Auto Retail 101

Top Automotive Retail Events, Publications, Communities, and Authorities

by · July 22, 2015

A post ultimately designed for those new to the automotive online retail space #automarketing
Top Automotive Retail Authorities
This post contains a collection of events, publications, blogs, and online communities in the automotive online retail space that I frequent  or at least keep a pulse on. I put it together for people new to this space looking for authoritative resources.

Click on a link below to read a paragraph or two about each item on the list. If you are new to this space you may find this to be a lot of information, but give it time. Within a year or two you will be able to look on this list and think, “yeah, I know what these things are.”


Conferences & Expos

Media & Publications

Blogs & Podcasts

Online Networking Communities

Facebook Groups



Top Automotive Retail Events
Top Automotive Retail Conferences & Expositions


The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is the pinnacle of everything going on in the automotive retail space representing the franchise dealer community and showcasing every type of company, product, or service relevant to the dealership franchise business. The NADA conference and exposition has been running for decades and rotates annually between Las Vegas, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Attending this event is the surest way to become emerged into this space, exposing one to all facets of the dealer world from sales, service, finance, insurance, parts, marketing, advertising, technology, you name it’s at NADA.


JD Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable []

Probably my favorite event and certainly the most elite, JDP AMR brings together the Tier 1 and Tier 2 entities that steer the automotive retail space. Tier 1 refers to the auto makers, a.k.a. OEMs and Tier 2 refers to the agencies that operate between the auto makers and their dealers (Tier 3). At this annual event held in Las Vegas attendees are able to get a glimpse at where the industry is headed in regards to data, technology, and market strategy.


Digital Dealer []

The Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition is where dealers go to stay ahead of the technology curve, delivering the largest array of industry speakers, peer to peer opportunities, and exhibit hall offerings – all carefully designed to impart groundbreaking business strategies for your dealership.

In 3 days you will gain all the knowledge and ideas you need to map out an actionable growth strategy. Learn what the best of the best dealerships are doing now to generate record profits.


Driving Sales Executive Summit []

The DSES is relatively new to the scene having formed and grown steadily over the last several years. Once per year at the start of the fourth quarter, the most progressive dealers gather to connect and collaborate on the most innovative trends and formulate their business plans for the following year. Attendees are armed with profit-building strategies and leave prepared with actionable goals to drive their success.


Other Notable Automotive Online Retail Events

  • Digital Marketing Strategies conference (DMSC) [Website]
  • Internet Battle Plan [Website]
  • Internet Sales 20 Group (IS20G) [Website]
  • Kain Automotive Workshops [Website]


Top Automotive Retail Media and Publications

Top Automotive Retail Media and Publications

Automotive News []

A staple for me, Automotive News is published weekly and read by more than 75,000 folks, mostly in the OEM space (Tier 1 and Tier 2) but also by dealership owners and operators as well as may other auto industry professionals that want to keep knowledgeable in this business. This publication covers issues that affect the auto business from a policy standpoint to socio-economics as well as technology, people, and the marketplace. Auto News is probably the only all publication that is encompassing to the industry as a whole.


Automotive Digest []

A publication I used to read regularly with its abundant relevant content but that I got away from a few years ago because of excessive advertising in its emails and on its website. Automotive Digest is AIN, Inc.‘s Web mag­a­zine, an on-line media mag­a­zine that pro­vides an electronic media “digest” of the sig­nif­i­cant auto­mo­tive indus­try news, devel­op­ments, and activ­i­ties in the auto­mo­tive indus­try pub­lished by major national and global print pub­li­ca­tions, mag­a­zines, wire ser­vices, Inter­net enewslet­ters, and newspapers.

Auto­mo­tive Infor­ma­tion Net­work also pub­lishes 11 elec­tronic mar­ket seg­ment enewslet­ters with a weekly dis­tri­b­u­tion of over 250,000 email brief­ings to an audi­ence of nearly 75,000 auto­mo­tive executives


AutoSuccess []

This monthly publication has been in print for more than a decade and is circulated to at least one person in just about every dealership across the country, reaching more than 20,000 subscribers. The format is consistent, featuring columns by regular contributors touching all the important subjects in the dealership business from sales and marketing, fixed ops, management and leadership. It’s online presence isn’t stellar but the print piece is original, easy to read, and highly useful.

AutoSuccess addresses the specific needs of new car and light truck dealerships by providing entrepreneurial, solution-based editorials to increase dealership profits and reduce expenses. This approach has positioned AutoSuccess at the forefront of the industry, allowing us to gain and sustain industry leadership, where our readers, writers and advertisers share in the success


Car Biz Today []

CBT News (Car Biz Today), is an informative daily news source created specifically for the retail automotive industry. CBT News provides daily newscasts and features that cover advertising, marketing, social media, sales/management/service training, finance & insurance, fixed ops and much more. From the service bays to the showroom, CBT News proves a valued source of information for anyone who works within the retail automotive industry.


