Agency Q&A: How PureCars Partners with Knowtion for Success
PureCars has the pleasure of partnering with Sanjay Parker and his team at Knowtion, Inc.; together we help the auto industry thrive by driving successful outcomes for dealers around the country. I recently spoke with Sanjay to learn more about how he partners with PureCars, and how we have helped his clients sell more cars and grow market share.
Thank you for sitting down with me today, Sanjay. To kick things off, tell me about yourself and your agency?
I spent 20 years working for Fortune 500 companies. At Xerox, I was the VP of Thought Leadership and Innovation, and we used technology and automation to trim from 220,000 people to 110,000 in 3 years. I decided to try to earn back my soul by doing something different.
January 2017, I founded Knowtion. My goal was to use technology to enable people to focus on what they’re best at, instead of replacing them. Humans do things very well – like relationships, large-frame pattern recognition, and creative writing. I did not want my employees to constantly worry about having their jobs replaced. Three years later, we’re doing very well and growing, right now we have five full-time employees, six independent contractors, and a joint venture in India with five gifted programmers. What we do is apply technology in fundamentally sound and innovative ways to help companies operate, measure and grow their business.
There are a lot of agencies that understand design and creative, but not tech; and a lot of companies that understand tech and analytics but not the design or creative side. By using technology and our own human capital, we bridge that gap for our clients.
What we do at Knowtion is really workforce augmentation. When you’re a dealership you have everyone focused on doing their job. It’s hard to hire the cutting-edge person to look after your digital presence, technologies and expenses, and that’s where we come in. In almost all cases, the relationship is so tight that we feel like we are employees of the dealership. We care about the money they spend and treat it like it’s our own.
What challenges or pain points did you encounter before partnering with PureCars?
Let’s see, my first exposure to you guys was in 2018. We formalized our relationship in September 2019, I believe, because we were seeing PureCars work at multiple dealerships we worked with. Frankly, PureCars makes me look good by doing what they do so well.
One important thing we do is attribution modeling and analytics, finding the voice of the customer and what they want, what models they want to market and which they don’t care about. Understanding what they want to market and their audience, and we hold their vendors accountable with analytics.
How has PureCars helped you achieve clients’ goals and overcome challenges?
Fundamentally, one of the aspects that was really good about PureCars even before we had the relationship was that there was transparency about their data so we could view everything. Not all vendors do that. What we found was that it’s really good stuff and the spend works on everything. Social is amazing; and the SEM side is really good.
PureCars is a strong partner that is interested in helping the dealerships they serve and to demonstrate their impact with metrics. We are always able to pull their data into our agnostic dashboards to show what works best and what kind of spend is really resonating in specific geos, OEM brands and markets. Being that data-driven agency, there’s only truth in data for us when we talk about strategy.
When PureCars came along, instead of having to spend 2 hours a week going through what to do on this ad, or where to shift this spend, the data did that for us. PureCars are the only ones who do inventory-based, algorithmic marketing.
Do you have any examples of times that PureCars has been a key game changer for Knowtion or one of your clients?
When we first worked with PureCars at a Subaru Dealership, we were intrigued that they were algorithm based, and they proved it quickly. However, their approach is not ‘set and forget’. In the first 2 weeks, our PureCars Rep made more changes and tweaks to the account than anyone else had in the past two years.
When you go into these dealerships, vendors can and will say anything, but when we go into dealerships we talk about measurement, return on ad spend (ROAS), blue ocean strategy to differentiate and other things like that. The way we come in and partner with dealers, they trust us to make those difficult marketing decisions on their behalf.
Another example, and this just happened a few weeks ago, is the type of thing I lose sleep over. I met with the GM for a first time review of their data and strategy. While I was new to this dealership, they knew our impact with several others and dropped me right into a vendor meeting. The vendor asked to get feedback on the current spend allocation, and the GM told the vendor that I’d be making all decisions going forward. The trust is flattering, but at that point we are impacting vendors, dealership profits, and ultimately salaries. We never take these decisions lightly, and again, relying on data, we make sure we get it right the first time.
Additionally, we make sure we have full communications with all vendors of a dealership to manage swimlanes and to be up front about KPIs and how we will measure. Almost any vendor can do well if you manage them and tell them what to do and how to do better. There are some vendors though that are better natively and have better technology and that’s why we like PureCars. Every dealership we’ve brought PureCars into has done significantly better.
PureCars across 6-7 of the dealerships for one group have never failed us when we bring them in and I know I can count on the team. They know that I’m going to come to the team and say they want to do this and work with them. With our relationship working so well, it boils down to the people. Having that partnership isn’t just the paper agreement it’s the relationship between the teams. For example, Mike Ruhland has pulled levers to launch campaigns for clients within days, versus weeks, when it meant a lot to a struggling dealership. This attention to the client’s needs is exceptional.
What’s Next? How do you see your relationship with PureCars growing and evolving from here?
Our goal is to leverage PureCars to help us scale. We’ve hired some new talent and there’s a lot of digesting and tweaking and tuning has to be done on a regular basis. One of things that we don’t have to worry about is that with any given spend, PureCars will perform as well and better than anyone else in that space. Our dealers are seeing big growth in social thanks to Knowtion and PureCars, which is one of their most important channels.
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