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IGA Fall Marketing Conference Brings Back Memories of 2001 IGA Conference; President Announces He's "Madder Than Hell"

Independent Glass Association (IGA) president Dave Zoldowski opened the association's fall marketing conference on Saturday with a memory of the 2001 Independents' Days, where then-

IGA chief executive officer Tim Smale led the audience in chanting, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" (CLICK HERE for related story.)

IGA president Dave Zoldowski opened the group's fall marketing conference.

Though much has changed about the association since that conference, this concept has not. Zoldowski, who is president of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., asked the group a series of questions, including "Are we losing jobs to 24/7 [call centers]?"

"These questions make me madder than hell," he told the group. And, he added, "It's our belief that the independents need the IGA more than ever."

Brian Yarborough of the Glass Doctor in Tampa echoed Zoldowski's thoughts. Noting that he's a semi-newcomer to the industry, with just seven years in the auto glass business, Yarborough said, "I'm just in awe of the way the insurance companies control the industry."

Shawn Newport of Star Auto Glass in Erie, Pa., and Yarborough carried on the presentation with an update on the association's anti-steering ("Don't Get Steered") program.

Yarborough focused on the IGA's devotion to helping independent shops.

"There's not a single person on this board that's not about making the independent successful," he said. "We have to push back or they're just going to run us over."

The IGA comic book (CLICK HERE for related story) is just one of many anti-steering initiatives the association has taken on over the last year. Zoldowski says he hands it out to every customer who comes to his shop.

"I'm amazed at the amount of customers who say, 'you know, this is kind of what happened to me-but I demanded I come to your shop,'" he recalled.

As the day went on, several other speakers offered insights to the independents in attendance, including Scott Orth of GTS Services, who spoke about Internet marketing.

Among several design items, he pushed for left-hand navigation (when a site is indexed to the left, so the consumer always knows what he/she is looking for will be somewhere to the left), text-based designs (so that search engines know what the site is about) and a call to action.

"No matter what you do, you have to have a call to action," he said.

He also stressed that the customer is best person to design your website (or, at least, what having the customer in mind is important).

Orth also reminded participants that planning a website is just like planning your marketing strategy.

"It's the same thing with the Internet-you have to have a plan," he said.

Orth then offered attendees the chance to review and critique their websites publicly-a popular option-and suggested that attendees visit the website for similar advice.

The IGA's annual Independents' Days conference is scheduled for May 14-16, 2009, at the South Point Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Stay tuned to™ for more information on Saturday's conference in the coming days.

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