Thank you for joining us today. Let's start by discussing how you got into the automotive industry.
Yeah, I started in another industry with four wheels- skateboards- in 2002. It also had its challenges in terms of attribution. For example, 13-year-olds will click your links but not buy anything. Over eight years, I developed a unique skill set by building websites, creating a social network, and producing videos.
Eventually, a job opportunity as a marketing manager for an auto group came up. I landed the position in 2010 with a pitch deck showing what I could do for them.
It sounds like you transitioned smoothly from skateboarding to automotive. Was it easy to see a common thread between the two?
I'm more of a marketing guy than a car guy, so I focus on studying consumer behavior, metrics, and conversions. My background in counterculture, punk rock, and skateboarding allows me to see outside the box, which helped me apply my skill set to any industry.
Is it ever hard to communicate your outside-the-box ideas to your team?
Definitely, I had to learn how to present my marketing ideas as business objectives first and marketing metrics second. It was essential to show the returns on our investments to gain their support.
As your role has evolved over the years, what does your current job look like?
I now lead a team of 10, and we function like a mini-agency for our 10 automotive brands. We have specialists in various areas, such as email marketing, photography, videography, content creation, Facebook Ads, reputation management, and graphic design. We all work together to achieve the goals of each brand.
Do you get to spend much hands-on time with the content these days, or are your days filled with leadership tasks?
I do a lot of leadership through empowerment. And I give my team the tools they need to create a video, like, we just did a two-part series on a local market that'll be coming out. Maybe today, maybe Monday, where we're telling the story of all these local vendors who are meeting on this back street of Greensburg, and you know, they're selling their candles and dips, doing face painting. The goal was just to be immersed in the community. So I give them the tools to go capture that story.
When we put our talent alongside their talent, everybody wins. We show up to build them up, and they build us up.
What are your thoughts on the future of the automotive industry and your role within it?
Short term, I see some challenges for marketing departments regarding OEM programs and compliance. However, I hope that dealerships will regain more control and be able to focus on promoting their brand within their local communities rather than relying solely on national messaging.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final thoughts or advice for our readers?
I'd like to remind everyone to live by the gospel of Bill and Ted: "Be excellent to each other."
Big thanks to Jeff for talking with us, trusting us to share a piece of his story, and all he does to make automotive a bright place to work.