OC Auto Show – Winners & Losers

Just how does a small company compete in the Multi-Billion Dollar Auto Industry? I don’t have a clue, but Greg Gaines of http://www.pocketfinder.com and Ryan Friedlinghaus of West Coast Customs do…

As I strolled down the aisles and through the booths of the Orange County CA Auto Show today. I could only guess at the big bucks being spent by Auto Companies & Dealerships. I am not an Auto Guy or a Consumer Marketer, I am a humble Business to Business Industrial Products Marketing Guy, oil refineries and waste water plants is as good as it gets for me. The booth budgets were probably more bucks than I often had for an annual budget.

Ford had a talking robot and a cool Eco Boost racecar simulator with surround video panels and hydraulics to simulate the ride of a racecar. Mazda had a more sophisticated version that took you through a lap at Laguna Seca Race Track. The hydraulics did a wonder full job of simulating g forces. There were plenty of very pretty ladies working in the booths, and many fine autos too. From the average persons car to the high-end sports cars it is all there at the OC Auto Show.

What puzzled me most was just how could these people spend so much money and get so little in return for their investment? It was all well presented and amazing stuff. Do these folks just hope that someone will see their product and then remember to look them up on the internet? Even if they bought on-line, how would you track that and get some idea of your ROI? Did I miss something?

What I thought was missing was the human element, I was approached by a real live human at only three booths. Yup that’s right we were there from 4:00PM until 8:00PM it wasn’t even busy until 6:00PM, that’s right we spent 4 hours wandering the show looking at cars, getting in and out of cars etc. Yet for the most part, I was ignored. You might be wondering, did avoid showering for a week, was I wearing tattered jeans & had long greasy hair? Nope I was wearing tan slacks and a collared white shirt, like any typical businessperson. Even literature was scarce and few people offered me any, nary a business card to be found.

Only one vendor approached me and captured my name and contact info, you guessed it Greg Gains of Pocketfinder. Only one vender approached me, and they captured my contact info. What was even more important they captured my imagination and attention with a guest appearance of Ryan Friedlinghaus CEO of West Coast Customs. PocketFinder is a unique GPS Product that can be used to locate people, pets, cars. It can be used to keep track of where your teen drives. Great practical product. As for the others: a General Motors guy said hi, Kudos to the Nissan folks approached and engaged others but not me. The folks at WyoTech did better they gave me some literature, talked with my two sons and I.

I am guessing that all those other folks will save a lot of time, since they don’t have to spend time following up on all those show leads. Outstanding marketing need not be a big budget extravaganza to be noticed it takes creativity and good old human contact, great job Greg.

About Phil Sallaway - Manager Orange County California

Manager at SalesForceMaven in Orange County California. He is a Salesforce Consultant with a strong Marketing & Sales background.
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One Response to OC Auto Show – Winners & Losers

  1. I agree. I was (covertly) prospecting the auto show exhibits for potential clients, and almost all of the majors were very lightly staffed. And most of the staff were contractors who only work trade shows

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