Chief marketing officer, Jones Junction
When new-vehicle inventory began to dwindle last year, dealership marketing teams had a choice: Pull back on ad budgets with so few cars to sell or keep spending to promote what was available.
Jeffrey Ramsey chose the latter. As chief marketing officer at Jones Junction in Bel Air, Md., Ramsey’s job was to promote his group’s brand, its staff and its community connections. Then the pandemic hit, followed by a shortage of critical semiconductors that slowed down production, and Jones Junction was turning its inventory so fast that the group was earning more vehicles to sell from its automakers.
To keep the allocation pipeline flowing, Ramsey said, he needed to continue to let customers know that vehicles were coming.
“Now part of our branding is we have inventory,” he said.
Along with the shift in message, Ramsey also changed how he gauges success with marketing campaigns. Previously, he measured website visits, not the shoppers themselves. Now, he said, he focuses more on bringing those shoppers back to Jones Junction’s website and keeping them engaged — increasing the likelihood they’ll become buyers.
Ramsey said he is proud of that shift in approach and noted its success: Leads, phone calls, floor traffic, “absolutely everything went up.”
Sales of combined new and used vehicles set a record in 2020 and again in 2021, mostly driven by used vehicles, Ramsey said. He said the group’s sales growth is the result of a broader rethinking about marketing.
When he joined Jones Junction five years ago, Ramsey was a marketing team of one, so he outsourced social media content to keep those channels full. In time, he began to post some content himself, featuring an employee’s birthday or showcasing a particular vehicle. He discovered that those posts led to more interaction.
Soon Jones Junction hired a graphic designer and a full-time social media specialist to join Ramsey’s team. Some marketing work remains with a third-party provider because of automaker partnerships, he said, but the majority now is done in house.
“You can spend a million dollars and get an ad in front of people that they just run past,” Ramsey said. “All the graphics that we put up are done at Jones, and so that’s where our advertising excels because it’s all custom. It’s not something that was done at a location outside of our group. The people involved in our ads work here.”
In late June, Ramsey left his role at Jones Junction. He was scheduled to start last week as variable operations director at Ourisman Automotive Group of Rockville, Md.
— Lindsay VanHulle