&I and service departments.

If you haven’t heard enough from NADA, our coverage continues on Page 20 with a comprehensive review of the hottest dealer marketing trends. Forshee hit the show floor with a mission: Seek out the trendsetters and learn how dealers can reach in-market car buyers in 2014. Executives from Facebook, Google, eBay and more offered detailed responses.

If you have reached your NADA limit, fear not. The remainder of this issue is packed with helpful, non-show-related advice for owners, dealer principals and managers. Ron Reahard and Jason Heard join the ADM team this month. Reahard is among the industry’s top trainers and Heard is an active GSM. They weighed in on the specter of flat fees and leadership advice for dealer principals, respectively. Our former editor, Harlene Doane, returns with advice for tracking down missing leads, and compliance expert Chad DeKing weighs in with four simple safeguards for credit card numbers. All that and much more await you.

As you will see, this issue furthers our mission to deliver useful advice for dealers of all stripes. If you believe we have fallen short. This month’s letters page should prove that neither we nor our contributors have any fear of being taken to task. Think of it as data gathering — without the pitfalls.

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