Earlier this year, antivirus king Symantec sent shockwaves through the business community with the statement that antivirus software was “dead”—leaving businesses wondering, now what? Symantec dropped the bombshell to make a point: These days, a PC armed with a good firewall and some topflight antivirus software is simply no match against a sophisticated, determined hacker. The reason: The number of new viruses unleashed on the public every day can be as many as 200,000, according to Kapersky Lab, a computer security firm.
E-Mail Retains the TitleWhile digital marketing always seems to have its own version of the “It Girl” each year, one thing has remained constant for nearly 30 years: E-mail is still the new sexy. According to a barrage of studies released during the past year, e-mail marketing still surpasses all others in the digital realm when it comes to return on investment (ROI) and increasing sales. And companies still see e-mail marketing as a stalwart when they’re looking to hang on to customers, build loyalty and increase website traffic.
Offering Access to Hard-to-Obtain Vehicles What do a Toyota HiLux, a Ford Ranger T6, an UAZ Hunter and a Mitsubishi L200 have in common? For one thing these vehicles are known for being aftermarket-accessory friendly, are extremely popular with enthusiasts and are typically upgraded by owners who seek to take them off-roading. Another thing they have in common is that none of these vehicles are sold in the United States, but being very popular throughout the much of the rest of the world, they offer export marketing potential for U.S. companies.
An Exclusive Progress Report on the SEMA Data Co-opWhen SEMA launched the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) a little over two years ago, the goal was admittedly ambitious: to revolutionize the way automotive specialty-equipment manufacturers (data suppliers) convey product information to warehouse distributors and resellers (data receivers) for the benefit of all. Now, according to Jon Wyly, the co-op’s CEO, the SDC is delivering thousands of data sets a week, representing millions of part numbers and tens of millions of vehicle applications, through a database that continues to grow by leaps and bounds daily.
Never Enough Auto Accessories Blossoms From the Owner’s EnthusiasmFrom its inception, the automotive specialty-equipment industry has been built in large measure by enthusiasts who followed their passions. Brad Vlastuin fits that mold.Vlastuin enjoyed cruise-ins and car gatherings around his hometown in Michigan back in the days when neon lighting and exterior accessories were the hot ticket for import cars. He owned a Toyota Matrix and found that others who attended the same events were in search of products similar to those he was interested in. He began to track down and offer accessories to his fellow enthusiasts, and he was soon running what was essentially a small business out of the trunk of his car.
Questions From Your Industry PeersContinuing the theme from our last column in the October issue of SEMA News, let’s look at some questions that came from the Council Summit in Pomona, California, back in July. The folks attending this event represented a great cross-section of the industry, and all were very inquiring minds that made for some great conversation and questions.
The message is clear: Automotive customization is thriving, and American-based businesses are at the forefront of product technology and innovation for the industry. As highlighted in the recent “SEMA Annual Market Study,” the automotive specialty-equipment market now represents $33 billion in annual sales—a 7% increase over the previous year.
Now in its seventh year of existence, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (HROT) enables young automotive enthusiasts to develop and show off their mechanical skills while being exposed to the automotive specialty-equipment industry. The organization’s purpose is to replenish the aging automotive field with essential future talent by expanding high-school education programs and providing career guidance to students while promoting the value of teamwork. “We started out recruiting high-school and college students and soon realized where the need was,” said Jim Bingham, HROT chairman and president/CEO of Winner’s Circle Speed & Custom based in Joliet, Illinois. “At the high-school level, we can get kids pointed in the right direction; we’re actually changing lives. It sends a chill down your spine when you see what you’ve done for these kids; we’re getting them to go to school.”