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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
To all the OTD2 attendees, I am sharing the letter I received in the mail from Jill yesterday. Gary and I felt the bulk of the letter needed to be shared:

"I just want to express my sincere apologies in not being available to attend "outSMARTing the Dragon II" a few weeks back. As I am sure you can appreciate, we are running at full tilt and schedules are extremely tight. I had several conflicts which prevented me from leaving town. I wanted to send a member of my team, but we were told by an event planner that the event was going in a different directions and to ignore the previous requests.

I want you to know that we appreciate passionate owners like you and others in the smartCARolinas smart owners group that help make the brand come to life. Our owners are teh center of our business and we always look forward to joining in when schedules allow us to....I wish you all the best and appreciate your support of the smart brand. Please keep us posted on any plans for next year's event. I hope we have a chance to meet soon.

Sincerely,

Jill A. Lajdziak
President, smartUSA"

An email reply was sent to acknowledge receipt of her letter with a copy to Gary; she replied and has assigned a liaison to accept communications on the event. Plans are still in development for OTD3 so there is nothing else to report at this time.

Gary reached out several times last year to gain support from smartUSA. He can elaborate as needed, but as far as I am concerned that is in the past and we need to move on to OTD3 planning.
 

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I'm glad it was on her radar... but i'm bothered by this part

"I wanted to send a member of my team, but we were told by an event planner that the event was going in a different directions and to ignore the previous requests."

Am I reading this wrong or was someone pulling the rug from under us? If so, that's BS and I'm pissed. :mad: If i'm off base here or it needs to go off line just let me know... but if not then I'm pissed. I haven't been impressed with the current leadership of smartUSA but you don't do stuff like that to an owner event.
 

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Don't be pissed; Gary tried and tried. I am sure Jill's new role in Jan last year, Nationals and the ED launch played a huge role. I am not making excuses, but the challenge of reaching a limit on sending requests and waiting for replies and making a command decision to just not try again will always be there. We had a blast this year and that is what counts.

I am sure Gary will chime in if needed.
 

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I'm glad it was on her radar... but i'm bothered by this part

"I wanted to send a member of my team, but we were told by an event planner that the event was going in a different directions and to ignore the previous requests."

Am I reading this wrong or was someone pulling the rug from under us? If so, that's BS and I'm pissed. :mad: If i'm off base here or it needs to go off line just let me know... but if not then I'm pissed. I haven't been impressed with the current leadership of smartUSA but you don't do stuff like that to an owner event.
"An event planner" could be anyone. Before blaming her, try to find out who's the one that said the rest of your quote.
No use getting your blood pressure up while you're not at fault. :)
 

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Ok... I read it wrong... I thought Gary and crew were trying to get a rep and someone not affiliated with the organizers went behind and told smartUSA we didn't want them there.

If Gary, you or anyone else who did the planning made a decision to not have smartUSA represent at OTD I respect that.


Wasn't pissed at the crew(Gary or Rita)... was pissed at the person I thought may have gone behind their backs to pull the rug with smartUSA. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gary was the event planner and was the decision maker. I have backed him 110% in his decision. Hopefully, now that the new smartUSA team has been in place for awhile, communication will be better.

It was a gamble posting this letter, I know that. I can only hope there will be better communication next year.
 

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Thanks for sharing it. Sounds like they will have some presence there next year...as they should.
 

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Gary was the event planner and was the decision maker. I have backed him 110% in his decision. Hopefully, now that the new smartUSA team has been in place for awhile, communication will be better.

It was a gamble posting this letter, I know that. I can only hope there will be better communication next year.
Nah I think your good. :D This was Gary's baby... IMO what he says goes. I have both your backs 110%.
 

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Not to make any excuses, but not to point fingers in the wrong direction - I (and only I) made a decision to pull the plug on having someone from smartUSA attend. I arrived at this decision after a Loooooong 6 months of poor communications - mostly dealing with my panoramic roof replacement (which involved both dealership and smartUSA), but also trying to get, what I thought, was appropriate attention from smartUSA for the event. I had invited them last winter, and got nothing conclusive back. Then, in July, got the "Jill is too busy". I asked for an alternate, and must have been very impatient by then - I heard nothing back for 4 days, and sent another email to not to bother, we were doing it different.
So, the fact that no one showed at the Dragon was due to my decision, which i do not regret - the only thing I regret is that communications is not better than it should be.
 

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Nah I think your good. :D This was Gary's baby... IMO what he says goes. I have both your backs 110%.
+1

Interesting communication from Jill . . .

IMHO, this is not a reflection on the OTD organizers but rather a product of smart USA having already spent considerable resources (people and money) on the National event (once they decided to commit).

smart USA knew this event was going forward without their involvement, after all the OTD Website was highly visible and I imagine they read this Forum when things are slow at smart? Perhaps there was some chatter on the mothership Forum, smartcarofamerica.com too?

Any savvy marketing person employed by smart USA would have paid their own way to attend OTD2, with cameras and video running!

Opportunity lost, their loss. We had a great event and a wonderful weekend without any $mart USA $upport!
 

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We had a great event and a wonderful weekend without any $mart USA $upport!

That was my thought, as well. Having been involved with the Nationals long enough to know what happens when you let a big company in too far, that is something I want to avoid. Anything I can get from them (advertising, a speaker) without compromising the event is fine - I haven't asked for more, they haven't offered, and I would like to keep it that way. It is nice, however, to have someone come on down, show some support, and give us some insight into what is coming down the pipe.
It is just a major change from the way Dave S worked...
 

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Just Curious. What Brand of car does Jill Lajdziak drive...??? I would think that the "Top Knot" of USA smart would be driving what she's selling...
 

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+1

Interesting communication from Jill . . .

IMHO, this is not a reflection on the OTD organizers but rather a product of smart USA having already spent considerable resources (people and money) on the National event (once they decided to commit).

smart USA knew this event was going forward without their involvement, after all the OTD Website was highly visible and I imagine they read this Forum when things are slow at smart? Perhaps there was some chatter on the mothership Forum, smartcarofamerica.com too?

Any savvy marketing person employed by smart USA would have paid their own way to attend OTD2, with cameras and video running!

Opportunity lost, their loss. We had a great event and a wonderful weekend without any $mart USA $upport!
As slow as sales are, I imagine they would have time to read every post.
 
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