My First Week at LotLinx: Intoxicating … and Strangely Therapeutic
It’s late Friday night, the end of my first week as LotLinx’s new VP of Marketing. I can barely keep my eyes open, let alone string coherent thoughts together, given how high-octane these last 5 days have been. I am running on pure adrenaline and caffeine right now, if you want to know the truth.
But I did want to jot down my feelings of head-to-toe excitement at becoming a ‘Linxer. This company is truly transforming automotive digital marketing and I couldn’t be more delighted to be here. Although my reasons for loving LotLinx would fill up Lake Michigan – a fantastic product, a management team that oozes integrity, a zealous focus on the customer – perhaps the most important reason is that I once owned my own business, too, and I wish there had been a company like LotLinx around to help me succeed.
You see, in 2003, I bought my own day spa in California. I went from a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 marketing job in corporate America to working 75 hours a week, doing everything from answering the phones, to running payroll, to hooking up wireless routers, to fielding customer complaints, to selling skin creams, to dealing with sick employees. I even cleaned the bathrooms every Saturday morning after a particularly incontinent customer would come through and destroy it. Yep, she’d aim for the toilet and miss—every time.
The point is, I had NO TIME to do anything, let alone digital marketing. I may have had marketing expertise from my corporate job, but digital marketing was nascent back then. I was used to traditional channels: trade shows, print ads in telecommunications magazines, our web site, PR, and an email newsletter (before the days of marketing automation, mind you). I didn’t understand the alphabet soup of digital marketing terms – SEO, SEM, PPC, GA, etc., and there was no one around to explain it to me.
Consequently, I made every mistake in the book. I must have been swindled a gajillion times – by every person who emailed me telling me that they could get my website ranked on the first page of Google, by those Groupon-like services who drove foot traffic to my spa by selling my services at a steep discount and then giving me a small cut of that. I was bewildered by the behemoth that was Google; I set up AdWords and sunk money into PPC, but didn’t understand the inner workings of local search, bidding, day-parting, or even that you shouldn’t be driving people directly to your home page because they’re just going to bounce off when they don’t find exactly what they want. Yep, it was a mighty struggle.
If a company like LotLinx had come along and said to me, “Would you like us to send customers who are searching for ‘Massage 95070’ or ‘Facial 95008’ directly to your appointment booking page,” I would have snatched that contract out of my salesperson’s hands, signed it, and then named my firstborn child after him. If a company like LotLinx had assigned me my own digital strategist who would explain Google Analytics to me, run reports for me, and hold my hand through campaign setup, I would have quite literally exploded with joy.
But there was no LotLinx back then – for car dealers, spa owners, or anybody. I didn’t have time to find help either, because in addition to running the business, I had 15 people a day come in to sell me something – new spa products that made women look and feel decades younger, new spa software, new credit card machines, new payroll services providers, new places to advertise, etc. I barely had time to answer the call of Nature, let alone sit down and properly examine everything.
It was lonely, and it was scary, and I went to bed every night asking myself, “How the heck am I supposed to be allocating my hard-earned (and rapidly shrinking) money towards all these things, and how do I know I’m going to have anything to show for it?” (As it turns out, I didn’t have anything to show for it, because in 2010, my business went bust).
So coming to LotLinx is therapeutic for me, because it gives me the chance to say to someone like my former self, “Hey, help is here! I’m going to earn your trust, then I’m going to teach you, and then I’m going to walk beside you on your journey every step of the way. And together, we are going to figure it out. I’m here to serve.”
Though the car business is no day at the spa (I’m new, but even I know know that already), retailing has some common themes. So dealers, I can’t wait to meet you, I’m looking forward to our conversations, and I am always open to your feedback.