The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode 526 ยท 2 months ago

Ilana Shabtay: Get More Customers To Buy Your Vehicles


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Ilana Shabtay is an expert in digital marketing, AI, and the automotive industry; she is also an inventor and growth hacker. Skilled in Public Speaking, Customer Relationship Management, Social Media, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Excellent community and social services professional with a Barnard College BA in Psychology and Neuroscience.

In this episode, Ilana shares her thoughts on what it takes to be a great marketing leader and the emotional triggers that go hand in hand with effective marketing tactics.

Every decision we make is influenced by emotions, both conscious and unconscious. When creating effective marketing materials, an in-depth understanding of emotional triggers can go a long way. The majority of us share the same fundamental mental triggers that motivate action. Understanding these triggers and how to position them to achieve the appropriate response is crucial in marketing.

Customer experience marketing is placing the consumer at the center of your company's marketing strategy and promoting the usage and acceptance of your products and services to meet customer needs. The concept is straightforward: customers will become your strongest advocates if they enjoy their interactions with your business throughout the whole customer journey. If your consumers are satisfied, they will refer you to their friends, family, and coworkers. These long-term benefits for your organization include increased brand loyalty, enhanced client retention, and increased net income.

We tend to look at things throughout if we just stopped and realized that, We can leverage Technology, we can leverage in-store experience. We can leverage our people and empower ourselves and our people. If we started focusing on the right things, perhaps, just maybe. We won't be so worried about surviving through economic downturns, and we will actually thrive like those rare few who really do thrive during seasons, like what we're all going through with high inflation and interest rates and all those sorts of things.

There have been concerns about employment losses due to the rising use of machinery/automation with dealers. With each new breakthrough, someone has faced the possibility of irreversible changes to their standard of living or way of life, and dealers were extremely scared that it would take over their jobs. "first of all, Technology's coming, whether dealers like it or not.

So they might as well figure out a way to make it more efficient. Meaning anyone who's using Technology, it should just make their processes more efficient. Um, and I think that should be our, we should educate on that so that dealers have a more positive relationship, and I think we're getting there, but a positive relationship with innovation."

Ilana talks about CDP and why dealers should use it - A customer data platform, often known as a CDP, provides a centralized data platform with a comprehensive view of the customer's behavior and insights. It lets you save your consumer data securely across several channels, mediums, and touchpoints. As automobile marketing enters a new era, dealers must utilize CDXP technology. In addition to consolidating dealership data, it improves the shopping experience for prospective purchasers. Internalizing your marketing with AI-powered CDXPs is an excellent way to enter this new era.

Listen to the full episode for insights and context from Ilana Shabtay!

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Thanks, Ilana Shabtay!

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Looking for a reliable, high-performance dealership marketing partner? Visit to discover why more and more dealers are choosing them over big-box providers.

The car business is rapidly changing, and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Cirillo, and together we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealership and life in the retail automotive industry. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed to help you grow. This is the Dealer Playbook. All right, gang, welcome to this episode of The Dealer Playbook Podcast, sitting down with none other than Alana shove Tie, the VP of Marketing at Auto lead Star. They've been very busy these days, lots of exciting news we're gonna dig into. Alana, thanks so much for joining me on The Dealer Playbook Podcast. Thanks for having me pleasure. So UH did a little creep in. I find out that our beloved Alana has a background in psychology and neuroscience, and I can't help but wonder that's why I had so much fun with Dr nicol Olipkin. By the way, well, I sat and watched that conversation. I was like, they're ripping here, They're going Uh So let me ask you this, um, have you always been fascinated with that? Like how does how does want all of a sudden one day say hey, uh, I'm I'm into this psychology and neuroscience thing. I think I'll go on and learn about that. No, it definitely was not like that. I was like, oh, let me do economics, and then I was like, never mind, I don't want to fail out of college, let me go and do psychology. Um. So I always thought I was going to do a business track, but it was too math oriented for me. So I tried psych and I actually really liked it. But even more so, surprisingly I loved the stuff about the brain. So then I I minored in neuroscience so that I can understand exactly how our brain works. Like what does dopamine do? Do you...

