Anthony Jaime, 45
Senior group manager, interactive marketing, Hyundai Motor America
Big break: While working at an ad agency, Jaime had a client for many years who was mentoring him “without me really knowing about it.”
If there’s one thing that’s critical to the success of an automotive brand with online retailing, it’s the web portal, especially in the COVID-19 era when digital sales have grown because of social distancing norms.
Shoppers want to learn about vehicles, build their dream car before stepping foot in a showroom, see what inventory is available and understand special offers.
You don’t just hand over a major website redesign to anyone. You hand it over to a professional like Anthony Jaime, senior group manager for interactive marketing at Hyundai Motor America,. Hyundai aims to drive sales directly to retailers through a web portal that keeps buyers engaged.
“We can’t sell cars on the website, but we can educate and inspire consumers to think of us first when it comes time for them to buy a car,” Jaime said.
A ground-up redesign of Hyundai’s website went live in February — the first time a complete overhaul had been done in nine years. Jaime worked on it for two years, almost half of the time he’s spent at the automaker after working at Mazda’s ad agency, Garage Team Mazda, where he was digital account director for nearly three years.
“It was a sprint, but it was two years of a sprint,” he said of the website. “It is something that we’re very proud of, but time will tell whether we’ve made good decisions. And if we haven’t, hopefully we’ll learn from them quickly and optimize to correct them.”
More recently, Jaime was tasked with expanding dealer adoption of digital tools as online sales jumped in response to social distancing measures. All of Hyundai’s retailers now have those tools.
Luckily, Jaime had already completed the website overhaul. The goal was to clear out the clutter and help consumers do their research, he said.
There was some expectation that shutting off the old website and turning on the new one would cause an initial downturn in traffic. But that hasn’t happened. Organic search has increased, lead volume has stayed the same, and traffic hasn’t dipped, Jaime said.
Another innovation from Jaime and his team: the first video-chat showroom from an automaker in the U.S., where consumers can watch a product specialist demonstrate vehicle features. Consumers can ask questions without giving personal information and get answers in real time.
Jaime, who has extensive experience at agencies such as Marshall Advertising & Design, said his Hyundai job is the first time he’s worked on the client side of the marketing business. Luckily, Jaime had a mentor for many years who was preparing him by indirectly teaching him leadership and team-building skills.
His mentor was “respectful of everyone no matter what your job title was. Fair in understanding certain timelines or deadlines. But at the same, he also required accountability,” Jaime said. He has shared those values “with my team here on the client side at Hyundai for the last four-plus years.”
— Laurence Iliff