Creating and sustaining long-term profitable relations with customers across all channels — the idea behind customer relationship management (CRM) — remains a challenge for auto manufacturers and dealers that lack synchronized channels and the mindset of putting the customer experience first. Today, more than 200 attendees will learn from leading automotive executives responsible for marketing, CRM, eBusiness, and dealer operations how to gain competitive advantage at the second annual Forrester Research Automotive Summit, “Using Technology To Unlock Customer Value,” at The St. Regis in Los Angeles.

“CRM is being sold as a cure-all,” said Baba Shetty, who leads Forrester’s automotive industry research and is moderating the Summit. “Today, we’re witnessing a CRM stampede in which 36 percent of Global 3,500 companies have or will implement a CRM system, and 33 percent are actively considering CRM initiatives. But most will fail.”

“Effective CRM focuses on the individual, not the market,” according to Bill Doyle, group director of research at Forrester. “In the automotive industry, more emphasis is placed on increasing unit sales than on the customer value dimension. CRM can help dealers and OEMs exceed customer expectations across all channels by delivering real value and services to customers, who will come back wanting more.”

Forrester’s Automotive Summit focuses on three key questions addressed by featured industry speakers and Forrester analysts:

How do you build a smart, efficient CRM system?

  • Karen C. Francis, President, Consumer Connect, Vice President, Ford Motor Co.
  • James L. McDowell, Vice President, Marketing, BMW of North America
  • Steven P. Silver, Director, eBusiness, Nissan North America
  • Paul Sonderegger, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research

Are OEMs and dealers on a collision course?

  • Christine A. MacKenzie, Vice President, Dealer Operations, DaimlerChrysler
  • Allan D. Stejskal, Senior Vice President, Operations, AutoNation

Which CRM and Web technologies will help?

  • John W.P. Holt, President and CEO, The Cobalt Group
  • Kurt Olnhausen, GM, Siebel Automotive, Siebel Systems
  • Lloyd G. Waterhouse, CEO, Chairman, and President, The Reynolds and Reynolds Co.
  • Mark Dixon Bü nger, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Bob Chatham, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Eric Schmitt, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research