...know what does adrenaline do for us? Um? I don't use it, but I have the knowledge. I don't know. You were just telling me about this ingenious hashtag that you came up with your wedding, and I would dare to say, you've you're using it more than you think. Yeah, right, maybe that's the dopamine side. Yeah it's so. But but I'm curious because I mean, obviously I see a direct tie into you know, marketing and the work that you do as a VP of marketing, UM, growth hacking, you know, demand generation, all of those sorts of things. I remember um when I was in marketing school taking doing my marketing courses. You know, we we would look at different successful companies and try and dissect what it was about their marketing plan or their business model that worked. Costco obviously I don't know, is there you don't have Costco? Do you have Costco in Israel? You don't have cost Roll. But I grew up in the States, so I planned in the US and I go straight to Costco, so very familiar to get your zip fizz and Kirklind diaper wipes. Uh, I kid, you not. I can show you my texts right now with my father who's coming. And he goes, I will he's coming in January. He goes, I'm gonna start looking now for the Kirkland wifes at Costco for you kid. So we look at we look at their case study and it's basically like they are so intentional about the psychological triggers that they pull and when they pull them, not just the well known like the reason why they put their rotisserie chicken at the back of the store and and we'll never raise prices on it and things like that. But like the whole membership thing and the exclusivity trigger, and like there's just so many things, um that I think are really interesting. So as you contrast what you do today... auto lead Star against your understanding of neuroscience and and and psychology, what are what are some of those behaviors that you see on the regular that you're like, oh, that's a surefire if I pull that boom, somebody's gonna take action, or somebody's gonna do this, or they're gonna feel a certain way. Are you thinking about it at that level or is it second nature to you? Um? I think more second nature. But there's a lot of strategy behind what you're saying. So for example, I mean, and this is any marketers thinking about personas and things like that. But when you think about the pain points and what whatever your business is solving, whatever technology, um that you're working on, whatever it's solving, UM, you want to figure out how to create those triggers. So you want to figure out how am I going to get to this specific persona and and really trigger something emotional so that they respond, um. And I do think there's a lot of emotion that should go into you know, what kind of email you're writing, what ad copy, maybe even the colors right, like they say that your buttons shouldn't be read because that triggers like a stop like versus you know, so it does go into strategy and and but I also think, I mean, Costco is just a genius and their B two C, so it's a tat different but at the same time, like we are marketing to people. So even if you're B two B, you're at the end of the day, you want a marketing director at a dealer group to respond to a certain message, you have to be thinking about that. And I think it all starts with pain points because that's what's going to speak to people, and that's what's going to the emotion, right. Yeah, And and there's also this other interesting thing. I don't know if you can name it. I've never been able to name it, but it's this this Costco concept where I'm like, oh, I'm I'm so disciplined, Allana, I'm going in, I'm getting nothing but bananas and I'm coming straight out and Kirkland diaper wipes and a tub of peanut butter and four dollars later, I'm like, I'm not mad about this. I'm actually really be that they drew a smiley face on... receipt for hours, like pretended they I I don't feel taken advantage of. I feel like they did me a service. Still, where if you contrast that against automotive I feel like if that happened and I walked out of a dealership, they'd be like, I got bamboozled. I came in for a prius and I am walked out with a highlander and you know all the things, and now I'm mad. Yeah, well, I mean that they that's more on the dealership side. They have to figure out the psychology of making people feel really good when they come out of the store. Right, But I think you're right, like how does Costco do it? That you go and you think you're going to spend fifty and you end up spending four and you're still not mad about it. There's something about like, oh, well, I save time and I save money in bulk, And the only thing I can think of is like consolidation. How can we make dealers again? I'm thinking about like the audience that I'm marketing too. But how can even if dealers are praying and paying a premium for like a CD XP or whatever technology it is, how do they really like understand that it's uh consolidating what they previously had, it's connecting dots, it's rights. Like when you go to it's not it's a very hard analogy, but when you go to Costco, it's like, oh, now I don't have to go to you know, grade A market, I don't know whatever they you know, I don't have to go to stop and shop because I I got whatever I need there. I saved myself a trip. So like that's the analogy that I can think that would transfer over, which is like consolidation connectivity, and then how do you actually orchestrate on that connectivity to just make everything more efficient? Right? Yeah? I mean I witnessed this firsthand a couple of weeks ago. Um, we were at patrick a bad store, Beaver Toyota. M Oh, they're great, Holy holy moly. Is like I didn't I don't know what other words to it. I mean there are other words. But this is a kid friendly show. So so YouTube makes me signify with every upload. Um, it was like this is a you know, we've been...

