•Shaping Your Customer Experience Using Technology and Leadership•
We had such an enlightening conversation with Subi about her digital marketing career and how leadership and training can build stronger sales teams that are equipped to respond successfully to today’s changing retail environment. A founding member of Women in Automotive, Subi is passionate about moving the industry forward by actively participating, challenging, and educating dealers on elevating culture, internal procedures, and the consumer experience.
Subi tells us about her journey working in automotive dealerships with positions as Internet Director and Director of Sales and E-Commerce; and how this valuable in-house experience helped her transition to a consultant on the vendor side. In her current position with Stream Companies, she is responsible for delivering products and services that help simplify data and turn intricate targeting segmentation into branding and marketing strategies for measurable results.
Subi believes in giving back, and she shares inspirational personal growth stories about how she went from being shy and content to finding her voice and power and how she learned to tune out the noise and rise above the chatter.
Subi Fernando Ghosh Senior Director of Dealer Strategy Stream Companies
Lessons you will learn from this podcast:
- How using data poorly can turn the consumer off and negate the power of technology
- Why your company’s culture is costing you sales, what leaders need to know
- Social & viral campaigns from successful brands that challenge like @wendys
- How social media is flipping the sales process on its head and how to adjust to the change
- The energy of a movement that is infusing diversity, opportunity, and fresh ideas into a male-dominated industry
- The right questions leaders need to ask and how to courageously act upon the answers
- How your region, your market, your people, and your customers are defining your brand
- How to go from pizza and rah-rah to a real company culture that affects sales
- Understanding search patterns for better customer engagement
- How setting intentions and themes for the year can help you channel energy and resources
>> Congratulations! You’ve joined the show-runner marketing podcast. A network of accomplished business women who are running the show. Here, you’ll find the inspiration and the inside information you need to take your marketing strategies to the next level. Bringing her thirst for continued learning and her 25 years of experience as founder and president of ad agency, Advanced Marketing Strategies, here’s your host, Kathy Cunningham.
>> Hi everybody, it’s Kathy. And today we’re networking with Subi Fernando Ghosh. She’s the senior director of dealer strategies at Stream Companies. A founding member of Women in Automotive, Subi is passionate about moving the industry forward by actively participating, challenging, and educating dealers on elevating the culture, the customer experience, and the internal procedures. Subi started her journey working in automotive dealerships with positions as Internet director, director of sales, and e-commerce. This in-house experience helped her transition to a consultant to dealers as EVP of Dealer Authority, an Internet marketing company. And now her current position with Stream Companies where her responsibilities include assisting in product and service development, training, industry relations, and marketing. I met Subi at the Women in Automotive conference last year. And I was so blown away by the positive experience to learn, meet, and network with some of the most successful women in the industry. Subi and her movement are really making a difference. Subi, welcome to the Show Runner Network.
>> Thank you so much for having me, and that introduction. It always surprises me when I hear other people talk about what I’ve done and definitely an awkward experience, but awesome, thank you.
>> Well, you know, I just gave our listeners a little bit of your background. I know it sounded fantastic, but I know I’d like to have you tell us a little bit more about your professional journey and your background in marketing and business. Oh, wow. Well, it’s [LAUGH] I feel like I’m one of those people, which is probably the majority, that just kind of accidentally fell into automotive. I was just in school trying to make some money to get through it, and fell in love with marketing and advertising in that role that I was in. And then it just kind of grew from there. I was just really passionate and I wanted to learn as much as I could. I wasn’t someone who could be satisfied at a job for a very long time when I was younger, and this job was constantly new, and exciting and different. We had something new to work on at all times, and something new to learn, with how quickly technology was advancing. And social media had just kind of changed the atmosphere of the retail environment, so I was very, very interested and that kinda kept me hungry to learn more and more. And it kind of went from there. I got recruited out from my original automotive group and really invested more into the advertising world. And I just love it.
>> Working in marketing in the automotive field is so exciting because it’s such a fast pace.
>> It really is. It absolutely is. What they’re learning in school, they can’t even keep up with by the time you graduate. It’s such an interesting field, but to be actively involved in it and watching the transformation over the last 10 years and how technology and the social realm have kinda evolved the consumer experience and the journey. And how we, as advertisers, have to keep up with that and constantly learn, and apply, and test, and retest. I mean, 70 different companies can be applying the same exact service with their own flair based on their experiences of how they are interacting with these interesting, intricate algorithms. It’s fantastic to watch this all evolve in front of us and be a part of it.
>> Yeah, and it’s a very competitive business too because there’s a lot of brands vying for consumer attention and they’re a lot alike. So branding becomes a real big part of that.
>> Oh, absolutely. The brand message who we are, how we want to position ourselves is exceptionally important. Especially in the retail world and specifically automotive with dealerships having the exact same product as so many of their competitors within probably a 30-mile radius with maybe little limited changes between franchises in the consumer’s perspective. So, that brand message creating a community that understands who you are and engaging with that community through that brand is crucial and challenging to a lot of smaller retail shops in this space that’s so designed to pay attention to the larger voices.
