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Audience Automation: Strategies for Driving Client Engagements With Ido Elad

Updated: Sep 9


Paul J. Daly

Ido Elad is the Director of Product Management at AutoLeadStar, a B2B and B2C customer data and experience platform. He has been with the company for over seven years and is based in Tel Aviv, AutoLeadStar's new office. Ido leads the company’s product managers and UX/UI designers in building its core products.




Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Ido Elad explains AutoLeadStar’s new product, Nurture

  • What is audience automation, and how does Nurture help dealerships solve automation problems?

  • Ido's advice to dealerships hesitant to adopt audience automation

  • AutoLeadStar's future plans for Nurture


In this episode…


How well do you leverage your existing CRM to engage with your clients? Is your messaging personalized and targeted to your specific audience?


Technology has made it easier for car dealerships to build automation to attract, support, and engage with clients. Yet, according to Ido Elad, dealerships only leverage between 15 and 20% of their CRMs, causing them to lose profit. Audience automation compiles data from each source and manually creates audiences so dealerships can manage their CRMs efficiently.


In this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay interviews Ido Elad, the Director of Product Management at AutoLeadStar, about audience automation and strategies for driving client engagements. They also discuss how AutoLeadStar’s new platform, Nurture, helps solve automation problems, common concerns dealerships have about automation, and AutoLeadStar's future plans for Nurture.


Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode...


This episode is brought to you by AutoLeadStar, a company that helps car dealerships engage quality customers on the web and convert them into car buyers.


Co-founded by Aharon Horwitz, Yishai Goldstein, and Eliav Moshe, AutoLeadStar’s state-of-the-art software automates a dealership’s entire marketing funnel and provides around-the-clock service for dealers.


AutoLeadStar’s innovative technology helps dealerships automate ads, connect with customers, and discover ROI and performance metrics


Visit their website at www.autoleadstar.com to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.


Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to InsideAuto podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you'd want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.


Ilana Shabtay 0:14

Ilana Shabtay here, host of InsideAuto podcast where we interview top dealers, GMs, marketers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. Before we introduce today's guest, this episode is sponsored by AutoLeadStar.com. AutoLeadStar is automotive's first and leading customer data and experience platform, CDXP. Top dealers invest in CDXPs to unify dealership data sources, automatically create one to one customized journeys, and execute omni channel shopping experiences. It's an all in one connected platform. Today we have one of our own on the on the podcast joining us Ido Elad. How are you?


Ido Elad 0:54

Doing good. How are you?


Ilana Shabtay 0:55

I am doing well. He's live from our new Tel Aviv office, which is very exciting. So even though we're both in Israel, I'm in Jerusalem, and he's in Tel Aviv, which is basically like another country. So glad that you're here. It's what?


Ido Elad 1:10

It's just 45 minutes.


Ilana Shabtay 1:13

It's 45 minutes, but it feels like a different country. It's exciting that we have a totally new office now. And so Ido is our Director of Product. He's also been with AutoLeadStar for over seven years, which is really exciting. He's really built out our entire product suite, and now directs and oversees the most, you know, a lot all of our products, but focuses on the new ones as they roll out. And we have their newest product. Well, no, actually no, we've we've released data lake. But one of our newer products, which has been about 13 months since you released it is Nurture. Tell us a little bit about what Nurture is and what it was like to develop. And then we'll go into specifically, audience automation, which is only a very small subset of what nurserymen does.


Ido Elad 2:04

Yeah, so first of all, happy to be here. Finally joining the podcast. Let's talk about nurture. So the way we like to think about nurture is as a CRM utilization tool, right? So instead of thinking of an email, email marketing, to think about it as a CRM utilization, what that means is that we identified over the years building our other solutions that dealerships only leverage a very tiny percentage of the CRM, right. So in the best case, dealerships have some automations in in the CRM built in for some very specific audiences. In some cases, you see people in the dealership that can segment and pull some different artisans for the CRM. But at the end of the day, when we we we took a look at the data that we have, we found out that dealerships are only leveraging or only engaging even just 15 to 20% of their CRM, which leaves a lot of money on the table, right? There's a lot of people out there that already showed interest in this in the dealership, the dealership already have the contact details, the dealership already knows in, in, in a sense, what is interesting for those shoppers, but no one is engaging with them. No one is trying to bring them back to the dealership, Norman is trying to get them into the next vehicle. And coming from technology and looking at all of the data that we already have. It was very fun for us to start and build something that can help dealership utilize that and make sure that we can engage with those shoppers and eventually create new revenue stream for the dealership.


Ilana Shabtay 3:39

And I'll add to that I think we saw even if the dealership was engaging with those leads, it was completely irrelevant, not targeted, what they like to call a spray and pray method where it was just let's send out an email to 80,000 people with absolutely no understanding of what their buying history was.