...talking in this industry for so long about this, this idea of a destination store, and they just went and did it. I felt like I was at a Disneyland gift shop while also at my favorite restaurant. While also there was a place for kids to hang out. There was a grand piano. I tickled the ivories a little bit while I was there. I was like, this is everything but a dealership. They had a old Toyota that had a million plus miles on it showcase. It was like a museum. I was like, what is happening here? There's a cafe that you can go and lounge and and it got me to thinking like, oh, they are creating reasons to come here in the same way to your point that Costco is creating a very real reason, real need and an emotional attachment to come here. Like I would not be surprised if we called up Patrick and said to people, just come to your store to hang out, and he'd be like, said nothing to him. But they've also thought and Costco does this too, because they've thought of everything. So it's also like, well, they don't want anyone to be hungry, because they don't want them to be angry while shopping. So let's set up a nice cafe. Obviously Costco has I mean, I think I don't know if it's still like one dollar pizza or one dollar remember whatever, hot dogs, whatever it is. But like they've also set up the infrastructure so that when someone goes there and a kid is screaming, I'll get them ice cream. Some of those are they're hungry, They're not trying to run out of the store. They're gonna order and you know, get whatever they can from. Um, they've obviously done the same. In addition to the entertainment and just having a good feeling and hitting on the emotion right because like you want someone to have a positive emotional response when they walk into the store. They've also made sure that they've covered all their bases in terms of like basic human needs, which is just as important. It makes me think about, Uh, you posted something three years ago, Oh jeez, here we go, and you were it was a speed eeker reel.

Um, you were you were announcing a session. I want to say it. I don't know. You were speaking at one of the conferences and your session was essentially about how dealers ought not be worried that that no, technology is not going to take over your jobs. It's not going to put you out of business. It's going to essentially it's going to enhance your abilities. And I find this The reason I want to bring this up and get your thought on it is because you know, we see this narrative still in the industry where we get so hyper focused on something that could potentially have a negative effect, could potentially through through the lens. We tend to look at things through. But but if we just stopped and realized that we can leverage technology, we can leverage in store experience, we can leverage our people, we can empower ourselves and our people. If we started focusing on the right things, perhaps just a b we won't be so worried about surviving through economic downturns and we will actually thrive like those rare few who really do thrive during seasons like what we're kind of all going through with high inflation and interest rates and all those sorts of things. What's your take on that, what's your perception about where dealers should be focused and is technology coming coming for us? Oh? So, yeah, that was probably before I DS in if I'm correct, and I might be it might not be that one, but that's what I think it is. Um. That's when automation. People were starting to talk about automation and dealers were extremely scared that it was going to take over their jobs. And I think, yeah, first of all, technology is coming, whether dealers like it or not, so they might as well figure out a way to make it more efficient. Meaning anyone who's using technology, it should just make their processes more efficient. Um. And I think that should be are we should educate on that so that, yes, dealers have a more positive relationship. And I think we're getting there, a positive...

...relationship with innovation. Um. That's number one. UM. Number two and this is Uh, I'm gonna actually steal something that I heard recently from Ben Hadley who was explaining, like, how did automotive And then I'll get to the point of course, how did automotive get so behind? Again, I cannot take credit. This is totally Ben's Ben's explanation, and I just loved it. Um, how did automotive get so behind with technology? And he was saying that it was actually because automotive was such an early adopter, meaning they took technology on so early that like the infrastructure that they put in was so and is like so ingrained in what they were doing, but also became antiquated by the time, like around they were so reliant on like hardware, so for example, you know, like the cd K facts machines and all these things that were put into place was before the real and like bubble was bursted in the real technology came and then they were already kind of like stuck in their ways. So I feel like that has like set up the industry for certain responses and how they actually respond to innovation and technology because again total hypothesis off of Ben's hypothesis, which again I think is accurate, but the response to technology, like they had a very fast response, but then they got stuck in a way because they were almost too early. I wonder if that like subconsciously has some kind of influence on the industry. I'm not sure, but it's almost like a is this going to set us back? Is it's gonna put us forward? Is it too early? Is it too late? I mean, I don't know, but I'm glad you paraphrased Ben, because if he was here, this conversation would have to extend by about seven and a half hours. Yes, it would be so much more powerful. So well yourself, I'm picking up. You know. I was speaking at...

