The Rise of Automotive Marketing Gurus
Jonathan “JT” Thompson, CEO of Automotive Marketing Gurus, is relentless in his pursuit to deliver results to his clients. He’s built a culture of performance and expects the same attitude from his automotive software partners. To understand his philosophy, we need some historical context.
JT has worked in automotive for over 20 years, spending many years in retail. His prior jobs included automotive CRM management and execution, building an inbound/outbound call center from the ground up, leading one of the first automotive automated retention marketing technology companies, and eventually overseeing the marketing efforts of 180 dealerships while managing a team of 15 at an automotive agency.
This experience led him to create Automotive Marketing Gurus. “I witnessed firsthand how important the dealer/vendor relationship is to running a successful marketing engine,” notes JT. “I knew that we would become the highly efficient marketing team that dealers lack, while still being able to save them money.”
After launching in 2020, AMG now manages over $30M in advertising spend today across 68 dealerships.
A Rigorous Vetting Process
What sets them apart is their near-religious zeal at being vendor agnostic, while holding those vendors accountable to their word and to AMG’s high standards.
“We take partner and technology alignment very seriously,” continues JT. “We’re just as serious about delivering campaign results as we are about helping dealers save money on marketing.”
AMG vets 3-5 software vendors per month. If the vendor passes the initial screening, AMG will install the vendor on one dealership site, allowing the vendor to back up their claims. If they prove results, the vendor then gets a second preferred partner presentation to the entire AMG team. Each team member then decides whether or not to bring the vendor to their stores.
Ultimately, every new and existing vendor is measured on three criteria: performance, transparency, and customer service.
Building a Relationship & Delivering Results
JT had seen TradePending’s Payments product on a few other sites and eventually spent time to understand the full capabilities. Passing this initial screening, AMG installed Payments on a few of their client’s websites to gauge performance and support.
Payments, a payment calculator plugin for dealers’ websites, makes it simple and easy for consumers to understand their buying power. “With a car purchase being one of the most impactful financial decisions a customer makes, we always want car shoppers to feel at ease and comfortable. Payments deliver a smooth customer experience that is friendly and transparent to the buyer.”
TradePending’s award-winning customer service team also met AMG’s requirements. “When we needed assistance from their support team, they were quick and responsive. They met and exceeded our criteria right from the start.”
On the topic of performance: “What we want to see from products like Payments is a better, more transparent experience for dealers and consumers, generating similar or better results,” says JT. “We immediately saw an increase in leads, and the closing rates held steady.”
“We’ve worked with clients that adopted the full buy-a-car-online platform. We’ve put Payments side-by-side with these larger, more costly solutions. Within weeks as the results come in, our client is canceling these big platforms in favor of Payments, which brings them three times more leads and opportunities.”
“Today, TradePending is a top recommendation for our clientele. They deliver results at a very fair price. Our customers get three times the number of quality leads while maintaining their closing ratios, and they get it for substantially less than full-blown online car buying platforms. Why would you use anything else?”
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