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In-House Marketing for the Automotive Industry With Ally Piñon


Joe Overby

Ally Piñon is the Digital Marketing Director at Chastang Automotive Group, which includes Chastang Ford and Chastang Autocar. She has more than a decade of B2B and B2C marketing experience in the automotive industry. Throughout her career, she has managed and supported strategic efforts in brand reputation, advertising, content development, social media marketing, research and planning, community partnerships, creative agency, and vendor management. Before joining Chastang, Ally worked for Legacy Ford.

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

  • How Ally Piñon became a marketer in the automotive industry

  • Ally’s experience at the Modern Retailing Conference (MRC)

  • Ally talks about her strategies for creating marketing videos

  • Bridging the gap between marketing, automotive sales, and fixed ops

  • How the inventory shortage impacted Chastang Automotive Group's sales

  • What are Ally's future marketing plans?

In this episode…


Are you struggling to market your dealership effectively? What can you do to streamline your marketing processes and become more profitable?


To create authentic and engaging marketing messages, understanding your dealership's goals is essential. An in-house marketing team helps identify and align a dealership's needs with customers’ needs. However, concentrating on sales alone is not an effective long-term strategy. B2B and B2C marketing expert Ally Piñon says to focus on marketing, sales, service, and parts.


In this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay is joined by Ally Piñon, the Digital Marketing Director at Chastang Automotive Group, to talk about in-house marketing for the automotive industry. Ally discusses B2B marketing tips, bridging the gap between marketing, automotive sales, and fixed ops, and her future marketing plans.


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. And 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 and automatically create one to one customized journeys and execute omni-channel shopping experiences in all in one connected platform. Today we are welcoming Ally Piñon to our podcast. I know I butchered your last name. I've been like practicing it for the past five No, no, you actually set up perfectly being yarn. So beautiful. And you're originally from Guatemala and how you doing?


Ally Pinon 0:59

Doing good. Happy to be on the show.


Ilana Shabtay 1:03

Yeah, we're excited to have you and quickly introduce you and then we can get started. Ally is bilingual digital marketing. With more than a decade of b2b and b2c marketing experience in the automotive industry. She serves as the digital marketing director for Texas based Chastang, they say right. Yes, Chastang Automotive Group, which includes Chastang Ford and Chastang Autocar brands. And before Chastang, Ally worked for Legacy Ford. Throughout her career, she has managed and supported strategic efforts and brand reputation advertising, content development, social media marketing, research and planning, community partnerships and creative agency and vendor management. That's a lot under your plate. Wow. So and now, you recently just moved to Austin? Correct? Correct. So you're doing a bit of commute here and there? How did you get into automotive?


Ally Pinon 1:58

So I fell into marketing. Back in 2012. I was an account executive for Telemundo and a couple of radio stations in New Orleans. So that was fun. And then most of my accounts, were dealerships, because it was like, such an easy so I would just walk in there and be like, Hey, you want to buy Telemundo advertising game? Here's, here's your budget. Here's like the ads, everything you can and will come out. And everybody would be like, yes. And it was just so easy. And I'm like man, like, didn't even know where they spend their money.


Ilana Shabtay 2:35

Is it still like that with radio?


Ally Pinon 2:38

Um, I don't think not so much as, as it was before when I was spelling it. Yeah. Because we so when I was in radio, we started like diving into digital marketing. And so obviously, like their radio ads would be more driven to digital. So we would have to offer like a digital plan for them. So like their budget was getting cut in half and moved into digital, or more than half really like 75% of that.


Ilana Shabtay 3:05

Yeah. Oh, so interesting. That's such an interesting way to get into automotive.