UM Club Glenn Lundy's deal a couple of weeks ago, and each time he does one of these events there's a theme. So you know, four months ago was Leadership Matters. At this particular event, a couple of weeks ago, it was Technology Matters UM And it dawned on me as I was getting up to speak, I'm like, this room hates technology. Typically to your point, there is this like love hate relationship with tech, especially in the auto industry. And I think Ben's onto something, and I think I'm gonna fact check him. He probably stole this hypothesis from like Aristotle or something, because he just so he really he goes to the stars and comes back, and you're like, how do we get here? But I like where I am all of a sudden, so you know, I kind of started off with this this question of like, okay, show of hands, who truthfully who hates technology? Of course of the room raises their hands, and I didn't ask it, and I wish I would have, but the thought came into my mind. This question came to my mind. Then why are any of you so comfortable selling it? It's like, oh, you thought you were selling a car, and you thought you were selling automobiles. That thing is a supercompute. You guys are selling appliances like you're selling technology. Um and and so that's why I was so interested in, you know, getting your thoughts on this, because it really plays into how our brains perceived things and what we're doing something perhaps on autopilot. And to your point, probably because we were such early adopters that we've maybe got lost along the way that has limited our vision and limited our ability to see what we're what it is that we're actually doing. And if we were to call up, you know, a Tesla owner and be like, what's your favorite thing about this vehicle, they wouldn't be like haus Wills right like and be like, I love...

...this massive screen update. It like it's an iPhone like update real quick. Yeah, it's all the tech features. So, um, you know this is really interesting me And I love the way you see that narrative because it's I see it the same way. I'm like, text not here to overthrow us. If we leverage it, it can enhance, it can far amplify UM you know what we're able to do by taking over the crap that's not worth my paycheck? Yeah, for sure. And I also think there's a lot about c dps right now and cd xp s right So customer data platforms, I think that is going to be a whole another section of technology that's going to be We're going to dissect that a bit differently, right. So there's like I would say, in the past eight years, right there's all these like tech companies that were coming to automotive like oh we'll answer, we'll do chat for you, or we'll we're a cloud BBC, Oh we'll I don't send automated emails for you. But now there's like this overarching customer data platform concept which is like, Okay, you have all of this tech that's enabling your sales team and your marketing team enabling your you know business. Now how do you connect to the dots? And I think it's going to be a lot more about connectivity. Now technology is just as appartment and the CDP itself as a technology, but it's a different type of UM layer kind of that sits on top That's the way I think about it, and I think that will be a nice way to kind of like get dealers a little bit more um excited about the tech that they are potentially investing in, because now it's okay. Now I can connect the dots and I can enable my people and empower my people to see one shop review, one inventory review and make decisions based off of that, which is very much more like an enablement service than placement service. So that will be interesting. I'm here for them. So you you started working at auto lead Star seven years ago when you were...

