Michelle Morris has been nudging auto retailing into the digital age for nearly a decade.
When she joined Google at its Detroit office in 2006, the industry was barely aware of opportunities to reach shoppers on the search engine.
"Nobody knew what search was," she said.
After seven years of devising ad strategies at Google, Morris was recruited by Facebook to lead its automotive marketing efforts in Detroit.
She is now leading a team that is trying to change how automotive brands and dealerships see Facebook. That is, not as a social club but as a mobile-friendly advertising platform with a ton of user-supplied data for targeting car shoppers. "We reach a vast audience," Morris said.
Morris has promoted the power of digital at numerous dealer and industry forums. The Michigan State University graduate started at staffing company Kelly Services before joining Chrysler ad agency BBDO in 1998.
At BBDO, she even worked to incorporate the 2005 Chrysler 300C sedan and 2005 Dodge Magnum into video games. Now, she's proselytizing for mobile, the screen whereby Facebook generates 69 percent of its ad revenue.
"You have to be where people are spending the majority of their time," she said.
-- David Barkholz