The May 2018 issue of Canadian AutoJournal is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of Canadian AutoJournal, Jack Kazmierski.
Conference or Sales Pitch?
Our editorial team attends a lot of automotive conferences. It seems that someone, somewhere is always planning an event, and if the topics are of interest to our readers, we’re more than happy to attend and put together a report.
The problem is that sometimes a conference isn’t really a conference. It’s a sales pitch. The presenters and panel discussions aren’t really designed to teach and inform, but to sell. And that’s a shame.
Attending a conference is an expensive proposition. Add up the time off work, travel, accommodations, meals, and conference fees, and it’s quite the investment. If you’re getting your money’s worth, that’s great. But if you’re being sold, it’s not.
I can tell you that there are some conferences that we simply won’t attend anymore. We’ve sent our teams out in the past, only to waste a day or two listening to one sales pitch after another. Like George W. Bush said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…”
Conferences done right
That said, there are a number of conferences that we attend regularly, simply because of the quality of the presentations. These are organized by top-notch organizations that get it. They’re interested in their members, they vet their presenters, and their goal is to have everyone leave the conference having learned something new.
Most recently, we had the opportunity to attend the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association’s two-day Automotive Conference & Expo. We’ll be running a full report on it in the next issue of Canadian AutoJournal. For now, I can tell you that this was a prime example of a conference done right. Todd Bourgon and his team at the TADA did a superb job of bringing in top talent to teach and entertain. Each session was informative and well prepared, and none of the presenters tried to sell something or promote themselves. I think everyone who attended the conference is looking forward to the next one. It was just that good.
By the wayside
As for all those conferences that are really sales pitches in disguise, they can certainly attract an audience at first, but after a while people start to catch on and plan accordingly the next time an invitation to attend the next event shows up in their inbox.
As professionals we’re all interested in personal development and quality material. Organizers who can deliver on the promise will continue to attract the big crowds and the media attention. But those who are out to just make a buck will be left by the wayside, sooner or later.