Ashley Dias, 30
Manager of customer marketing, AutoNation Inc.
In two years, nearly 100,000 customers have opted in to AutoNation Inc.’s text messaging program, which has generated more than 1,000 vehicle sales and more than 56,000 service repair orders for the auto retail giant.
The program is Ashley Dias’ creation. Dias, who started at AutoNation in 2016, oversees email, direct mail and text messaging marketing communications for the nation’s largest new-vehicle retailer.
Referring to the texting project as “her baby,” Dias said it involved figuring out a lot of technology and connecting with AutoNation’s customer database, plus working with the retailer’s legal department and data partners “before we even got to send our first text message.”
“There were so many moving pieces and organizing that was the challenging part of it but also the most rewarding part of it,” Dias said.
Customers may receive texts for service appointment reminders, recall notifications and service work recommendations. They also get AutoNation coupons that can be saved on cellphone mobile wallets.
Dias, who has an MBA and enjoys video gaming in her spare time, joined AutoNation as an email marketing specialist after working at a small marketing firm. She was promoted to her current position in February.
Last year, Dias also designed and launched a marketing program with traffic app Waze that pinpoints AutoNation stores along a driver’s route and shows AutoNation ads when they get close to a dealership.
Dias, a “big-time Waze user,” said the idea came to her after seeing brand ads during her commute. She thought, “Oh, it would be so cool if people could see us pop up.”
The Waze-AutoNation collaboration went live this year in two markets — South Florida and Atlanta — but was shut off during the coronavirus pandemic. Dias said a relaunch is slated for this month. The tool has generated 3 million brand impressions and nearly 2,000 visits to AutoNation stores, she said.
Dias aims to continue building her marketing career with AutoNation. Dias, whose mother’s cousin died from breast cancer, said the retailer’s Drive Pink campaign to raise money for cancer research sold her on joining the company.
“I just love overall doing strategy for marketing, and I love connecting the dots,” she said.
— Melissa Burden