Ally Pinon 3:10

Yeah, so it was so I got to like learn because most of my clients would be on for for like, year over year. And then. And then I would always get asked like, oh, you should be like, You should come work for me in house. And I'd be like, No, it's okay. Because I mean, that was based off commission. So I was making Okay, money. And then finally, somebody that when I moved to Houston, moved to Houston in 2016, started working for Clear Channel, a billboard company, which I would it's not, I did not like selling billboards. It was boring. Yeah. But it was easy. Again, it was an easy, right? You were like, Oh, yeah. I'm just gonna go to a dealership, and they would buy billboards. And I'm like, and I was like, man, they really do just spend money anywhere. And And so finally, a dealer was like, why don't do work for me in house. And I was like, you don't want that? Let's try it. And I started, like, I started in at legacy. And I did their marketing or event planning. They had me do a little bit of customer relations, managing deal like delivering vehicles and like getting to know the process for sales. And it was like a lot. And when I was in there, I was like, there's gotta be more people like me, because I can't be the, like, the only one struggling as an in house marketing manager for a dealership. But yeah, that's how I got started and then chatting. Somebody referred me to the chat things and they reached out and, and so I've been with them for three years now.


Ilana Shabtay 4:48

Oh, great. And so just a couple more questions about your time at legacy because it sounds like you were doing a lot there. Were you also doing the management of like the marketing's software's slash vendors, and events. Oh, wow.


Ally Pinon 5:05

So in addition to event, which was like a lot, so I found working on weekends, and, and I basically worked like seven days a week.


Ilana Shabtay 5:14

Wow. Okay, yeah. And now do you have a team? You're in house at casting? Or do you have a team? I do not have a team. You're again, you're just like, there must be more people like. And that's how you fell into Auto Genius.


Ally Pinon 5:28

And that's how I fell into Auto Genius. So honestly, if it wasn't for clubhouse, I wouldn't have known that there was like more people out there because I never so at legacy, I would see like these conferences like nada, Digital Dealer. And I'd be like, Oh, what is that, but I was never like, allowed to go. So I didn't. I didn't have any kind of networking or anything. And then clubhouse came on. And I got on there. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, there's so many of us. Did we ever


Ilana Shabtay 5:59

did we crossed paths on on clubhouse. I had like, like, a good three to four month run? I think Yeah. So. Yeah. Well, so


Ally Pinon 6:10

it was I got on it. And 2020 Yeah, of course. So like, it was like December.


Ilana Shabtay 6:16

Yeah, I remembered how I almost see you're invited me? Also, yeah. And it was like you it was at the time when it was only iPhones. Right? Yeah, you go into then. And then I also got like three invites. And I remember I used it so much like, you would get like three more invites. If you used it more. It's just interesting rollout. They did a really good job, actually, the rollout


Ally Pinon 6:39

be really good. And now it's just kind of like, yeah,


Ilana Shabtay 6:42

yeah. So that's how you got into the so that's how you realized, okay, there's a network. There's other people I can connect with doing similar work. And then that led you to Auto Genius. Yeah, right. That how that works.


Ally Pinon 6:54

So why not work within? So I met Kyle on there. Then was on there. And Paul Daly and then just so many people, right, yeah. Yeah. And when they did the first conference in Napa for for Brian patch conference.


Ilana Shabtay 7:15

And, yeah, oh, okay.


Ally Pinon 7:18

Yeah. Um, so that was in Napa. And that was like the first conference that we went to in person, like after the whole, like shutdown. And then everyone like from clubhouse that I knew was going to that conference. Nice. And then I like connected with everyone and conference clean. Ever since then. Ever since then. I


Ilana Shabtay 7:39

just been going to their great honestly, I absolutely love them. As you know, I travel across the world for them. So. Right, right. And I like capture you for more than 24 hours. Yeah. Well, NaCl be there for like, three days. It's it's a world record. Yeah. But we did just get to spend some time together at MRC, which was really fun. Modern Retail Conference run by Brian Pash. You just came back from it as well. What did you think of the conference?


Ally Pinon 8:07

I thought it was it was a ton of information, right? Like a little overload, where I had to like, step out a little bit and just kind of like, watch tick tock for 10 minutes. Just kind of like, Yeah, but honestly, it's a ton of information. And then I got to be part of the creative track with Paul and Kyle. And Daniel and Darren don't. So that was fun.


Ilana Shabtay 8:31

Yeah, yeah. Tell us a little bit about that. So


Ally Pinon 8:33

you got to speak about like, the creative strategies that you do at the dealership? Yeah, so we talked about creative strategies, like how important it is to be like authentic, and different ways to make videos, tick tock videos, reels, like shorts. I mean, those are pretty much in right now. And then Nathaniel had like a really good workshop where he talked about his team and what they do, and how involved they are with the community. So that was pretty cool.


