Megan Desideri

POSITION:Marketing manager, Niello Co.
ACHIEVEMENT: Using creative events, among other marketing tools, to build customer relationships

The marketing side of the car business is an evolving challenge for Megan Desideri, but that's why she loves it.

Desideri is the marketing manager for Niello Co., a northern California dealership group with 15 dealerships selling 13 brands, including Jaguar, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Acura and Maserati. The group's Niello Porsche store, in Rocklin, Calif., was one of 10 dealerships to appear on each of Automotive News' four annual lists of the 100 Best Dealerships To Work For.

With so many brands on her plate, Desideri constantly has to shift her focus.

One minute she's developing social media and online plans to attract consumers to the Volkswagen Jetta. An hour later, she might set her sights on the launch of the new Maserati Levante SUV.

Desideri has worked for the company for about seven years. She didn't know much about the auto industry going in, but the fast pace was addictive once she got her feet wet. She had previously worked in the marketing department for a national home building company for five years.

"I went in blindly to an extent," said Desideri, who has to balance her work and home life as a mother of a daughter, 5, and son, 2. "Little did I know that the pace was incredible, [with] the variety of the products and customer interaction."

Event marketing is a major piece of the dealership group's outreach efforts. Desideri organized 109 events for the group in 2015, 71 of which had a charitable component.

In May, for example, Niello's Jaguar Sacramento store participated in the brand's national string of exclusive customer events to introduce the XE sedan and Jaguar's first crossover, the F-Pace.

While some Jaguar stores had low-key gatherings at their stores, Jaguar Sacramento had a party, which featured a San Francisco DJ, in an airplane hangar for around 150 customers and prospects.

The hangar party stood out to Jaguar, which made sure to highlight the event in a press release that detailed the broader national promotion.

"We are continuously in the minds of our customers," Desideri said. "Events are a great way of doing it because we can present ourselves on a company platform. We can present products; we can present all sorts of different things and do it in such a fashion that makes people remember who the Niello Co. [is]."

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