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[NADA Series] Data Strategy and Security in Dealerships With Matt Lasher

Updated: Feb 8


Tom Gregg

Matt Lasher is the Director of Marketing at West Herr Automotive Group, the largest automotive group in New York with 39 locations. In his role, he manages and facilitates marketing efforts for the group. With over 14 years of marketing experience, Matt is also the President of Streamline Auto Solutions, an easy-to-use software solution that helps dealers make more deals by optimizing inventory and vehicle selection based on consumer affordability.


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

  • The brands Matt Lasher represented at the NADA conference and what he loved about the event

  • Matt talks about automotive trends in 2023 and data security in dealerships

  • Matt’s networking plans

In this episode…


First party data is an effective way to collect information about your customers. With the right strategy, you can leverage this data to provide your customers top-notch and prompt services.


However, it’s critical to safeguard customer data. With increased incidences of security breaches, dealerships have to maximize their resources to protect this valuable asset.


In this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay is joined by Matt Lasher, the Director of Marketing at West Herr Automotive Group, to talk about this year's NADA conference. They also discuss the value of data strategy and security and what Matt loved about this year's event.


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

We're happy to have you back Matt. It's great to be here on the InsideAuto Podcast.

Matt Lasher 0:17

And person in person not on zoom.

Ilana Shabtay 0:21

In person live and direct. Matt you said West Herr, who else are you representing here?

Matt Lasher 0:27

I have my Streamline Auto Solutions, have streamlined.auto, you know, dealer slash vendor. I've got to wear two hats, you know?

Ilana Shabtay 0:34

How's that going?

Matt Lasher 0:37

Really good. Yeah. Our booth isn't as luxurious as yours. But I couldn't find it on the map. Yes, it's weird. You know, it's off site. But you know, lots of activity over there.

Ilana Shabtay 0:47

Well, we heard you got an award last night.

Matt Lasher 0:49

We tried really hard. It's been a year in the making, you know, we filled out the questionnaire. And yes, Brian Pash’s AWA Awards. We are aw award co winners, very exciting. f&i f&i category. You know, we wanted to be, you know, triple threat, couple different categories, but we just started we'd start small. Yeah,

Ilana Shabtay 1:09

us too. Yeah. Cool. Well, what are you hearing today? How's this? How's the show going?

Matt Lasher 1:14

Yeah, the show was really good. You know, obviously, there's a ton of people here and ton to see, I think it's a little overwhelming for any dealer, trying to take it all in. Especially if it's your first or second show. And there's a lot there's a lot to see. But you know, that's what's great about our industry, a lot of really talented people, smart people. So it's really a great time. And Dallas is a little warmer than Buffalo, New York. So yeah, there's that

Ilana Shabtay 1:39

anything is warmer than buffalo. Yes. But what every year there's the buzzword, right. So I remember when I first entered automotive, everyone's talking about like mobile first and then it was attribution. And then it was digital retail. What do you feel everyone's talking about?

Matt Lasher 1:53

CDP CD XP is the buzzword, I would say. And that's from my vantage point. Wow. That was, you know, and you're still educating me on what that exactly means? Yeah, of course, no, but I think there's a very variety of interpretations of what a CDP is, and how it can be leveraged by dealers. But it's still a route rather, feels like anyways, a complex topic. Yeah. And maybe, you know, different solutions are right for different dealers, depending on how they want to leverage the data. But first party data, Wester, you know, has 39 stores, and we sell 60,000 cars a year, and we care a lot about repeat and referral business, one of the best ways to do that is to talk to customers in timely, relevant ways. You know, admittedly Wester struggles to have a good solution that can accommodate that. But we're really excited you know, about what auto lead stars put together and the ease and simplicity of that platform. That does make it feel manageable, right? Because I think a lot of people can look into dive into the CDP world and be like, What is going on? What are we talking about? And it's overwhelming and hard to execute against. But you guys are doing a good job, like helping guide the way?