>> Yeah, that is so true. Well, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing right now with your clients. What are some of the most critical and challenging things that you’re helping them with regards to Internet marketing?
>> Oh, wow. Right now, I think the biggest challenge is that consumer experience. And staying competitive and communicating with them when they’re so bombarded by so many things. Targeting has gotten really, really intricate to the point where we can identify someone who’s interested in a very specific thing and give them a specific message based on research patterns, even down to the minute. So, understanding how to utilize the technology and the data that’s out there, not just in automotive but definitely in automotive, we kinda take these really cool shiny objects and then we overdo it. We kinda bastardized the concepts and then dilute it. And what ends up happening is that we lose the buy-in of the organizations. And then we also lose the buy-in of the community because when we’re using these creative cool technologies and opportunities in data and use them poorly, then the consumers just become kind of, they mute it all, they don’t pay attention to anything. So, I think right now the challenge is there’s so much technology and opportunity out there, finding the right partners and the right people in-house to help utilize and deploy these awesome technologies of targeting. But then also pairing that with your actual experience. Leadership and culture and communication are very, very important now, I feel, more than ever before.
>> So there’s so much technology and data available is what you’re saying but really what you’re helping your clients do is really navigate through all that and use these tools to the best of their ability. Because you don’t want to use them incorrectly cuz they can have an opposite effect it sounds like what you’re saying?
>> Absolutely, we’ve seen people with incredible databases with emails and so much opportunity with their own data management providers. They have so much content in there and details on their customers. But then they take the entire list and then they blast them month in and month out. And suddenly the customers don’t wanna hear from them anymore, and this huge list becomes unusable. So finding, it’s one of the reasons why I really love Stream, my company. What we do is we identify these opportunities, and we simplify it. And then make it really actionable and then constantly test it. So it’s never a set it and forget it kind of place. So really identifying the right technology to use, at the right time, with the right message and really segmenting all that stuff out is challenging. But it isn’t as long as you’re willing to pay attention to it.
>> Yeah, it sounds like you’re bringing a really important service to your clients and helping them utilize this technology and this data. It sounds great.
>> I hope so.
>> [LAUGH] I think that my clients would agree. But it’s one of those things that you have to constantly communicate and I think that’s a difference maker in a lot of the providers right now. The
ones that are wanting to spend the time in having great conversations and partnerships, they’re the ones that are seeing their clients succeed. Anyone who’s just providing a technology or service and then letting it be, it’s just not that day and age where we can let that happen anymore.
>> Yeah and so it sounds like you’re really forming a great partnership with your clients. And so talk to us about that partnership that you have with them. What about customer service and training issues? What kind of issues there you are working with your clients for 2019?
>> This is a whole other podcast on its own [LAUGH].
>> Great, I’ll mark that down [LAUGH].
>> Yeah, so with consumer experience, I think it’s a holistic picture, right? So we can’t just Identify the problem, and fix it when it comes to consumer experience in one specific area. It’s typically many more departments and many more things that we have to focus on. And I think it all stems back to one, leadership. We’re not often putting the right people in the right seats with the right responsibilities. Or we’re often putting them in poor positions to succeed. And they may be great, loyal, smart, but if they’re in the wrong position they’re not gonna succeed. It doesn’t work for them. Oh, sorry, my computer totally just, can you see me?
>> Yeah, yeah, the light did dim a little bit, yes, but we can still see you.
>> Okay, sorry-
>> Do you want to go back and ask that question again?
>> [LAUGH] No, I think you did good, I think you did good. We’re talking about what customer service and training issues you’re working on for 2019 and you were telling us a little bit about that.
>> Oh dear, yes, so when it comes to the consumer experience, I tie culture and consumer experience together all the time. And what happens is these two concepts are kinda back burner topics for an industry or a retail environment that’s so focused on the unit, and the day, and the numbers, and the week, and what we need to hit this month. But they don’t realize that each of these concepts really affect their bottom line. They do in essence stop them from making multiple sales.
And so looking at the culture, reviewing if we have the right people in the right places. Do we have any toxicity? Do we have any communication blocks? Because essentially what happens internally always, always, always kinda drips out into the external community. How your employees feel when they’re engaging with those customers is going to end up affecting that customer-employee relationship. So culture is super important and the consumer experience. Both of those things, having an actual plan and strategy and making it something that you’re focused on, makes a huge difference. And it can be simple little things but it starts with just listening. But I think that the main thing that I talk to everyone about, are you listening to your employees? Are you asking the questions and actively listening or you’re just making them feel listened to? Because you can ask that question every month for 12 months. And if you’re not doing anything by month three, they’re not gonna really give you any real answers anymore. So actively listening and creating solutions to be able to get their buy-in is, I think is something that really impact sales.