Ido Elad 3:59

Exactly. Yeah. So we all know those blast emails. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But again, coming from the technology, looking at the data, we thought that we can do a better job at personalizing and micro targeting those those customers and we see those results today. 13 months in. So that's very exciting for us.


Ilana Shabtay 4:18

Yeah, definitely. And one part of the value of having a system like this is what we like to call audience automation. So another phenomenon that we see is that when dealers do want to stay at the cutting edge, and they do want to be engaging dealer, their shoppers and their leads in a more relevant way. They're cutting audiences manually taking them from the CRM, downloading them, uploading them, which is great meaning there's it's great that they're on the right track, but it takes away two things. One, it's a lot of manual work. And two, it still doesn't sell for the real time automation, meaning that person we've just uploaded might be a different type of shopper in a week or two weeks and now they're stuck In this CSV that you just uploaded to talk a little bit about what audience automation is and how Nurture solves for it.


Ido Elad 5:06

Right? So to to understand audience automation, let's talk about what's what's an audience. So as you said, right and audience is basically a segment of my shoppers, not necessarily just my CRM shoppers, right, my shoppers are in my CRM, but also on my website, and also clicking on ads or interacting with my dealership in many different channels. So an audience is basically a segment of my shoppers defined by a specific set of rules or Italia, usually used for for targeting or even retargeting. So just a few, a few examples that we all know, right. So let's say, I want to I want to target anyone who who's in my CRM and never bought a car for me, right? That's an audience. Different audience can be anyone who showed interest in a specific Vin, on my website, or in my CRM, a different audience can be anyone who bought a car for me. And the finance terms of do in the next few months, all of these audiences or audiences that many dealerships wants to target or even some of them target, target these audiences. But I think it's the there's there's a lot of a lot of manual work involved, right. And it's been challenging to keep talk over those audiences, mainly for because of three reasons, right? So one is that the data is scattered over multiple data sources, right? It's in my CRM, it's in my website, it's in my ads platform, it's it's all over the place, it's very hard to find the data and get get to the data. Another thing that any dealership knows is that the data is messy, right? The CRM data is always messy, there's a lot of human ills, people are typing names of vehicles into the CRM, my website is not always up to date. It's messy, it's not normalized. And the third thing that makes it very challenging is that the data is dynamic. Right? So some are on Monday, a shopper status in the CRM was a the next day, it's the the third day, they're now shopping my website, it's dynamic, it's not static, right. And if I really want to create an audience, and I want that audience to be to be with high quality, I need to do a lot of manual things, I need to go to my CRM, I need to find those shoppers, I need to go to my website, I need to somehow match between those shoppers, I need to clean my data, right and make sure that everything is is is clean. And I need to do everything super fast. Because to mo the data will be completely different, right? So I need to take all that data and upload it to my email platform to my paid advertising platform, whatever I want to do with those audiences, I need to do it super fast. Otherwise, I'm going to send emails to customers or to my shoppers that are not, not all of the not relevant to those shoppers. So all of these huge, huge challenges. Is, is the reason we decided to create an automated audience system, right. So basically, an automated audience system is a system that connects to the data to the different data sources of the dealership, right? on an ongoing basis, meaning it's not a one time pool, it's every day, sometimes multiple times a day, the system pulls all the data from all the different data sources and normalize the data, segments the data and then uploads it to wherever it needs to be uploaded. So that's that's the difference between audience automation and manually created audiences.


Ilana Shabtay 8:33

Yeah, and I would emphasize that it's, it's not just the difference, but it's actually impossible to do it manually. So even if you are a dealership that feels like you're on top of your audiences, and you have someone that's dedicated to it, it's it's an unless you're literally sitting there and doing polling and uploading audiences all day long, including during your sleeping time. It's impossible. So I think that's a really big differentiator. Yeah, I


Ido Elad 9:01

think another aspect is making sure that you're engaging with relevant content, right. But that's, I think that's a topic for another episode. But that's also right, the entire process is similar if you want to make sure that you're engaging using relevant content to each one of those shoppers,


Ilana Shabtay 9:18

right, which is also the other side of Nurture, which is nice. It's actually execution on the audience automation. So now you have the audiences and they're uploaded and they're structured and they're maintained automatically. Now, we're actually going to send out the relevant content for you. It's obvious why dealers will stay competitive if they're using audience automation over manual. I think if dealers are hesitant, because always there's like a little bit of hesitation when it comes to automation, especially with dealership data, and I understand that. Do you have some words of wisdom for dealers that might be hesitant when it comes to audience automation? Again, of course, we can say you're going to stay more competitive because at the end of the day, It's for their benefit. But when it comes to actually data data security, if there's something that you feel like might be, you know, easy for dealers to, like, ease their minds a bit if they're hesitant for, I don't know, for whatever reason to use audiences and adopt audience automation.