...thirteen and a half years old. There you go, Um, where it started? Where it is now? I'm not gonna do your announcement for you. I want to encapsulate the excitement of hearing you announced this big you know round that you guys have done. But where did you guys start? Where yet? Now? Where are you guys headed? Wow? Where did we start? We started? So yes, very exciting. Auto lead Star just announced yesterday. So this is actually the first podcast we're talking about it all the trip. Um we announced yesterday a forty million dollar raise led by Riverwood Capital. We're really really excited about it. UM to me, it's absolutely insane. I literally we started seven and a half years ago. I literally came there was three people the fountain. It was four people, the founders and whether one other person. I was just getting out of the army. I was like, I need a job, and the CEO was like, you have no experience, but sure. And at the time, we were doing pop ups for SMBs, like we were trying and pop ups were huge then, and we had behavioral pop ups AI pop ups. Okay, this was like the real deal. And we were basically showing pop ups on the website based on whatever the person, you know, some kind of behavior pattern shopper me that the person was showing on interest on the site UM and converting just leads. Three years and about we decided to pivot to automotive after some uh you know investors got involved and suggested it. UM. It made sense for us because leads were really important for dealers, but the tech was low, so we were able to innovate UM. From that, we moved into we have just like been innovating the product so much so we became like a literally a behavioral pop up PLAT pop up like solution to c d XP platform...

...within four years. I mean it was for five years. It was really impressive. UM A lot of important dealers along the way that gave us incredible feedback to get us here. So Quirk Automotive UM in New Hampshire and Massachusetts super instrumental and being beta partners and helping us. Walls are automotive, extremely instrumental and just like helping us understand how do big groups operate? What our pain points? What data do they want to see? How do we feel? How do we enable their marketing more? How can we connect dots for them more? So that's just been like a crazy evolution UM. And we got into like the AD space, automating the AD space a couple of years ago now and to email seem a little bit more into like enabling and UM activating CRM. So that's that's just been it's just been a wild, wild wild ride. YEA. For those that might not be familiar, explain c d XP in terms that they were just you know, the everyday person would understand. Yeah, So UM c x D comes from CDPs. So CDP is a customer data platform and what it does is it basically it's it's different than a CRM CRuMs are obviously very important. What CDPs do are that they give you a platform that will give you the three sixty view on a customer, a certain customer. So it's not necessarily a place like the CRM or you'll put in information like oh I spoke to this person, I'm going to call them. It's not necessarily activity based. Rather, you have someone sitting right, John Smith is in your CRM, and he exists as a person that's interacted with your business, and now you can see every single thing about them. They saw an ad, they clicked them the ad, they went to your website, they um came back to your website, they bought a car, they had an appointment. Really consolidates everything so you can see three sixty views and then make decisions. Now, cd XP s, which is customer data and experience platforms orchestrate on that data. So it gives you the...

...ability to actually layer on marketing automation based on the customer information. Both are super important. Obviously, a c d XP has more functionality because it allows you to make the data driven decisions based marketing decisions based on the customer data that you have. It's an extremely hot space outside of automotive right now and inside of automotive. UM, I think it's important for for dealerships to really understand how it's different than a SUM. I think that's gonna be the biggest thing here, um, because it is. It's different, but it feels similar when you first hear about it. Important for education. Yeah, and I think it's important going full circle back to Costco, it's no, it's no fluke that companies like Costco, Target, Walmart, what's the what are the equivalents in Israel? I must know there's nothing like a good department store in the States, but um, we have like something called osherad and like sexy your name than Target. I think targ is pretty sexy. It's it's nothing like Costs, nothing like Okay, well, we'll forget about those. But the successful ones in North America that's probably the closest. I think it's important that that the automotive industry, retail auto dealers understand these companies don't rise to the success that they do by just guessing. They have very real tech assisted platforms that are helping to your point, which I think is so solid. They're they're able to get this three sixty degree view of Sally, the stay at home you know, works from home mom who has kids in daycare, who who's you know, husband is way too addicted to video game like...

...they know, they know, like with with all of this type of data, and I can't help but think, well, what happens when we get more of this type of technology, these insights into the hands of dealers. But I want to ask you one last question as a marketer who has access to UM, don't fact check the number, but it's boatloads of data. The number is boatloads. How do you, um? And I'm asking you personally, not as a you know, broad you know stroke here, but how do you mitigate data fatigue and being like, oh my gosh, there's so much here? What do I do with it? Like, how do you how do you personally say, I'm looking at all this data, but I'm going to cause myself to focus on that bit and execute not doing anything at all. No, No, it's a great question. UM, thankfully. I just I are a someone who loves data. So that's the real. But if you want to be real, that's the real out there. He just like loves it and he sits there and he can just connect dots and look at data all day. Even when he talks to me about it, I get fatigue. I'm not even looking at it. Okay, So so it's a really no, it's a it's really a challenge. I think you have to be really focused on what you want to achieve. So I kind of think of it as like channels. Okay, I want to figure out how to maximize and optimize s c O or paid as well. Look at that, figure out you know what does the traffic look like? Um? Can I create retargeting audiences from that traffic? And do I have the right ad set up for different funnels? Meaning it's very very hard to do that for every single channel in any given moment. So you really have to figure out, like where what are my top channels? And then how do I slowly optimize and break it apart? Um? So, yeah, so...

