Dan Kahn on The “State of the Nation” of the Automotive Aftermarket:
Dan Kahn is a well known name in the automotive PR and marketing world and Kahn Media is (in my opinion) is the leader in that space. I’ve known Dan for years and have always found him to have a great understanding of our industry as well as the ability to read the tea leaves on what’s coming next. Long time listeners will remember our time together on a podcast called “Cars for a Living” and I asked him to return today for a “crystal ball plus the state of the nations” type discussion in regards to the upcoming 2023 SEMA Show! If there’s one thing the Kahn team knows well it’s the automotive aftermarket.
Khan Update – Kahn Media started intiially working with the automotive aftermarket industry and has branched out into related top aftermarket events like King of Hammers, lifestyle/luxury brands like Maserati, and beyond. They deal with all of the “Earned, Owned, and Paid” media that a business may need to get its story out to the world. Dan has continued to learn, grow and drive the relationships needed to promote and market the automotive aftermarket.
Tread Agency – I asked Dan for an update from his personal side and he admitted that he has taken his family camping every month for the last 12 years. This is a joint effort with his wife to disconnect his kids from the media and electronics that the world is so saturated in. He has grown a great appreciation for the outdoors and camping and wanted to take a bigger part in the industry behind it. Plus, it’s a great hedge to have all of your eggs in two baskets, not just one, right? Kahn Media took steps to acquire the Tread Agency from it’s founder, who then went on to join the Kahn team as well. Tread is aimed at the hunting, fishing, and camping market and is based in the Mountain west where much of the outdoor industry is based.
State of Nation of the Aftermarket heading into 2023 – SEMA 2021 was a rebuilding year after the huge mess that Covid made of the country, the industry, and the SEMA show. Many vendors and suppliers were not in attendance that year (or 2022), but several are returning including Ford. Toyota is actually stepping up their presence at SEMA as well. Stellantis will also be a booth to watch as this should be a year of changes and they have dropped some crazy products in the past. Chevrolet is absent, once again.
What’s the industry that’ll peak this year? – The big question about the “hot thing” that will be at SEMA this year and the top of mind is EV vehicles, but Dan says that the EV builds have died down and were more of a thought exercise in consideration of the reduction in sales of new pure EV’s overall. This year the new terminology is “Alt Power” systems and builds will be visible around the show including hydrogen fuel cell technology and hybrid systems. That said, what he thinks will really be big this year is trucks, trucks, and more trucks! At SEMA last year they dedicated the new West Hall for the overlanding and off roading industry and it was huge. Sales of new trucks is huge and it all contributes directly to the overlanding and off road aftermarket parts industry.
Oversaturated Media at SEMA? – I asked Dan if there are too many content producers? We have so many shop owners on this podcast and many have had – or do have – or want to have their own YouTube channel. Yes, it’s great promotion, and yes, deep down, they all want to become a star like Roadkill did, but are they actually gaining viewers or just diluting the small pool of viewers with over content? In short, Dan does not think there can be too many. He relates that at one point in time there were around 50 magazines related to the automotive aftermarket and now there are three. He would see massive amounts of writers at the show each year gathering content for magazine articles. This year, it is pretty much the same situation except it is YouTube, Instagram and other content creators but even there they do not have huge budgets and SEMA has to do what it can to get them there so they can provide the coverage that is expected at a show this size.
For people coming to SEMA for the first time as attendees – like small shop owners – what is your best advice for them? – Dan said the number one thing is to have a plan. You can research the maps at www.semashow.com and get a game plan for who you want to talk to fairly easily. He said you also need to remember that this is a business trade show (not a fun-time beer drinking car show), so act accordingly. Dress the part for a work event that represents to you what you want your brand and company to represent to the whole world. The fact that it’s in Las Vegas is just a coincidence. Go for the win first and the party second!
Dan, What’s your project car right now? – 1932 Ford Tudor, which he purchased as a nice clean car and is currently blowing it all apart and doing the works to it. You can follow the build at Dan Kahn Media on Instagram.com/dan_kahn_media.
You can find out more about Kahn Media on the internet at KahnMedia.com or Treadagency.com. Follow along at LinkedIn.com/in/KahnMedia for some great information. You can also soak in the pictures at Instagram.com/kahnmedia.
This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!