LotLinx has named digital-marketing veteran Mark Boyd its vice chairman and chief revenue officer.
Boyd burst into the automotive retailing scene in 1986 with price configuration technology from his company Chrome Data. He became a player in the online retail space, founding or investing in lead-providers such as Cargigi and Dealix. He was an early investor in LotLinx and joined its board of directors in 2012 -- the year it was founded.
LotLinx technology attempts to drive business for dealers by enabling online consumers to go directly from ads and paid search listings to inventory pages on dealers’ websites. The company’s goal is to expedite the shopping process for consumers who are near a purchase decision.
The Chicago-based company recently expanded its “deeplinking” technology to Facebook, where its ads will send consumers to dealer inventories from their newsfeeds.
“With our patent and our years in the business, we’ve accelerated growth, but we’re not growing fast enough. We want to get the word out to all the dealers and that’s why I’ve come on board,” Boyd, 57, said in an interview. “I think we’re going to be able to do that in a faster way.”
Boyd said he launched Chrome Data in 1986 in his garage with a vintage PC and floppy disk. The company created PC Carbook, one of the first configuration technologies to price vehicles.
After getting 1,000 dealers to buy his technology, Boyd presented it to Chevrolet, which bought it for its 4,600 dealers sometime around 1994 or 1995. Chrome Data was later sold to Dealertrack.
“We built the company over 16 years making every mistake in business you could possibly make,” Boyd said. “We scraped and clawed.”
Today, Chrome Data’s site says the company specializes in “collecting, standardizing, enhancing and syndicating raw automotive data and delivering it in innovative ways to streamline integration into diverse applications.” The company provides services to aid vehicle configuration and comparisons, vehicle descriptions and incentives among other areas.
Boyd joined lead-provider Dealix in 2000 as its executive vice president of strategy when it was known as invoicedealers.com. He said the company was running out of money at the time with only $10,000 in the bank, so he invested in the company and helped it grow as they built relationships with dealers.
Dealix was bought by digital marketing company Cobalt in 2004. It was sold again in 2015 to rival Autobytel.
Boyd said dealer websites in the early 2000s -- for stores that even had them -- were fledging operations.
“That was when dealers didn’t do a good job of merchandising their websites. A lot of them didn’t have websites. The ones that did were just placeholders. ‘Here’s the map and here’s our phone number,’ but it didn’t have any inventory up there,” Boyd said, adding: “That’s why back in the day, the lead model really worked. Today, the lead model is dead. 98 percent of consumers don’t fill out a lead. They click away.”
Boyd moved on to start lead-provider, Cargigi, which was sold to eBay in March.
LotLinx says Boyd is a “frequent investor in and advisor to” companies such as TrueCar.com, DrivingSales.com, CarJockey, Ignition Auto Marketing and CarGurus.
Boyd said one the biggest challenges for dealers today in the digital marketing space is dealing with the volume of vendors coming at them with products.
“Dealers are faced with all these things out there that are flying at them,” he said. “They don’t know where to go, they don’t know what to do.”