Automotive has been hit less hard than many retail sectors during the pandemic. Car makers have been innovating both in their relationship with dealerships as in the way they reach out to end consumers. To get a better understanding of  the state of automotive marketing, Portada interviewed Pamela Arteaga, Global Marketing Manager Cadillac. Her take on brand-dealer relationships, customer outreach through non-physical channels, her Hispanic heritage, sales attribution models…and more.

The communication between car makers and dealers lies at the heart of automotive marketing. According to Arteaga, the connection between car dealerships and Cadillac has been tight throughout the pandemic. “We started to hear about the pandemic situation in China early on and we developed  some best practices from China and we started tailoring material and using guidelines from our Asian and Chinese teams. These guidelines include the cleaning of cars. The use use of apps so that they don’t  have to go to dealerships, pick up processes and other actions to connect with customers through non-physical channels.”

Automotive Marketing: Learning from China

Arteaga mentions “that  one of the learnings from China was that through a joint effort of brand and dealerships they were doing events via social media like Facebook live and Instagram events.  People went online to watch a review of the car, to learn about technologies etc. ”

In March 2020, just before most lockdowns were instituted, the automaker made its Cadillac Live service available in all 50 states across the United States. Those efforts have included launching online video sessions with brand representatives to explore cars, a service that saw a 50% increase in visitors once the pandemic started, WARC reported. Cadillac Live allows for the reservation of a time for a live agent to tell the prospective buyer about the details of the car. Information of the customer is taken and a test drive and information is shared with the dealer.

Online video sessions to explore cars saw a 50% increase in visitors once the pandemic started.  

Arteaga specializes in brand strategy and is responsible for bringing brand and marketing consistency to Cadillac’s 9 international markets, including China, Canada, Middle East region, Mexico, Russia, Korea, Japan, Europe and Israel.  Out of her work in Mexico she also derives insights that are useful for the multicultural market in the U.S. where she supports U.S. multicultural marketing which is led by Alexis Kerr, Head of Multicultural Marketing, Multicultural Strategy, Content and Execution at Cadillac.

Born in Toluca, Estado de Mexico, Mexico. Arteaga is a proud Mexican woman and mother to a 5-year old

Automotive Marketing

living in Detroit. She graduated from Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Science in 2003 and an MBA in 2014 from the same institution. Automotive marketing became her passion early on as she worked for General Motors Mexico for over a decade where she helped grow Buick, GMC and Cadillac as the Marketing manager and relocated to Michigan in January 2019 to take on her current role.
According to Arteaga, to have a Hispanic-Latin American background can substantially help a brand marketer: “It provides more tools to be thoughtful and holistic about tactics. It also helps tailor messaging and strategy and to see things differently. We want to build a community We have been working for the last couple of years to bringing a face to our advertising but also to the people working on it in-house and in our agencies.. So that the customer feels we are on the same page and have a unique point of view that is tailored to them. ” “When it comes to Hispanic in the U.S., we want to make sure to be authentic and are not necessarily ROI driven.”

A Hispanic background provides more tools to be thoughtful and holistic about tactics and strategy.  

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Automotive Marketing: Unique Local Markets and Move to Digital

Asked about what changes she has seen in the markets she oversees over the last 6 months, Arteaga emphasizes that each market is unique  and has its own nuance. “There are differences between Asia and  America in terms of how consumers react to digital tools. Canada and U.S. have the Cadillac live online platform while China is planning to implement it.” Mexico has it for Chevrolet, and Cadillac is exploring to have it for Cadillac (Live) as well.

Arteaga adds that when it comes to the media mix there has been an overall move to digital -including retargeting, social, search and influencers – both in the U.S. and Mexico. “This is a trend that already surfaced before the pandemic, particularly when targeting the luxury consumer.”

Cadillac’s Multitouchpoint and Media Investment Optimization Tool

Sales attribution models also please an important role in automotive marketing. Cadillac uses a high propensity targeting tool that provides details on how likely prospects are to buy a Cadillac. ” We use both a multitouch and media Investment optimization tool,” Arteaga says.  “Our M1 High propensity tool, allows to talk to customers from an audience perspective and follow them via offline and online media. These tools are advanced analytics or machine learning programs that look longitudinal over time examining across dozens of categories of variables and hundreds of individual independent variables.  Dependent variables can be rotated, but most of the time it is sales.   Outputs are ROI by media type, ROI by media type by model, ROI by Marketing activation (e.g. auto shows), Marketing budget needed to hit sales objectives, etc.  These models are 85%+ accurate proven by back testing and a technique using an in sample and out of sample error testing.

Our M1 High propensity tool, allows to talk to a customer from an audience perspective and follow them via offline and online media.

Arteaga notes that the marketing pioneer John Wanamaker (1838-1922) once famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. “In the 21st Century, advanced analytics and machine learning can tell us with a high degree of accuracy the effectiveness of marketing by media and channel,” she concludes.

 

 

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