I have this amazing guy, his name's irone, and he is looking at everything and then we kind of pick what's the best channel and then optimized based on that. It's it's a it's a real question, and I salute all marketers and all data staceness that can sit in that date all day. You heard it here. First, get someone else. I love it. No, it makes absolute sense to me. Um, you know, I guess I do have one follow up question to that and then I'll wind it down. Um. I I find personally I've struggled with this in my career where it's like we want, we have this desire for immediacy, especially in marketing. It's like I gotta run the campaign. I must see a one to one mapping to an equivalent or higher valued result. How do you navigate that or how would you recommend navigating that? Because clearly, I mean, things take longer than we all want to admit, and I feel like sometimes especially in this fast paced social media world where we get to see the best parts of people's fake lives all the time. Um yeah, Like, what what do you recommend as an approach to like, hey, Like, as a marketer, it's gonna take time, Like, it's going to take more time than you think. How do you guys navigate that and maybe phaseline that out at Auto lead Stars you're working on your initiatives. It's another great question and something I struggle with because I also am extremely impatient. So I think first thing is have the long term goals, you know, consciously set long term goals because you're not gonna be able to see any result within you know, two days. That's number one, UM number two. And I don't know how every marketer can do this or if this will apply to everyone, but for me, I need to have those short short term goals in order to...

...see, you know, to turn around results. And that's not always easy, right. It depends on how your business is structured. So I think it's really important to layer in um the short term goals, which I do things like conferences and events, marketing and webinars and things like that where I can quickly say, okay, I got three leads from this, ten leads from this to whatever it might be, so that you don't have to wait for the long term strategy, which is also just as important. By the way, closing on those leads is long term. So again you have to break it up like what is my short term goal, and that how many opportunities came, and then of course what comes from the opportunity. So that is really important to me because I do I I thrive off of like quick quick results, which is difficult in marketing. Just figured it out, figure out what the short term goals are the long term goals, and you'll be you'll be good to go. Take the pressure off for those of you, just take the flip and pressure off. I mean, none of us know how much time we've got here on the face of this planet. But while we're here, all we've got is time, So just use it. You're it's gonna go by anyways. You might as well fill it with too. Alanna's point, you might as well fill it with activities that are going to map to something. So finally, take the time. And you know what I find, too um Alanna's you get into a rhythm where all of a sudden, once that momentum builds, it starts to feel like things are happening more consistently. It's I find getting started like many other I mean, we could talk fitness, we could talk anything. Getting started as always the you know, tough part. But I just I love getting that kind of a response and asking people that question because I want more and more of the listener base and viewership to take the pressure off and just understand it's gonna take time. Anything worthwhile, Like, if it's worth while, it should be worth...

...the while. It's gonna take time. Um I love this conversation. Congratulations on big announcement this week. At time of recording, forty million dollar raises no small feat. You guys have done some tremendous things. Super excited to be able to chat with you. How can those listening get in touch with you and learn more about autoweed Star Thanks for asking. Definitely go to our website. I'm also very responsive on LinkedIn. You want to shop tie? I run my own podcast inside auto Podcast. That's not how they can get in touch with me, but enjoy it if you want. I had to take the opportunity. Uh, that's it. I hope everyone gets in touch. Get that started at autos dot com or you know LinkedIn message Alana shop Tie. Thanks so much for joining me on the Dealer Playbook Podcast. Thanks for having me. I'm Michael Cirillo, and you've been listening to the Dealer Playbook Podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. Thanks for listening. M.

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