Ilana Shabtay 9:01

That is really cool. So what are you so right now you got you run your tic tock and reels and shorts all that for the dealership? Yeah, you do all of it. All of it. And do you use like some kind of software to help you just like video Adana?


Ally Pinon 9:17

Yeah, I use so it's funny because I started doing my video editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. And I usually like start off in there, and then I just export it out. And like I ended up using Canva.


Ilana Shabtay 9:31

Because really, yeah, absolutely. It's really good,


Ally Pinon 9:34

honestly. Yeah, I mean, and they just came out with like their new feature like a beta feature where you could like, edit the video and take out the background. They have like so many cool features in Canva, which I'm like obsessed with. That's amazing. So you have Yeah, so I use Canva and then I use like Videoleap, which is easy because they'll usually have like the templates done for most popular template these on like tic toc. And yes, add in your videos and they do all the editing for you. Oh, that's really cool. Yeah.


Ilana Shabtay 10:06

jumps and stuff. Like, oh, I'm gonna like, jump, and then I'm just gonna end up on the beach. Yeah. Daniel loves that movie. So can you tell I don't do the content creation for other leagues there. But I appreciate I really do appreciate people that couldn't do it. So that's great. Awesome. And then I see your LinkedIn slogan, bridging the gap between marketing and automotive sales to fixed ops. Can you tell me how you're achieving this doing this, like what you're tapping into? I think that's, I think that's like a goal that most people should have in automotive right now. So I wanted to just talk a little bit about it.


Ally Pinon 10:45

Yeah. So coming in house, I noticed that a lot of dealers focus their marketing on sales. And I mean, obviously, that shifted after, like, with the lack of inventory, they started looking at fixed stops. But I think it's more like, Okay, this is what we're doing for marketing. And this is how it actually like attributes back to sales, and then back to like, service and parts. And we have like a large parts department, we do a lot of wholesale. So being involved in that was a complete game changer for me, just to kind of like learn new things and like new processes that they have.


Ilana Shabtay 11:25

But does that kind of feed in like, what do you think about your strategy? Does that feed back into, like, how you set up your marketing messaging? Or do you feel like you set up your marketing messaging and then go in and try to influence kind of like, their structure? Again, it's different every dealership, so yeah, I


Ally Pinon 11:45

kind of so because we're b2b and like, a big commercial store. I see. Like, what their processes and their structure and then I go back to the marketing and see and like, how should we do our marketing to obviously, you know, communicate to the, to the customers that they need.


Ilana Shabtay 12:03

Yeah, right. I forgot to even talk about this. So this is so interesting, because a lot of the dealers that come onto this podcast are b2c, you know, regular dealerships, or a truck store b2b. Can you tell me a little bit about that? We have. So it's just like, your entire position. But, ya know, it's really interesting.


Ally Pinon 12:23

So yeah, I was when I, um, it was so funny, because when I started tapping, the manager was like, okay, my goal is to sell 75 retail units. And I was like, oh, that's cake. Like, that's easy. Like, we're, you're like downtown Houston. Centralized, like, it should be easy. Well, it's actually really hard. He's so there commercial there. You do a lot of b2b fleet, commercial retail. And that's like our main bread and butter. So we don't sell Mustangs because we're a truck store. And we bought and we don't have like a primary location to sell. So like, we don't have a PMA. And


Ilana Shabtay 13:07

so, dealerships, because you can just ship out anywhere because you're a b2b. Right?


Ally Pinon 13:13

Which we do. Yeah,


Ilana Shabtay 13:15

you don't have I understand the Mustang. No Mustangs chassis things. But yeah, it's your lotto. But you have you don't even have like fusions or anything? No, it's literally just like, the only


Ally Pinon 13:27

cars that we have is like our used cars, which we don't have, like a ginormous used car lot, either. Like, we have like, maybe 50 of them on the lot just to like, give alternatives to consumers that we are like for retail customers that we are trying to bring in. Yeah, and grow that side of the business.


Ilana Shabtay 13:48

And so how did the inventory shortage affect your business and the business model there?