Digital Dealer []

In addition to its twice-annual event, Digital Dealer also publishes a magazine as well as extensive online communications covering all aspects of the dealer business from variable to fixed ops. To go along with its publications there is also an online Digital Dealer community.

Digital Dealer is focused on introducing, exploring, and implementing various digital components required to engage today’s modern automotive consumer by producing a yearly conference for dealers to stay ahead of the technology curve. Dealer also regularly produces articles & content, a magazine, webinars and workshops. Digital Dealer is the go-to information source for premiere industry professionals.



Top Automotive Blogs & Podcasts


Top Automotive Internet Marketing Blogs & Podcasts

DealerRefresh []

DealerRefresh is undisputedly the most recognized blog in our space. Started in 2005 by Jeff Kershner who at the time was pioneering the idea of an Internet department at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Maryalnd. Complete with an active discussion forum, obsessive Tweeting, Facebooking, and Plussing on Google, not to mention its loyal sponsor group, DR has over the years garnered the most authority amongst peers and with Google. DR serves as a litmus test for me when I meet people. If they aren’t familiar with the site and its community, then well they certainly have not truly arrived in this space.


The Dealer Geek []

A friendly blog for dealers authored by Ryan Thompson, a Canada-based reseller for Kijiji. Ryan blogs about automotive Internet sales and marketing topics on a regular basis. He has a warm and friendly demeanor and always has good non-biased insight to offer in discussions on other communities. The Dealer Geek includes lots of tips for dealers, a resource guide, occasional interviews and more.


The Dealer Playbook []

A relatively new blog and community, The Dealer Playbook has carved its place with impacting and meaningful podcast interviews that feature thinkers and innovators in our space and beyond. Hosted by FlexDealer President and COO Mike Cirillo and his gruff sidekick Robert Weisman the two put on an entertaining weekly podcast with blog to match. Check it out. The blog has a terrific layout and the content is top notch!


Market Punch []

Here is a blog / podcast created by Jason Stum, Marketing and Creative Manager for the LaFontaine Automotive Group in Michigan. Through the MarketPunch blog & podcast, Jason combines his witty and humble dealer take on current trends while providing creative digital marketing insights that you can use today.


Top Automotive Networking Communities


Top Online Automotive Networking Communities

Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom []

A Ning community started more than 5 years ago by Ralph Paglia who at the time was working for ADP. Ralph has been a pioneer in the digital marketing space helping to bring content marketing to the forefront for auto dealers and has curated an active community with ADM where auto industry professionals are able to set up a profile and publish their own content into the community and network with the more than 3,000 members on the site.


Automotive Internet Sales []

This online community is brought to you by Dealer Synergy Founder and CEO Sean V Bradley and consists primarily of Dealer Synergy customers, present and past, but is open for all to participate. Like ADM, members can create a profile and publish their own content into the community. Here you will find a dialog moderated by Bradley that explores all the important topics of the day and also features his famous Make Money Mondays, a weekly video featuring Bradley and sometimes another authority offer tips and best practices on a particular subject matter.


DealerELITE []

Another Ning community where members can create a profile and publish their own content and network with other members. Not much different from others of its type but moderated by a different crowd of folks. AutoSuccess Magazine has a featured appearance on the site which consists of many of the same members you might find on ADM.


Driving Sales [] is a more unique online community from the aforementioned ones. Like the others, members are able to create a profile and publish their own content to the site and network with other members. Vendors (companies) are also able to establish a presence and participate in the community. In fact there is a vendor rating system on the site where users are able to rate and review their experience with pretty much every vendor in the business.


Top Online Automotive Retail Facebook Groups


Carbucks…A Coffeehouse for Car Guys and Car Gals [Group Page]

Formed several years ago the sweet and popular Nancy Simmons and perpetuated daily by numerous recognized personalities in our space, Carbucks was created to be a place where people in the biz can come together for fun, entertainment, learning, and support. If you want to become quickly emerged in this space join Carbucks and spend some time observing and interacting with the folks in the community.


Alpha Dawg Tribe [Group Page]

This semi-public group was formed and is moderated by the Alpha Dawg himself Jim Ziegler, a well-respected veteran in this space who has earned his stripes a number of times over and who continues to be a visionary and spokesman for the dealer. Open to most anyone at first, The Tribe is a


That’s Not All…


While this collection offers a terrific start for getting to know the Automotive Online Retail community of dealers and vendors there certainly are others out there. As I explained earlier these are the ones that I frequent. I welcome anyone and everyone to post a comment with information  and links to additional resources not mentioned in this post.

Also, if you found any of this information helpful please let me know by posting a comment below and of course please share with your friends.




Discussion3 Comments

  1. Jason Stum says:

    This a fantastic resource you put together here, Ryan. Great stuff!

  2. Jim Ziegler says:

    Ryan, thanks for the wonderful mention here. This is a great reference and resource for those of us professionals that want to see everything in one vision. I know it takes time and effort on your part. Thanks for all you do… JIM

  3. Much obliged to you for the heavenly rundown of Conferences & Expositions. This is a useful to all…