>> Yeah, well it’s such a great lesson that you’re sharing with us today and that is how a culture really affects the consumer experience. And it’s all the way from the leadership down to the people
in front of the consumer, so all of that ties in. And how leaders need to listen to their employees so that they’re providing the atmosphere to deliver the consumer experience that we’re all trying to.
>> Yeah, and I think what retail environments get wrong in this day and age when the hustle and the grind are all such common hot topics. Mind you, there are people that are doing it right. But what people get wrong about culture is it’s not just about the rah-rah make them feel good kind of environment. It’s about, do we have structures in place? Do people feel like they know what to do if something is troubling them? Is there a plan of escalation? Do they know what their expectations are? Do they feel properly armed and trained to deal with any of their responsibilities? It’s more than just that good feeling. But it’s also making sure that your employees are coming to work, excited, and armed for whatever is on their list that day. And unfortunately a lot of times, we have structure without paying attention to their needs and or we have these fun you can have pizza and beer on Fridays. But that structure isn’t there. And especially if we’re talking to millenials and Gen Z which make up a significant portion of the workforce, we’re losing them in automotive. And so stimulating these conversations is my way of trying to impact this industry that I love so very much.
>> Well, it sounds like you’re going about this in a really positive way. And I know that all of these ideas that you have are really, I hate to say this, but quite new to the automotive industry. And it’s something again that goes back to what we were talking about branding because they’re very similar to their competition. So they can really differentiate themselves through their customer experience. And that goes back to the culture and it goes back to the trainee, it goes back to the leaders.
>> Yeah, [COUGH] excuse me. Yeah, it’s not something that I think gets rolled out, sorry. Could you go back and ask the question one more time?
>> [LAUGH] Yeah, so it sounds like that all really affects the customer service at the point of sale.
>> Yes, it affects a customer throughout the entire process to be, I mean, if we’re gonna be frank, social media has kind of changed the way that that typical retail experience works. A lot of times, and what I used to do about ten years ago, when social media was just coming out and people were starting to use it for business, I started using it in my dealership. And what I found out was when I posted humanizing content, when I shared what our process was, when I explained what the process was through our social channels and stimulated conversations with them in a social environment or even just a less aggressive environment, that the walls that they have up traditionally would kind of decrease by the time they came in, which made the clues a lot easier. So if we shared a little Bit more of ourselves, and not only through social, but in our brand message, in our website, in our email correspondence, and in our phone calls. If we incorporated that throughout the phrases that we use with our customers, what I find is that in my clients and partners, those walls come down, and that typical sales process becomes shorter and/or a better experience overall. That’s just one of the tactics, but I think, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. All we have to do is just tweak it a little bit, and add a little bit more of that human factor. I don’t understand why we have this talking point that’s gone around automotive equipment like customers haven’t changed. That’s not entirely true. The core basics of what they want, what they’re looking for and how they engage haven’t changed. The way that they engage with the world has. The way that we engage with the world has changed. So why wouldn’t we assume that the way they wanna engage with us is different, but they’re doing the same thing because we’re doing the same thing? If we’re presenting the exact same dinosaur process, and the exact same exchange, of course they’re gonna engage with us that way. So flip them on their head and try something different. I think you’d be surprised how many times that automotive sales process, that we’re so programmed to behave in, can totally, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as we make it, but we’re the controllers of that, not the customer.
>> Yeah, and I think that traditionally, it’s been a very combative relationship.
>> It has.
>> Between salesperson and customer. And what I’m hearing you say is that you’re really asking your dealers to give more of themselves in the conversation. And I love how you are using social media to do that. Because you’re building rapport. Because you’re starting on social media, and so you’re coming at it from a different kind of a conversation anyways. And that’s changed, so you’re right, things are changing. But then by the time I get into the dealership, I’m already a little more relaxed, so I’m not so ready for combat. And if the salesperson is not so ready for combat, then we’re actually coming together at a different level, and as you say, the sales process is easier and faster and quicker, cuz we kinda break down some of those barriers that have built up over the years.
>> Yeah, and the best way to change these archaic traditions, if you will, that we’ve set in stone. Is to be that agent of change, to kind of make them think differently, and I think a lot of times we make it all about our advertising, and we say we are different, we’re different, we’re different. But we’re not really proving to them that we’re different, because all the messaging they hear, it doesn’t feel that way when they walk in. And that’s kind of the worst thing that you can do in a super socially connected community.
>> Yeah, and you know what, it just hit me. We were talking about this the other day in a meeting that we were having. And someone was presenting an idea. And the idea was that you can’t change an industry from inside the industry. And I’m really seeing what you’re doing, because you used to be inside that industry, working at a dealership. And now you’ve stepped out as a consultant, looking in, and so I can really see how you’re helping to change the industry from your perspective.
>> Well, thank you. I think you’re giving me far too much credit.
