2018 40 Under 40
Digital marketing manager, Ballweg Automotive Cos.
Achievement: Implemented key digital marketing strategies within auto group
Jessica Minnihan settled into her digital marketing manager role at Ballweg Automotive Cos. in 2015 after spending her early career on both the dealership and vendor sides of the industry.Ballweg, based in Sauk City, Wis., initially hired Minnihan to cover three stores, but quickly asked her to take on all six of Ballweg's dealerships in three states. She works out of one of the group's Toyota stores in Wausau, Wis. Minnihan began by analyzing each store's digital strategy to gauge customer engagement and evaluated vendors to hold them more accountable for results. She also redesigned each store's website.By creating custom landing pages for digital advertisements, Minnihan increased the six stores' average customer online visit to over five minutes per session, with customers also visiting over five web pages per session. Those numbers were an improvement, Minnihan says, but it was difficult to say by how much. She addressed that question by implementing the group's key digital strategies of engagement goals and analytics tracking. She believes the key to success is focusing on online consumer engagement — not just sales leads.In 2015, Minnihan began the process of taking four stores' advertisement spending completely digital and cutting traditional marketing. The most important part of making that change work was earning the trust of the stores' general managers.Going digital has saved the four stores about $120,000 total a year."One of the first things I did was analyze the digital strategy at each location, implement proper tracking, and educate the management on what seemed to be working and not working," Minnihan said. "This allowed me to build relationships with our management teams and gain the trust to make changes based on data."