The one conference you should be attending this year is the 12th Annual RainbowPUSH Global Automotive & Energy Summit. The conference will be held at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Detroit.

A lot of conferences promise a lot and deliver very little. They are overpriced and often you don’t leave with anything other than a new canvas bag or knapsack with someone else’s logos all over it. Who needs another one of those?

The Global Automotive Summit focuses on business issues. In fact, this conference is the ONLY conference that tackles business issues in the automotive industry that directly affect people of color in the industry.

And, no, you don’t have to only be a person of color to attend. Everyone can learn something from this conference.

For 12 years, the RainbowPUSH organization has brought together the leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, government leaders and media personnel to identify and address the most pressing topics affecting the industry.

The theme of this year’s conference is “One Set of Rules: Leveling The Playing Field”.

One area that has, arguably, the most uneven playing field is advertising spending by automotive companies. This year, the conference will address the lack of automotive advertising spending with minority ad agencies, along with the influence of the hip-hop generation on consumer trends and its effect on the automotive industry.

The automotive industry spent $13 billion on advertising in 2010, according to Advertising Age. Very little of that $13 billion was spent with minority advertising agencies. That, in turn leads to less money being spent with minority media companies (newspapers, radio, TV stations). That trickle down effect has a negative impact on the owners of minority companies connected to advertising spending.

This year’s Global Automotive Summit will directly address this on-going problem with the Advertising & Marketing Panel with the Chief Marketing Officers of the largest advertising spenders in the automotive industry. Joel Ewanick of General Motors, Jim Farley of Ford and Tim Mahoney of Volkswagen of America will discuss how they will address leveling the playing field of advertising spending as relates to customer demographic representation.

The folks from R.L. Polk will also be in attendance to share their unique insight on what sales data says about who’s buying what, and what influences those purchases. R.L. Polk is a data-rich organization that studies the trends and results of consumer purchases. What they discover on a regular basis is huge. Data don’t lie, folks.

These are serious issues. The livelihood of a significant number of minority media owners hangs in the balance. The owners of minority media are often the only source of news that many residents receive, and those loyal readers and listeners depend on that news outlet to tell them what’s going on in the world from their perspective.

When large multi-national companies like GM, VW, Ford and others concentrate their ad spending with majority-owned firms (who are often subsidiaries of much larger advertising holding companies) and minimize, segregate or eliminate spending with minority-owned firms the ripple effect of unintended consequences is huge.

So, for 12 years, RainbowPUSH has been holding this conference to bring light to issues like advertising spending, the influence of hip-hop culture and the rapidly growing green sector within the industry. You should plan to attend this conference.

Mark your calendar for October 5-6, 2011 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Detroit. This conference is affordable ($200), informative and essential. Things get done at the Global Automotive & Energy Summit; more than can be said for many other conferences that you’re spending a lot more money to attend.

Make the investment and learn something new.