>> There’s a lot of people who’ve made that transition. And I’ve always told myself that, you know, I want to kind of get back into the dealership. But for right now, I feel like I’m impacting a lot more, and kind of forcing them, challenging them to think differently. And I kinda love what I’m doing. And I have a lot of colleagues that kinda do the same thing. They’ve made the transition, and they’re trying to challenge more people than the one boss that they had. Because, you know, on this side you get a lot more exposure to people to try to change that. You know, we do what we can, and hopefully we’re making some sort of progress. But I think the more we talk about it, and the more we challenge, the more voices that join in having the same conversation that I am, which I know there’s a ton of. The better our odds are of moving our industry forward, especially in a world where the Carvanas and the tech companies are coming out, trying to eliminate the dealership franchise model. Which I firmly believe we absolutely need, because so many customers have no idea what they’re truly looking for and what makes sense for them and their families. On top of the post sale.
That’s important as well, so.
>> Yeah. Well, I love this conversation that we’re having about challenges in the industry. So I’d like to hear you talk a little bit about women in automotive. This movement that you’ve started with your other colleagues, how is that organization changing the culture, and the expectations, and the aspirations of the automotive industry?
>> I think in a couple of ways, I don’t think I ever expected to really impact an industry this large so quickly. I mean, we’ll take every single win, but there are some big things happening, too. There’s
huge organizations that come to our event, and then go back and start these initiatives internally. We were just at the Kia HQ as board members, and we were talking to their team, and they’ve started their own initiative. And we have some awesome partners doing the same. But then we also get the one-off people that come and say, I learned something, I went back, I put it into my dealership and look at all the successes we have. So those kinds of things are incredible to hear, and it’s not one or two people. Anybody who wants to help is helping by having these conversations publicly. And what we’re finding is there are other events popping up trying to do the same thing, and some would look at that as competition. But honestly, we’ve held our arms open to anyone who wants to partner with us on this, because ultimately, the more of us that are saying, we need to change something, the better our odds are of getting heard. And to me, some of my colleagues in this mission are serious feminists. I mean, the things that they have fought for, and the things that they believe in, and the way that they’re impacting the world, are incredible. But for me, women in automotive is very important to me. But it’s also just one step. It’s the hot topic, it’s the easiest step right now. Because there are a lot of groups that don’t feel represented or heard in automotives. And I fell into this industry accidentally, but I fell in love with it and I wanna share that with other people, because I don’t know of any other industry that has such incredible opportunity for anyone, from any background, with all sorts of roles that aren’t just sale, but even then, sales is not what people think it is. So, to share that and to highlight that through women in automotive, and then, let’s use that platform to talk about, you know, minorities, millennials, all the different age categories. There’s all sorts of different people in our space. And just giving us a voice and a platform is, I think, starting to change the conversation a little bit.
>> Yeah, I really think it is starting to change the conversation, and I think it’s just, it’s just the women coming together, and because I think they look at things differently-
>> Sort of.
>> And in a male-dominated industry If those voices are not necessarily heard or used, then they are missing out on some really, really great ideas. And I think what the Women in Automotive is allowing women to do is really cultivate their ideas. And give them the strength and the confidence to go back to their dealerships and put some of this stuff in motion because it’s really good stuff.
>> Absolutely, and it also depends on, again, the culture and the structure of the environment. There are so many instances where I have felt that I didn’t have an opportunity to speak my mind and I could have helped the situation. And then once I found my voice you couldn’t shut me up.
There was a period that’s funny. When you talk to my family they cannot believe what I do for a living and how I do it. My parents came out when I spoke at NADA for the first time. And my mother was completely baffled. She’s like, you are the same person that didn’t wanna do a reading from the Bible at a wedding cuz you would stutter, and now you’re up there speaking. [COUGH] But [LAUGH] that transition has been interesting. That’s just a side note.
>> But ultimately, when we feel like we have other people to mirror, I think it makes it easier, then you’re not just fighting this fight on your own. You feel like, okay, I’m not the only one experiencing. There are other people and there’s a way to do it. But another thought that someone brought up through Women in Automotive, someone said this to us, and I’ve been repeating it over and over again because I didn’t realize it until they said it. But, for a long time, if you look at the top and you don’t see anyone like you, do you even realize that that is an opportunity for you? Because I didn’t. When I looked to the top, I didn’t see anything. I didn’t see any opportunities. So when I looked at my world, it was this bubble. And I’m like, look at this. I’m doing great, this is success. And then I
had a colleague at a sister store and she plops down this magazine in front of me. And she said, you think you’re doing well, but this girl right here that’s gonna be you someday. Because you don’t even realize that there’s a much bigger world out there and she kinda burst my little bubble and exposed me to a much larger world. And I think that’s one of the things that Women in Automotive or these types of conversations really do just expose people to all sorts of different things that you can’t see because you’re kind of focused in your bubble.
