Canadian Digital Dealer Conference 4 – Interview w/ Brent Wees

Brent Wees to MC the CDDC4

Brent Wees to Host CDDC4

The T.A.D.A. is back this fall with the popular Canadian Digital Dealer Roadshow to take place in September.  CDDC4 will kick off in Ottawa on the 17th and Toronto gets the closing act the next day (September 18th).

I have personally attended two Canadian Digital Dealers and both have been well worth the price of attendance.

Amir Amirrezvani is the speaker I am really looking forward to seeing.  “How to turn your website into a Lead Monster”  is still one of the most popular blog posts here on The Dealer Geek (actual title was Optimize Your Online Presence).  His segment on Website Conversion and Optimization should keep the notepads busy.

My good friend Brent Wees, Client Service Director at Glovebox is going to be hosting the event.  Brent is no stranger to the conference circut in the U.S.A. and Canada and knows how to work the crowd.  Looking forward someone worthwhile to follow on Twitter?  You can’t go wrong with this guy – Brent Wees Twitter Profile.

I asked Brent if he would sit down for a few questions right here on The Dealer Geek at which he said “ya buddy”.

Interview: “What Can We Expect At The Canadian Digital Dealer Conference #4?”


First off Brent, how did you get involved with the Canadian Digital Dealer Events?

We have always a great relationship with the TADA and in 2011 we were approached by Todd Bourgon to help their team visualize the first Canadian Digital Dealer Conference. Todd knew that my partner Barry Hillier and I were attending a lot of conferences south of the border and had also run our share of dealer events for the Ontario Toyota Dealers Association.

Todd also knew that we were working closely with Mississauga Toyota to develop a full digital marketing strategy and asked me to present that case study at the first conference. It was an absolute thrill to be presenting to over 400 dealers at the Canadian International Autoshow. What a venue for the first show!

Take me through the evolution of the CDDC Events and what the response has been like?

Well Michele Kearney at the TADA gets a lot of credit for driving the planning of the events and in turn keeping the conference in front of the dealers. Since the first event Michele, Todd and I have spent a lot of time at different conferences auditing speakers and their content.

It’s a mandate of the Association to ensure that there is new content being presented at each conference and that different personalities are also in front of the dealers. The speaker track is also meticulously mapped out for each event to ensure that all content can connect itself from one subject to the next.

We breakdown each conference on its completion, always looking at ways to improve the overall product. The attendee feedback is invaluable as well; you never want the conference to become stale or predictable.

If I own a dealership and I want to send some of the troops out, who ideally should be in attendance and why?

I think it’s important for a dealership to send a mix of decision makers and the staff who will execute to the conference. I have seen instances of Internet Managers coming away from a conference like this inspired and charged up to move their dealers in the right direction, only to be stonewalled back at their dealerships by their direct reports who didn’t attend the conference and don’t have a working knowledge of digital strategies.

For a dealership to move in the right direction digitally it’s best for all staff to educate themselves as much as possible.

Since you have travelled the conference circuit in both Canada and the U.S., would you say that Canadians have the same appetite for Digital Marketing education as our American friends?

 I think dealers are starting to. We always seem to be a couple years behind our counterparts in the US, but I think more and more dealers are understanding the importance of these conferences. I do see a lot of the same faces in the rooms up here and those dealers are excelling. More dealers should take notice though because the gap will widen and it will take more effort and energy to play catch up than to be ahead of the curve.

What speaker are you most excited to see at CDDC4 and why?

Kendall Billman. Michele Kearney and I got to see Kendall in Detroit a couple of months back, speaking on Artificial Intelligence and how it is helping solve the common lead problems. It was really interesting content and he really created an intimate and interactive session.

He will be touching on this as bonus content to his main presentation.

How does CDDC4 prevent the event from turning into a Pitch fest for vendors?

Great question, because we had to start addressing this at the last conference. We now have a live Social Media wall at the conference and we stream everything from tweets, posts and pics.

We did notice that vendors were using the wall to promote their booths and products with high frequency. While we want full engagement by all participants at the conference, it sullies the intention of the wall when attendees are live tweeting a session and the vendors are filling the stream with advertising. Vendors wait for the breaks between speakers to promote your services.

Our software audits all incoming posts before they go to the wall, we just disallow the “adposts” if we find their disruptive to the flow of the live tweeting.

How much does the event cost?

TADA members pay $150.00 for the one day event.

Non-Memebers pay $250.00.

Can independent dealers that are not T.A.D.A. members attend?

They can.

The conference was created by the TADA for TADA members but they also want to get more dealers engaged in attending educational events.

No one is turned away, well as long as there are tickets left! Get them early, we always have dealers waiting until the last minute and they have to sit on the waiting list and hope for no shows or cancellations.

Thanks Brent!!

Full Lineup Here – CDDC4 Speaking Line-Up


Are you going to CDDC4?

I am!

Use the comments below to suggest other speakers you would like to see come to Canada!




General Manager at Ernie Dean Chevrolet Buick GMC in Alliston, ON. Sharing with you everything I can about the car business.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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