Ido Elad 10:17

Yeah. So I think the the two big concerns that I hear over over the years actually not just with nature about automation, there's two main concerns. The first concern, as you mentioned, is security. Right? You're pulling my data, you're storing it somewhere? How can I make sure that it's secure that it's following best practices. So we got this covered, it's one of the first things that we did as a company that we understand that we're going to pull a lot of PII a lot of very, very secure information, we made sure to have the right certifications, we made sure to follow all the best practices. So again, we are ISO certified, when you can find that you can actually find that certification on our website and follow all the best practices, it's, it's not just something that we do, because we need to do it. It's part of what we do on an ongoing basis. We check ourselves, we take we take, we outsource, and we audit, we get audits from other companies just to make sure that all the data is secure. So I think that on that and we'll cover, I think the the other concern is the accuracy of the automation. And I think that's on that topic. We also we also covered, everything that we do is being monitored by our team. So we have a team that looks at performance, we have team that looks at content, we have a team that looks at the normalization of the data. And everything that we do is being monitored. So for example, if we get a complaint for one customer, that we engage with the wrong content, or that we send an email to to a shopper that bought a vehicle, we can track that back, right and make sure that it will never happen again, because we missed something in the specific CRM status. Usually what we see that is the data is is correct meaning in most cases, it's not really it wasn't really a mistake, it was actually the reality, right, because the the shopper was marked as something in the CRM, but it was actually a different situation. But everything is being monitored, every concern or any any concern that we get from dealerships is being looked at by by our data engineers, by our product managers. And I think, again, I don't I'm not familiar with any specific situation where we had a major mistake that that caused a big friction with with any client. So I think that, on that topic, we are very much covered as well.


Ilana Shabtay 12:50

Yeah, I think that's comforting. I also think it's important to note that the data still stays the dealerships data, which is a, it should be it should be the norm. Unfortunately, it's not. And I know I briefly mentioned data lake in the beginning of this conversation, but data lake is also a different product, we can have a different podcast episode about it. But it's a way for you to also, you know, organize your data, query your data, be able to see really interesting insights. And that falls under you know, all the values of auto leads there as well, which is data is yours, it's exportable, you can use it however you want it. And I think it's important for dealerships, whatever they invest in, to invest in something where the data stays there's. So that's also I think, important. And then before we sign off, I would love for you to give us insight on what's to come on Nurture, things that we should be expecting that we'll be rolling out and then we can wrap.


Ido Elad 13:42

Yeah, sure. So again, I know we already have a lot of things going on with MailChimp. But for us, it's just the tip of the iceberg. So I think there's two two buckets that are coming in the next in the next few weeks and months. So the first one is improvement to our performance algorithms. That's something that we do on an ongoing basis, making sure that we're pushing updates to the performance algorithms, to make sure that open rates are getting better to that click the weights are getting better that clothes are getting better, eventually generating more leads and more sales for the dealership. We have a few projects that are running now that hopefully will make this will make performance much better. campaigns. We again on an ongoing basis, we are working on pushing new campaigns to nurture so we recently released the newly listed inventory that targets shoppers who are interested in newly listed inventory that's already available for all dealerships. We are now doing a testing pre order so if you're leveraging the pre order data source that we have, you can now advertise pre ordered inventory. Using using MailChimp, this is being better testing and soon will be available to all dealerships as well. service campaigns so we're starting with service to save that time. campaign that is coming soon, spoiler alert. And it will target shoppers who only service with a dealership and never never purchased a car from the dealership. So that's in the works. Hopefully, we'll be better testing very soon. And we have a very long queue of service campaigns, which we know is a very big topic for dealerships. We get we get a lot of requests. This is also in the worlds we're also working on that it's also under quality under development. And hopefully, we'll be better available for better in the next few weeks.


Ilana Shabtay 15:31

Awesome. And then of course, with the audience automation, you're going to be able to use all those campaigns to actually engage the right people at the right time, which is very exciting. Awesome. All right. Any other secrets you can spill or that's it for today?


Ido Elad 15:45

I think that's it for today. We're always working to improve any anything related to our why communication, make sure that the dealership understands exactly what audiences were targeting, what are the performance, what value they are getting from Nurture, that's again, also something that is that we do on an ongoing basis.


Ilana Shabtay 16:04

Awesome. Okay. Well, thank you for joining us on InsideAuto podcast. For those of you listening, you can find us insideautopodcast.com and on all mainstream outlets, Apple, Spotify, wherever you listen. Thanks for joining us. Thanks, Ido.


Outro 16:22

Thanks for listening to the InsideAuto podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.


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