>> Yeah, I think it’s such an important conversation and I myself was blown away. I’ve been in the automotive industry almost 27 years now working with dealers. And I’ve been to NADA almost every year since then. And I would go and I would learn a lot and have a great experience. But it really wasn’t anything like the experience in Women in Automotive. And I think it might have been because, just what you’re saying, I looked around, and I saw people just like me. And I went, wow, there’s a lot of people just like me. Whereas in, when I go to NADA I’m so different from everybody. And if you’re in a room with people and there’s only one or two that are like you, I don’t care whether its race, religion, or gender, you don’t have the confidence that you do when you’re in a room, when you look around and you go, wow! Everybody here is like me, and they’re in the automotive industry, and they’re smart, and they’re energetic, and they want to make this industry better. And that was just a feeling that I’d never had before.
>> Yeah, and I was part of organizing this, so I almost felt like I should have been more prepared. But I walked into our very first event and tears filled my eyes, it’s just this feeling of camaraderie that I never had in the industry before. I mean I have some awesome mentors and awesome friends that are men but it was a very different feeling. Like, I belong here, damn it. [LAUGH] It was just a It was a feeling, I can’t explain it any other way.
>> It wasn’t just a confidence, it was a feeling, it was a movement, and being a part of something.
>> Yeah. [LAUGH]
>> And it’s really male-friendly too. I mean there wasn’t anything that was talked about in Women in Automotive. You mention the feminist side of this but there isn’t really anything about that that I felt. And even like I was looking at a video earlier this week on the Women in Automotive website. And you had a bunch of women, and they were all talking about their mentors. And of course, most of our mentors are men. I know most of mine are. And they’ve helped me in my career and taught me a lot. So it’s really interesting to mention that. This is a male-dominated industry, and now we’re also being able to be mentored by women in the business. So, again, it just opens up the conversation, it opens up the opportunity. And it allows us to learn almost in a different way, and then bring back to our dealerships and apply it.
>> Oh, absolutely, and the reason why I brought up the feminists on the board was just even on our board, there’s a spectrum of how people believe, what they believe then, and what-
>> That was a big spectrum, wasn’t it? [LAUGH]
>> I [INAUDIBLE], I can’t help it. [LAUGH] So even on our board there’s a wide spectrum of people with all their different beliefs, and background, and experiences that influence our conference and our talking points and and what we do. And I think that’s what we need to show people. There’s just
one type of women in automotive there’s so many types and on top of that-
>> You can’t make any change in a male dominated industry. We can’t take a step without having our male colleagues involved and helping us do that. I mean, we as Women in Automotive wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a lot of our male supporters sending their employees. And bringing up our name in places. It’s a group initiative for sure and men aren’t just invited, they’re welcome. They’re a part of the conversation and we’ve had some awesome contributors.
>> Yeah, you really have. It’s just a great movement. I mean, again, this is a whole other podcast. We’ll have to just talk about this, one day.
>> It’s great. I’d like for you to share some of your wisdom. Because you’ve had a unique experience. You went from the client side, dealerships to the consulting side. And I’d like to know what you noticed about the transition, and maybe how your work experience changed.
>> Wow, where do I even begin? I didn’t think it would be as hard. I talked to a lot of people during this transition. It wasn’t a move that I had wanted to make, it was one that was kind of decided for me and I had a short period of time to decide which way I wanted to go. And even though I was warned, even though I thought it through and had a ton of notes, it was still more challenging than I expected. For a couple reasons. One, when you’re on the dealer side all of the vendors in the space, especially if you’re in that ecommerce type of position, you don’t really have peers within your dealership. All of your peers are throughout the country that you network with socially and digitally and at conferences. And then, when I made that transition, so many of them that I thought were friends were actually business acquaintances that didn’t see my value anymore. And so, kind of navigating that was difficult, but more so for me. With the dealership world I think we think that it’s very chaotic, any retail environment. We have numbers to hit, and how are we gonna get there? And its just go, go, go. But the reality is it’s a structured chaos. We know what we have to do to hit those numbers. So on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, while there is some room for creativity and innovative ideas, essentially, it’s still a structured chaos. On the vendor side, it’s complete chaos.
>> You have to be organized, you have to know what your skills and your strengths and your weaknesses are, especially if you’re remote. There’s a lot of hurdles in just being remote that could be a complete, separate podcast. But, navigating that and finding myself, and my strength and my power within this world was a challenge, but also the trust factor. I’m very, very lucky that I come from the dealership world where I feel like I could easily get by in and people see that I have lived certain worlds. And I can confidently speak to them because of my life experience. But even then, the moment you’re a vendor, you’re kind of the devil when interacting with dealer. They really have negative experiences with so many of the sales people, and the account management on the vendor’s side. So overcoming those obstacles, and kind of shouting nicely, loudly enough to get them to pay attention that you have something of value to say. That, I think, surprised me the most.
>> Yeah, that surprises me too, because I would have thought immediately. Since you’d been on the client’s side that they were more welcoming of you as a vendor and that you had the inside track.
