Business Technology Symposium Provides Forum for Gaining a Competitive Advantage Online

  As part of Leadership Days, SEMA helped automotive businesses understand the latest technology trends and opportunities at the recent Business Technology Symposium (BTS).
As part of Leadership Days, SEMA helped automotive businesses understand the latest technology trends and opportunities at the Business Technology Symposium (BTS) in July at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California. BTS participants learned proven strategies and best practices to help them be more productive online from experts in the fields of online marketing, multimedia sales and eCommerce.

"During challenging economic times, the automotive aftermarket requires an extra gear to compete, sustain and grow and the BTS very much complied with the business savvy necessary to rise in the aftermarket business environment," said Dick Dixon, director of the International Motorsports Alliance at California State University San Bernardino, who attended the event.

“I first attended the Business Technical Symposium two years ago when social media was a new territory that the industry began exploring as a marketing tool," said Cheralyn Smith of Advanced Clutch Technology Inc. (ACT). "I was able to bring some valuable practices to the office and we still use every day at ACT. This year, I had the opportunity to be on the 'Manufacturer and Distributor Online Marketing Essentials' panel. That really gave me a chance to share our experiences, hear what is working for other companies and get an inside perspective on how social media continues to grow and transform marketing in the industry.”

Developed by SEMA's Street Performance Council (SPC), the event has become a premier business development forum offering several unique opportunities to gain a competitive advantage through the implementation of effective technology-based strategies.

"Given today's competitive marketplace, companies are relying more and more on emerging technologies for brand building, lead generation and, in some cases, as a primary source of commerce," said Tyler Tanaka, vice president of business development at PostRelease. "Technology is continuing to revolutionize the way business is conducted in the automotive aftermarket and our members' businesses are ever changing as a result. We wanted to give them the necessary tools to be prepared, understand and take advantage of the potential opportunities that exist while doing business in today's digital world."

Five business technology supersessions covered a diverse range of topics that included:
  • Manufacturer and Distributor Online Marketing Essentials
  • Mobile's Role in the Automotive Aftermarket
  • Connecting With Customers: Effective Content Marketing
  • Capture, Manage and Nurture Leads to Win More Customers
  • Product Design and Manufacturing Technology That Could Change the Aftermarket.

"SEMA members are really engaged in furthering their marketing education," said Kirsten Knipp, director of product evangelism with HubSpot, who was a speaker for the "Capture, Manage and Nurture Leads to Win More Customers" session. "Because specialty products and services benefit disproportionately from getting found online via inbound marketing, it was gratifying to be able to share new data about search, social media and even modern middle-of-the-funnel marketing optimization with this group."

SEMA and the SPC extends a special thanks to eBay Motors, who gave away an iPad2 and PostRelease, who sponsored an attendee giveaway of a book entitled, "Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs," which was given to the first 50 registrants.