Matt Jones

October 3, 2023
Matt Jones and Paul J Daly sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2023.
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Matt Jones is the Senior Director of Brand and Industry at TrueCar.

Thanks to Effectv for making ASOTU CON Sessions possible!

Paul Daly: 0:00If you're listening to his soda concessions by effective live from a soda con 2023 I'm so excited to be here with you right now at a soda con Matt Jones. United nearly as excited as I am. I don't know what will argue over that for the whole episode. But your title recently switched? Yeah, the last time you were on a show? Yes. So now there's a senior director in front of your name. Absolutely. So Senior Director of industry relationships, yeah, relations.

Matt Jones: 0:32

Yeah, relations and education. I'm really lucky in that, I get to learn what's going on in automotive industry on a macro and share it with dealers on a micro, I also get to learn about what consumers are doing macro, and share it with dealers on a micro. And so that relations and that end education part comes in. When you're sitting in a store and you're focused on what you do at work, you may be missing some of the things that are going on in the big world in particular, if you don't come to industry, live events. Really, yeah, inevitable. So I get to be that conduit of information sharing between dealers and automotive and consumers and dealers and media. It's great. I love it

Paul Daly: 1:04

sounds like a great job, dude, it is because every time you talk to somebody, they're like, I didn't know that. Yeah,

Matt Jones: 1:09

it is. So So listen, I mean, you could talk to somebody in the media, and you can tell them something about automotive that they've never considered. And next thing, you know, that gets in front of 6 million people or 10 million people. It's incredible. So yeah, I'm a pretty lucky dude. Yeah, no doubt.

Paul Daly: 1:23

Yeah. Okay, so we're, so you say you kind of listen to consumers? And you pass that information on? Yeah. Where are you getting the information from consumers? Well, coming from

Matt Jones: 1:32

we get it from a lot of places, there's a lot of people who there's a lot of publicly available information sources, but our most valuable places our own owned channels, true car, the true car domain gets somewhere between eight and 10 million car shoppers every month. And we understand their behaviors, we can see based on how they perform on our site, what they're looking for, what turns them on what turns them off. And then we also see how they transact we see the time in which they transact. So for example, we understand that nearly 10% of people who start off the process of shopping for a new car, are going to buy a used car. People don't talk about things like that. So now when you have that type of information, and you can share it with consumers, and you can say, hey, other people, like yourselves, have started off looking at something new. But to get a little bit of price relief and payment relief, they've actually transitioned to something use and that's a very easy example. But consider that to all the fastest of car shopping, it's actually very interesting. When you have the transaction side, and you can actually marry it with the behavioral side, you can learn a lot about how this market is actually operating. And it's not theoretical, right? It's not theoretical. That's

Paul Daly: 2:39

there's a lot of anecdotal theoretical information around that we just had, I mean, the assumptions of what consumers know or what they're thinking, like, I think Kimberly Barbara was who said at the CMO of group one, she said, the data tells you what, but only the person can tell you how and why. Right. So like marrying those things and behaviors and things together to get to the how and the why. Yeah, I feel like is a big important part of how you communicate to dealers, about what consumers want. And then how to communicate to consumers. Why dealers are evil or the way or the way they are right,

Matt Jones: 3:15

right? So because what you have is when you talk to a person, you're gonna have what they say, which could sometimes be diametrically opposed to what they do abs. So

Paul Daly: 3:23

So I mean, like not to go all the way to buyers or liars, right, which is like the the quip that people have said, but I think people who are uncertain and don't feel like we're in a fully trustworthy situation, are just predisposed to not being fully transparent. Yeah,

Matt Jones: 3:38

absolutely. I do. Yeah. And then when we consider, you know, I think one of the blinders that we have on as an industry is that we smell this, we live this, it's in our blood, right? Yeah. But the average car on the road is 12 and a half years old. That means that the average car buyer hasn't been in our environment and 12 and a half years, it was a little different. 12 years ago, it was a little different 12 and a half years ago, so when they have an idea of what they say they're going to do, and then their touch with the reality of what's going on into the market. And then being able to collect all that information and say, Hey, dealer, we know that you know what's going on in your market. But this is what's happening collectively. And this is why it matters, we're seeing people are shifting for cars for more than 75 miles away. So you may be focusing on your DNA. But there could be somebody in Milwaukee who's looking at your inventory if you're in Idaho, and you need to know how they're thinking too. So it's actually great. We're also learning, you know, with this type of data, we're starting to see a divergence of how car shoppers not just behave and think but actually the world that they're living in, we're starting to see a separation of people who are buying cars because they want cars. And there's a completely different group of people who are buying cars or attempting to buy cars because they need cars.

Paul Daly: 4:40

So when you say divergence, like I think need buyers want buyers have always been around, right, but what are you what's the difference now?