>> Yes, and I definitely, with my counterparts who have not had that, in that specific example, I
definitely have it easier. I know that for sure. But no matter what, you are still a vendor, and they’re still suspicious that you have something up your sleeve.
>> But I think that I am lucky in the way that I positioned myself as someone who, this is very awkward [LAUGH] to talk about yourself.
>> Positioning yourself as someone of authenticity that isn’t going to just sell you something to make a paycheck, but really speaks from the heart. And I think as long as you do that, you’re a lot more protected from that kind of animosity but it’ll still happen. But there are a lot of people who speak very proudly of a brand and then they job hop, and so like which one of your brands is the best, at this point.
>> [LAUGH] Right.
>> I get that, I get that that’s from experience, I understand, that they’ve been sold bad products for a long time. And there wasn’t a lot of accountability, but now it’s social and that connection that’s so easy for people to kind of reach out to all sorts of people from all different experiences throughout the country. Have you worked with this person? What do you think? It’s so easy. So just having again, bringing brand back into it. Having a solid brand helps a lot, so I mean, for people listening on the vendor’s side of things, or thinking about making that transition. Just really every action that you make has a reaction. So just keep in mind that every product that you represent, be proud of it and make sure that it stands up to the same test that you would when you were on the dealer side.
Otherwise, why should people trust you?
>> I think that’s really good advice, and I think another thing that your story helps us to understand. And thank you for sharing that, really what you’re saying is there’s chaos everywhere. [LAUGH] I mean, sometimes, we think we’re gonna change something, or we’re gonna hop from one job to the other and everything’s gonna be great. But really, it’s all about what you’re saying is be committed in the job that you’re in. And realize that moving over here, there’s a whole other set of challenges.
And for better a word chaos that you’re gonna have to deal with. So you just wanna choose your steps wisely and commit to that brand.
>> And even before you commit, vet that brand and don’t just take that, the most attractive offer of the number. Look to the places that have opportunity, look for the places that are doing it the right way. I vetted screened [LAUGH] out for so long. I went back and forth with David, one of the co founders. I probably asked him 100 questions and was nervous that he’d be like you know what, that’s one question too many. That’s enough Rose.
>> You know we’re no longer interested. Patient with me and answered every single one, and this is my barometer at this point. Now that I’ve experienced [LAUGH] to this and Dave and what he’s done. When a company can consistently give you the answer that you feel like you would have to typically fight for with other companies. I think that is a great sign. So any time I have this thought of like oh, if this is what you’re gonna do, pay attention to, can you think about, or be careful that people have done this in the past. And he’s like, yeah, done, already did that, and we’ve already considered that, and this is here, and you can go here and check it out. And being surrounded by
people that are like-minded, that you don’t have to constantly fight for. I mean there are scenarios where you can be the agent of change, and that’s incredible.
>> But in that space, there’s so much salesmanship that we don’t often really investigate further than the lines that we’re given.
>> And that unfortunately results in so many really great people having to hop from job to job to job, because they were sold something that wasn’t what it actually was. Do your research, but then when you do, commit, because it ends up affecting your voice and your value and your word and in the space. It’s really important to have the buy in of their clients.
>> Yeah, and really your brand, it affects your brand.
>> So let’s talk a little bit about branding. Is there a brand or two that you’re following right now that you think is doing a really good job, and what can we learn from them?
>> I am one of those people that instead of resolutions each year, what I do is I try to find themes, things that I need to work on. So I evaluate what I’ve done in the previous year and then I look to resolve or solve, or course correct, or add another layer in the following year. So what I’ll do is I don’t typically follow just one, but I’ll change it up. But if I’m talking over view, people can potentially say that I’m an Apple fan girl, and I just blindly follow. But looking through the history of how they’re willing to do things, not because it’s been done that way. Steve Jobs was probably and the stories say that he was miserable to work with, but he was still brilliant. He still saw things differently and took risks to do things differently and I still appreciate that. So when I follow brands, I love Apple. I mean, look at the way that they’re doing things. Look at their website experience and their consumer experience and the way that they present themselves. And it didn’t matter, what anybody else was doing, or saying, or thinking at that time. It was just completely different, and if I were ever to start a company on my own, I would want it to be something like that. I think that’s a great example of an iconic brand and it’s just really because they’re trying to change things up and they’re trying to do things differently, and why not, cuz somebody else is already doing something, so you’ve got to do something different if you wanna be noticed.
>> Exactly, and companies like Dollar Shave Club that came out of nowhere, had social viral campaigns with a concept that really,really changed that industry completely on it’s head by taking away a lot of the normal ways to do things. Challenged it. And I love companies that challenge anything. Wendy’s Twitter is one of my favorite things to just look up when I’m bored. I just love that their challenging it and doing it differently.
>> [LAUGH] I’m gonna have to look that up, Wendy’s Twitter. I haven’t checked that one out yet.
>> [LAUGH] They weren’t part of the top three options for a long time and they made it a point to be one of the top three and one of the things that happened was, one of their social media people accidentally gave a snarky comment. And then it went viral, and now it’s part of their message and who they are.
