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Exploring the Marketing Manager Role

By Mike Jeffs on Nov 26, 2013

We recently checked in with two Marketing Managers in progressive dealerships and asked them a few questions about their roles and responsibilities. Both of the following Marketing Managers we interviewed are utilizing multiple channels to market for both variable and fixed ops. To many stores this a new a role or doesn’t exist but more stores are beginning to implement a Marketing Manager position, so we thought we'd share these two stories and shed some insight on the importance of this position as our industry moves forward. 


Matt Smith is the Marketing Manager for Darling’s Auto Group in Maine. 

DrivingSales University: Can you describe your job description, responsibilities and what marketing channels you utilize at your store?

Matt: As Marketing Manager I oversee all of the marketing functions for our group and I also function as the manager of our Sales BDC. Darling's represents fourteen franchises, an insurance agency and a financing company, so it's a little difficult to pin down exactly what I do, but I can tell you that there's never a dull moment. Together with five creative content specialists, our marketing team produces all of the advertising for all of our stores. We do everything in-house, from newspaper inserts to TV commercials, PPC to writing code, events, PR and community outreach. We constantly straddle the line between the traditional and new media worlds by maintaining an aggressive presence in TV, radio and newspaper all while tackling social media, event marketing, community outreach, web analytics and content creation.

DrivingSales University: Do you market for just Sales or both Sales & Service?  If both, what percent of your time is spent on Sales vs. Service?

Matt: Our department works on behalf of all of our profit centers so there's a mix of sales, service, parts, rental, finance and insurance. The split between sales and fixed ops is probably about 85/15 in favor of sales.


DrivingSales University: What is your background? Did you have any previous marketing experience before your started in this role?

Matt: Growing up my parents owned a small print shop and I spent a lot of time there as a kid. It was a very creative environment that was part advertising, part manufacturing and I think it was a great training ground for what I'm doing now. No two days were ever the same and it was a constant challenge to serve the diverse needs of the local business community. One day you might have to design a full color piece to help launch a new product and the next day you were working on the end of a binding machine producing booklets for the local college. It taught me to react quickly, develop good instincts and a strong work ethic, all of which have served me well in the automotive business.  I also worked at different times doing camera work and television production for sporting events.


DrivingSales University: What are the biggest challenges you currently face as the Marketing Manager?

Matt: My biggest challenge by far is managing the workflow so that we are able to meet our deadlines, maintain high standards and achieve our business objectives. Sometimes it feels like a continuous sprint on a never-ending track, but it's an extremely rewarding and fulfilling job because we're able to help others (sales, service, parts etc.) meet their goals. We also get the opportunity to do a lot of great work in our community by helping raise money for charitable organizations and local people in need.


Madison is the Digital Media Coordinator for Trotman Automotive Group in Surrey, BC

DrivingSales University: Can you describe your job description, responsibilities and what marketing channels you utilize at your store?

Madison: My role as Digital Media Coordinator is to manage and maintain the websites for each dealership within our group, create and post all social media content and help develop new content for the websites. I monitor the SEO and PPC campaigns for all dealerships and assist with any new initiatives that the group embarks on. For instance, we recently integrated a CRM system for all stores that I helped to coordinating the new system and set up Internet lead processes.

The marketing channels that we utilize within our group vary from our Google AdWords PPC campaigns, display and retargeting campaigns, our social media sites on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn as well as WordPress blogs for each dealership. We also do e-marketing campaigns from our database to promote specials and offerings. We market our inventory on sites such as Auto Trader, Craigslist, Kijiji and Canadian Black Book. We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to market and drive traffic to our sites.


DrivingSales University: Do you market for just Sales or both Sales & Service?  If both, what percent of your time is spent on Sales vs. Service?

Madison: We market for both sales and service within our group. While my focus may be a touch more on sales, there is roughly a 60% - 40% split between sales and service marketing initiatives. There is a clear need and interest for service and parts content, information and specials that we want to ensure we are providing.


DrivingSales University: What is your background? Did you have any previous marketing experience before you started in this role?

Madison: I have been working in the retail automotive industry for 7 years with varied roles within the dealership. I have experience in the traditional marketing field however digital marketing is new to me. I am fortunate that the Trotman Automotive Group has been so supportive in getting me the best training, support and resources to succeed. It began with a crash course with DrivingSales University and the learning process has not stopped since.


DrivingSales University: What are the biggest challenges you currently face as the Marketing Manager/Digital Media Manager? 

Madison: My biggest challenge as the Digital Media Coordinator is the speed at which new marketing technologies and best practices change as well as the necessity to learn and evolve with the field. It is absolutely crucial to be constantly learning and growing as the digital marketing world is continually evolving and changing. I have learned the importance of reading as much information, blogs and resources as possible and I need to continue to learn on a daily basis. This is certainly not an area in which sitting on your laurels is possible; however that is both a challenge and a huge opportunity for growth.

We’d like to thank Matt and Madison for their time and sharing a little bit of their stories.

Obviously, Digital Marketing trends and best practices change almost daily and who better to handle your marketing efforts than someone who is in house, knows your brand, knows your market and has the necessary marketing skills? A dedicated person handling your marketing, who is not distracted by any Internet sales or IT responsibilities, in house and utilize the full landscape of marketing channels is ideal. It’s clear across the industry that fixed ops can use more attention and noise to drive profit to your store. The Marketing Manager role can also facilitate this need and dedicate part of their time to fixed ops. Again, this person knows your brand and your customers, so by allowing them to additionally focus on fixed ops traffic makes sense.

What does the org. chart look like? Stores that have successfully implemented this new role typically have the Marketing Manager report directly to the Dealer Principal/GM similar to the GSM and Fixed Ops Manager on the org. chart.


Mike, Thanks for sharing this article with the community and the Marketing Managers who are blazing new trails of success for the dealer's that depend on them. I do hope that follow up articles can be posted as ell from these amazing people. A question for the group: Do you usually find a solution and plug it into an organizational need, or is it the other way around? As an "Outside the Box" kind of guy, I am always fascinated by the thought process that brings a new solution to reolization for a dealer!

Nov 26, 2013

  • Director, Automotive Works with OEMs and Dealers to Automate, Inform and Engage
  • dScore: 7

Great interview and insight into what occurs on a daily basis, along with some thought starters on how our solution can customize for dealers.

Nov 29, 2013

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