Ally Pinon 13:53

Um, I don't think it really like on the commercial side, it really didn't. Because we already, like do all the ordering. So we basically for commercial, we've ordered trucks for businesses before so our building price like process has been implemented before COVID. Okay, so we basically took that process and put it in retail. And we were like, build and price.


Ilana Shabtay 14:22

Your retail unit. Oh, yeah. So you were really set up for success? Yeah, that's amazing. Wow, okay. And then what do you predict? Well, what's going to be your main focus if you have one? Or if you've thought about it for 2023 when it comes to your marketing strategy, is there anything that you think you're going to change you're going to focus on more just based on like what you've learned from the past conferences in this community and other things that you've been focusing on?


Ally Pinon 14:47

Great question, because I just did the 2023 planning meeting on time yeah. So so we in which is cool because our store and I know like not a lot of stores do it but our store base typically takes two days out of the out of one week, and November. And we basically get all the managers together and we put a plan of what we're going to do for the following year, like, what did we do? Great. And then what are we going to do? So for a marketing aspect, yeah. So the marketing aspect, we're really gonna focus on our Spanish customers, because we may or may not get a PMA like a locality, okay? Not like official yet, but we're gonna focus on an area of town where they don't really have a dealership nearby, which is the east side of Houston. And I did my homework, 59% of them speak Spanish at home. And then we're going to like try to compete with like, because they really buy Toyota's. They buy Chevy's. So we're trying to compete with those brands, and like, really target that. So we're really gonna focus on for you. Yeah. So I get to Spanish to work.


Ilana Shabtay 16:02

I'm still very jealous about that. You have your mind for years and can't say anything. But that's okay.


Ally Pinon 16:09

I feel like they should have taught, you know, Cuban?


Ilana Shabtay 16:13

Yeah. Well, I'm telling you, when I would walk around, some people would come up to me and speak to me in Spanish and would be like, oh, and then I would be like, No hablo. English? Yeah. They were like, Okay, bye. Like, what do you mean? Yeah. But then I was wondering, that you Spanish, it was just like, so beautiful. So I am always really jealous. Okay, so that's, that's great. Is there anything else that you think you're going to focus on? Are you think that's going to be like the bulk of the new strategy that you're going to


Ally Pinon 16:42

be implementing, and it's gonna be the bulk of the new strategy that we're going to be implementing. And obviously, like being in house also helps me understand like what's happening? So I know that we need Spanish speaking salespeople, which we're also working on. So until they we get our in house stuff in order, then I could just start advertising in Spanish, because last thing you need is somebody coming in? Because we advertise in Spanish, and we can't give them a one experience.


Ilana Shabtay 17:11

Right? Yeah, it's also so cool that you're like, obviously, there's there's advantages and disadvantages to being the only person on the marketing department. But one of the advantages is that you're like really plugged into other departments. And you can have that control to make sure that there's that smooth transition. And the messaging is literally one to one, from on the website, off the website, on website. And then in the store. And leader, I bury that, and as you scale, that's always a little tricky. To control. That's, that's a huge advantage.


Ally Pinon 17:41

But then when we just thought, yeah, and so and which was cool about it, also, because I was not only was I part of the market, like doing the marketing, but also like kind of looking over our CRM, like playing a BDC Manager, which I was like, this is taking too much time, because somebody really needs to be in the CRM, like all the time, but it was so we just hired a BDC manager. And she's like, been super helpful with the process of like, how things get done.


Ilana Shabtay 18:08

That's awesome. And so I'm sure you guys will work closely together. Yeah, we


Ally Pinon 18:12

work hand in hand. That's amazing.


Ilana Shabtay 18:15

That's great. So that's,


Ally Pinon 18:17

like a marketing team. But I got it.


Ilana Shabtay 18:20

That's exactly what's gonna say like it might. It's kind of an extension of the marketing team, if you think about it. Well, amazing. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge with us. I'd love to have you back. For all of you guys that are listening inside auto podcast. You can find us on all the podcast apps and insideautopodcast.com. Ally, thank you so much for joining us.


Ally Pinon 18:42

Thank you for having me.


Outro 18:47

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

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