>> That’s funny. You brought up the Dollar Shave Club and I have an interesting story about that because I had a prospect come to us and they wanted their product, they said we wanna do exactly what the Dollar Shave Club is doing because they broke through and they’re doing other stuff and I thought well that’s interesting. That’s kind of the cart before the horse. And you know, there’s really a process about branding. And so I think it’s really important for people to know you can’t steal somebody else’s brand. You can’t do what somebody else is doing just because they were successful at it. And by the way, this product was so different from the shaving equipment that Dollar Shave is selling. I mean, they were selling ink. [LAUGH]
>> Not exactly a sexy product.
>> It was so Interesting that they saw somebody that had a successful brand and they had something different. And so it’s just what I would caution people with their branding and we always go through a 3D process, our branding process, and you really need to go through that process to find what your differentiation is gonna be, you can’t be somebody else’s.
>> I think it’s part of the human element in all of this and I constantly learn this lesson. Dave Ren, from Stream, he tells me all the time, I don’t care what anybody else is doing. I want to do what is right for us and the way that we wanna do things and let’s march to the beat of our own drum.
>> And while theoretically I agree with him, I still run to him and think, oh, people are doing this. Do we wanna do it? It’s something that I have to stop myself.
>> [LAUGH] Right.
>> Because, as humans, we function out of fear. Are we gonna be left out of something? Are people going to see us differently because we’re not that creative? Or will they put us in the same bucket as these competitors if we don’t do it, but ultimately if you define your brand, if you have a plan and you execute on that plan, and your entire culture is aware of it. We’re bringing it full circle now. [LAUGH] And you’re listening, I think you’ll solve all of those things. I think the worst mistake people can do and I tell this to dealers, specifically all the time, because we look for who’s successful and we try to copy paste it and we do this with GM. We hire someone at the top because our dealership is obviously broken so I’m going to take someone who’s successful at a franchise that doesn’t even match, I’m gonna put them in, because that’s gonna solve everything. And what they do is they’re like, you know what? I’m gonna put everything that I had over there, I’m gonna cancel all of these vendors, all of these technologies, I’m gonna put brand new technology, in fact I’m also gonna bring in my entire team and do things exactly the way that I did over there at a different brand, and it’s all gonna work out perfectly. It’s such a big mistake. You have to pay attention to your region, your market, your people, your culture, and start by asking the questions, and listening to what your front lines say, and what their experiencing ,cuz those are the best people to tell you what’s going on. We often only ask managers and then get their responses and what are they gonna say, I’m doing the right job boss everything is great. They’re not gonna give you as much feedback and it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have those group conversation, it ‘s just break those walls down internally.
>> I think the lesson here is that great branding starts with asking the question and really customizing. And that’s something that we totally believe in. You know there’s go to be a discovery and then a definition of what you’re going after and then you deploy. You don’t just say, here’s what I want to do. [LAUGH] And work backwards.
>> No. Absolutely and not to mention we’re very rarely actively listening to the community too. Like social media gives us a really great insight of what people think we are. How they experience us.
And even just removing us from the question how were they wanting to interact and there’s plenty of voices out there. I mean focus groups today, you can do one completely virtually and still get some great feedback, but we’re not wanting to even ask the questions let alone act on their answers, but you also have to keep in mind, bell curve. You’re going to have to throw away some of those outliers and you’re also going to have thick skin cause you’re gonna hear things that you don’t want to hear. But that doesn’t mean we ignore it, it means we act on it.
>> Mm-hm, really great branding advice, Subee,thanks for sharing that. Let’s get a little personal now, let’s talk about you. Do you have a personal learning experience, a time or a situation in your career where you faced a professional obstacle? I think we learn so much from from our mistakes or our challenges. Is there anything that you might want to share with us regarding that?
>> I had such a great answer last time, hold on. Do you remember what it was?
>> I don’t remember what it was. I thought, did you tell me about a mentor that you were getting advice from him?
>> And then was that it?
>> A perfect one. If you want to ask that, so if you want me to just add so cuz you already asked it.
>> [LAUGH] Yeah. Brad’s here, he’ll edit that right out.
>> Edit that out Brad.
>> [LAUGH] So I like having the editor right in here. You know, cut that, paste that.
>> That section.
