The Value – Issue #8: TalkAUTO: A Drive Down Memory Lane

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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By: Brian Murphy, VP Research & Editorial, Canadian Black Book

TalkAUTO…This event holds a special meaning to me in my career.  I’ve been around it in some capacity since its inception in 2012.  Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of helping organize the event, moderate discussions, present my work, network with my peers, stuff materials in shopping bags, meet new people, and sit back and listen to the business and automotive knowledge being shared from the industries best.

In year one, I clearly remember how concerned we all were about getting people into the seats.   Our registration numbers were quite good, but we still questioned whether or not enough registrants would actually show up to justify the efforts put into creating this conference.  Well on November 14th, 2012, the day came and all trepidation was quelled.  Over a hundred attendees from across the industry took it in.

Fast forward, only two years later and a new panic set-in on event day.  Do we have enough seats?  The staff organizers at Canadian Black Book and J.D. Power had to stand at the back, to free up some chairs for attendees to sit in.  Now the event easily amounts to over 400 guests each year.

I have a unique perspective given that I have worked with both title sponsors of TalkAUTO, in the past with J.D. Power and now with Canadian Black Book.  Over the years, my career has demanded a hefty travel schedule, but I do whatever I can to be in town for TalkAUTO.  It really is that important to me to be there, and absorb the wisdom from all the speakers and touch base face-to-face with Canada’s auto industry movers and shakers.  And, I’ve been able to share what I know through my own presentations (which I always spend way too much time over-preparing for).

The highest compliment we could afford this event, would be to say that its content seems to always be relevant, hitting the mark on current industry issues, opportunities and trends.  It’s the content and those experts that provide it, which makes this such a desirable annual gathering, not to miss.

To me, all the efforts put into presenting this day become worth it, when after TalkAUTO each year, I get numerous emails from attendees asking for copies of any or all of the presentations they just witnessed.  This proves to me that the agenda and subsequent content, provides real value to those in the room.  And I know that I am not the only person close to the event getting asked for those decks.

Personally (and without trying to toot my own horn), I’ve taken great delight having an OEM tell me how much they appreciated my presentation.  They’ve passed it around their Canadian head office, and then across the pond to their corporate parent, where it became a helpful planning resource.

Similarly, I recall a meeting with a senior management team of a financial institution to discuss a particular industry subject.  I sensed that the one executive was in agreement with what I was saying. Always a good sign.  Then he opened his desk drawer and pulled out my TalkAuto presentation in hard copy and said he had this from the year before, and what we were talking about was on about slide five!  Again, given how much time it takes me to prepare for these, this is what makes it worth it!

TalkAUTO really is a premier Canadian auto industry networking occasion.  Given the amount of OEMs around the GTA, you might assume that more of these events would exist, but they don’t.  Gathering a strong representation from OEMs, dealers, finance, suppliers, parts, academia, media, and more provides real opportunities to talk the talk.  I know for fact, that many important business connections, deals and even jobs are had as a result of TalkAUTO.

But it is not always perfect.  In 2017, during my presentation, onstage I did have a slight mix-up where I said I worked at J.D. Power, instead of Canadian Black Book and got a few strange looks.   (Note to self, try not to make that mistake when your boss is sitting twenty feet away).  .  It was an honest mistake, yet good thing Brad Rome has a great sense of humour!

The feedback we get about TalkAUTO is overwhelmingly positive.  About the only complaint I hear about TalkAuto is that someone didn’t know about it and didn’t get registered in time or rearrange their calendar to avoid conflict with another commitment!

TalkAUTO Canada 2018 is November 7th, so mark it down!  Registration is open at www.talkauto-canada.com .  Oh, and it’s free!  I know I’d regret missing it!

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