Matt Jones: 4:48

So what buyers saying, I'm getting this because it's a bit of a luxury. It's a bit of a reward. I don't necessarily my life will not change materially if I don't have a new vehicle, so maybe I want some new to technology, maybe I want to play with something that says Eevee. Maybe I want something different, because it's cool, right? Right. The behavior of somebody who's doing something that's cool is very different than somebody who says, I need this. And the people are life changing, it's a life change, right? And so happen. And what we find out is that the people who are in that need base, they tend to be looking for lower priced cars. There's not a lot of lower price cars, they're looking for inexpensive solutions to their transportation needs. There's not a lot of those. So there's a desperation feel on the watch if

Paul Daly: 5:29

the last time they bought something was 12 years ago, right? Right, payments, were a little different. Everything was a little different. You get a new car, wherever you could get 12 years ago, shoot you you get a car for like 11 995

Matt Jones: 5:39

Mercy, you get him to do that no, no such thing now. So what we're doing a true car is understanding that people are diverging. And we're thinking, Is it appropriate to give everybody the exact same sales process? Because it may not be your needs may be different than yours? I'll say the answer is no, no, the answer is no. And so with this data, we're allowed to make decisions that are that could actually move the car shopping process forward for consumers, thereby making it easier for dealers. So there's a lot of good work going on behind the scenes. But anyway, yeah, that's what I get to do. I guess that was our first question. Yeah, I get, I get to a lot of cool stuffs. Great.

Paul Daly: 6:15

So one thing I love about whenever we talk is you always have great stories. Oh, it's great. And you do and usually I haven't stacked up. I feel like I want to hear a Matt Jones story. And this could be about I'll give you carte blanche. Like but it has to be in has to be related to the buying process or something you discovered or something you came across. So check it out. Look, let me get that point out. No, because I didn't even like he had this locked and loaded. I didn't even ask him. He's just got one right here off. There's a little one No,

Matt Jones: 6:42

no. See, this is important to me. Because when we talk about that divergent customer that want based customer, oftentimes that won't based customer is budget constrained, which might mean that their payment constraint. And if you're paying attention to anything in the news, the average transaction price is something like 46 grand for a car, right? Yeah, average car payment is something like 750 bucks, right? Those averages are untenable for a lot of America, right? At the same time you have that you also have people talking about EVs. Right. Those are the two conversations that seem to be dominating the automotive marketplace conversation as far as media is concerned. Right. Evie? is affordability right? EVS affordability? Yeah. EVS actually can equal affordability. If we're talking about pre owned EVs. And we're starting to see these three year old EVs hitting the market with 20,000 miles that are 16 $17,000. And because they're three years old, they have 20,000 miles on them, they should be prime candidates for financing for people who will finance EVs, which could fill a hole for these people who are looking for affordable solutions to their transportation. So we're trying to introduce those two people to each other. Yeah, you might want a Honda Accord that's like five years old, you know, you might want to get that 250 payment. But how about this, Volkswagen, whatever it is, it for whatever it is, yeah, because this might actually be a solution for you. And we're seeing that there's a precedence for this couple years ago, Kia Optimas. Camry hybrids, the people who were begging for approval, so needed approvals. Next thing, you know, they're driving a Camry Hybrid, because that steep depreciation curve. So it's not necessarily a story, but it's an opportunity to help people who are saying, hey, I really need to fix this problem. At the same time, you've got dealers who have EVs and certified pre owned EVs, or use EVs that are, you know, aging, put them together. And we can make this process easier for everybody. And that's what the data allows us to do. So there's a whole

Paul Daly: 8:38

the this is the last question. The data allows you to do it. Do you find that in those scenarios where you're like, hey, maybe you would consider this because it fits the bill. Is there an education gap? 1,000%. Right, right. When you're saying, well, it's considered the CV which a lot of people would be like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,

Matt Jones: 8:55

1,000%. And, you know, obviously, it's not a off blanket solution for everybody. No, no, I understand. But it is a solution,

Paul Daly: 9:01

right, it is a potential viable solution that should be explored. The other thing

Matt Jones: 9:05

that I really stand by when it comes to this data collection, I think it's interesting. My background is I sold cars. I worked at SoCal dealerships for 12 years, I sold a lot of cars to a lot of different people. But what I didn't necessarily do is use data to actually make me a better seller. And I think the one glaring, like opportunity is understanding the difference between a used car shopper behavior, and a new car shopper behavior as it relates to time to close a deal. Now we've seen on our site that nearly 10% of people who buy used cars, buy them within 24 hours of hitting submit. Wow, nearly 10% of people who buy used cars, buy them within 24 hours of hitting submit. Now when I think to myself when I was a car salesman working in the internet department, I had a singular process for my new car shoppers, and my used car shoppers But now with this type of data and this behavioral data, maybe I need to use car for charity, right? Absolutely. So these these are the things that we get to do when we marry, you know, data and consumer behavior. And it makes things again, smoother for the consumer, which the after effect is our dealers can be a little bit happier. And we're not greedy. We share this information with more than just our dealers. Because it's like you know what I say a rising tide lifts all ships, so we want to help break rise that tide.

Paul Daly: 10:24

Well, I think that's a great place to end Matt. Every time we talk, I learned a little bit more about what you do and I start like looking and feeling a little bit more broader in the industry. So thanks for sharing that with us. Industry and thanks for soda fun, this

Matt Jones: 10:35

is just fantastic.

Paul Daly: 10:40

Thank you for listening to this. So to concession by effective if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday, here on podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collapse, auto collapse. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to a We'll see you next time.

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