Ilana Shabtay 2:56

Yeah, and I think thank you. And I think that CDP might be the buzzword. But underneath it, what we're really saying what others are really saying is data strategy. Dealers should have a data strategy, they should prioritize their first party data, whether that's through a CDP or some place else. So they can leverage their own data and actually take control over it and own it. And, you know, run queries on it, understand what's happening with their shoppers, with their bins, and then actually execute marketing based on the

Matt Lasher 3:23

sticky subject there, especially with the bigger groups is data security, data privacy, sharing PII, trying to avoid that legal liability. You know, I just said in a five hour all hands meeting at our corporate office about IT security, data security, hacking, we talked about Bitcoin as payments to these, you know, hackers and stuff. So

Ilana Shabtay 3:46

the FTC the new compliance rules, so that actually doesn't that force dealers to have like a security officer in there? Yes, a CSO. And that's something you guys are gonna be implementing?

Matt Lasher 3:59

Yeah, absolutely. You know, we have a great IT department. They went triggers our director technologies all over those requirements, and what's what's necessary, but, you know, marketing has to work as close as ever to the ITT technology teams and legal teams to sort of navigate all of this new world order data and how to leverage

Ilana Shabtay 4:17

its data. And it's also due to security. So yeah, that's gonna be a huge party. Do you feel like people are talking about that here?

Matt Lasher 4:23

Well, I think those that, you know, there's a variety of vendors trying to do CDP. Right? And maybe that's my marketing bias. I'm the Marketing Director. So maybe that's what I'm seeing most but yeah, I mean, what I'm what I'm most interested in is how can we get to effective solutions with first party data with data hygiene, data consolidation, or whatever you want to call it? Yeah. Interesting. So

Ilana Shabtay 4:44

what's on the agenda for tomorrow?

Matt Lasher 4:45

Well, we're going to try to not stay out too late tonight. Okay. Stay hydrated.

Ilana Shabtay 4:51

Very good advice for nada.

Matt Lasher 4:52

No, I had a list coming in nada. I wanted to talk to 54 people. I think of about a third of the way through that list as it is today. It was pretty Set 5550 They weren't appointments, it was just me thinking on the plane of the people that I really value and want to connect to in person. Like even we were joking before this, like, we've done a podcast together virtually. You're in Miami. I was in Buffalo. And it's just so nice to be in person together. So one of the benefits.

Ilana Shabtay 5:16

Yeah, I agree. And now, so you said you got through half that list? About a third maybe. But I like that I that's very thoughtful. I like you know, you're going to a show where you can get lost so easily. You mean anyone? And just being thoughtful and intentional about how you're going to spend your time is really important.

Matt Lasher 5:33

And I had more people on the list than I had vendors. So I went through the vendor list as well. And there was 40 vendors or vendors to well, people. Yes, but yes, okay, so true. But that's where I'm placing my value here for nada is on the people side.

Ilana Shabtay 5:45

Yeah. And you also do that in the dealership? Always people over everything. Yeah. It's great. So you said Sorry, I interrupted you, though. You're said you're going through your people. Yep. And then there were a few companies on that list. Few companies. Were there people associated with those companies that you asked for? Sure.

Matt Lasher 5:59

For sure. I mean, most of the companies aren't unknown to me right there. So I do think it's a challenge for a start a startup company or somebody that's getting established to build these relationships with dealers that nada, because like me, like, I feel like I'm like a fish being gobbled up by like, the water or whatever. Like everybody's hunting for dealers. Yeah. So I think that's an overwhelming thing for the especially the smaller, newer companies.

Ilana Shabtay 6:22

Yeah, but it's just so interesting, because you get both sides. Yes. So you can you're like being hunted. But you're also like, Oh, should I also kind of hunting?

Matt Lasher 6:28

Yes. Always right. You know, it's a fascinating game, we all get to play. But at the end of the day, we're all human. We're all on a journey together. And we're very blessed to be a part of this industry, and a part of the dynamic changing nature of it. And we're really, really lucky.

Ilana Shabtay 6:43

Yeah, we are really lucky. Well, Matt, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for having me. Great to be here InsideAuto Podcast. Thank you.

Outro 6:52

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

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