>> It’s actually a really great question. I feel like there’s so many scenarios I could point to but one that really comes to mind is. I had a mentor who had all of the best intentions for me. Put me in the perfect positions, guided me, pushed me when I needed to be pushed. I mean I started speaking because of him. He really challenged me and gave me everything and I wouldn’t have anything if weren’t for them. But there were points in my career that we were starting to butt heads a lot. And because of this super respect and this mutual understanding of career growth, I just took a back seat and let him drive a little bit instead of challenging him. And when I started challenging him, I realized that his vision for what he wanted for me and my evolution were two different things. The person that I had become and what I wanted for myself and the path that I saw for myself weren’t the same. And so he was constantly getting disappointed and or trying to push me in another direction. And so what I learned is that, I learned two things. I learned one, That it’s okay to outgrow a mentor. Doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of your life. It’s just that’s not the person who’s going to be having a real hand in guiding your career anymore. This is a weird topic for me. [LAUGH] But, also, levels. There’s advocates. There’s cheerleaders. There’s mentors. And each one of those things
are important for each stage of your career. And it’s okay to have multiple. I created this thing called a brain trust. So I just, I hoard people that I think are brilliant, and I kind of put them in my group of this brain trust. And I tap them, whenever, specific people based on their skill sets and their experiences, I’ll ask for this opinion instead of just one person now. Because I feel like my role, my career, has grown to a different level. That isn’t to say he’s completely wrong in what my end game might be. But we were looking at different things and he’s still active in my life. But it’s okay to outgrow people. And then, the other thing is you’re never too young, or too old to be a mentor, or to need a mentor. You don’t just get to a place and realize, I’m good, this is it.
>> There’s always someone who has experienced something a little bit more than you that you could potentially reach out to. To help you get to each of those new levels. So, and you always know something that someone’s behind you. Someone than you or less time in that role than you. They’re always gonna need help.
>> I think that’s a great point about mentoring. You’re never too young, you’re never too old, and that’s really one of the reasons why I wanted to start this podcast. Because I really think that women like you have so much to offer, and we don’t often have enough time to network with each other. I know I don’t, and so, to me, this is a way for me, I’m learning from you. Hopefully, our listeners are learning from our conversation, and I think it’s really important for our continued learning.
>> Oh, I couldn’t agree more. And I feel like I learn the most in these types of one-on-one conversations. Not only from that person, but also from myself like, what have I learned? What do I need to work on? I’ve taken my own notes of things that I wanna kinda investigate further. And just talking to you over the last few weeks [LAUGH] has been enlightening for me, so thank you for taking the time to talk with me, as well.
>> Oh, well, thanks! And I like what you said about, the kind of personal interaction that you have one-on-one, it’s really great sharing and lessons learned that you really can’t have in a big network situation. But with the podcast platform, people can tap in to our conversation.
>> And it’s an intimate kind of a way to have a conversation that anybody can listen in on and learn. And so, gosh, podcasts are great. I’m such a fan of podcasts, and I just hope that everybody out there is enjoying our conversation, cuz I know I am.
>> Yeah, me too. I love letting people in behind the curtain. I think that-
>> We, especially, when someone says, I want to learn from you. We become this professional, let me give you my wisdom, whatever little wisdom that I have.
>> [LAUGH] Right, right.
>> Leads to conversations where it’s a little more off the topic than we enjoy.
>> Yeah, and it’s really, I thought that when you’re answering the questions, like you said, you’re learning about yourself, too. Because I don’t think, as women, a lot of times we talk about ourselves,
or even think about that kind of stuff. So it actually pushes us to define our success in a way that we may not have had an opportunity to do before.
>> I get so incredibly embarrassed talking about myself.
>> Yeah, [LAUGH].
>> I need people to listen to I just [INAUDIBLE] it’s awesome to hear, it sounds so impressive, but it’s definitely a weird experience, and I think we need to get over that. We are our own-
>> Worst enemies. We, I think there’s a stat out there, somewhere, it says that women don’t apply for a majority of the positions that we are qualified for, because we look and say, hey, I’m not 100% qualified for each and every with it. Whereas a male counterpart will apply. And so, it’s not, I do think that we have a long ways to go in fairness in the employment world across all industries. But I think we limit ourselves, too. There might opportunities for us that we’re just not applying to.
>> Yeah. And I think that’s true. And I think it was Ann Simon Nicholson when I interviewed her. She also gave me this stat that I thought was crazy, something about 65% of the self talk that women have is negative, and it’s the opposite for men. And so, we have to learn how to have this positive self talk.
>> That makes so much sense, [LAUGH], yeah, yeah.
>> So we just need to spend some time telling ourselves how great we are.
>> Right. We’re gonna have those chats with myself in the mirror in the morning. It really freaked out my husband.
>> You’re amazing.
>> [LAUGH] Sometimes, I’ll just leave myself a voicemail message. Kathy, you are doing a great job!
>> [LAUGH] Now I know. I’m gonna message you.
>> You is kind. You look beautiful.
>> [LAUGH] People like you. Stuart Smalley, right, is that it? Okay, let’s bring this conversation back in here. This is kind of a question that I just started, because I’m thinking a lot about zero base thinking. And I was wondering, is there anything in your career, now that you know what you know, if you were to go back and start over, are there some things that you wouldn’t do?
>> [LAUGH] I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
>> Both good and bad, and I wouldn’t be here if I, I would probably screw it up if I had to do it again. I would think that I had this plan, but there’s always a hundred factors that we can’t think of. So I don’t think I would change anything in the real world. If I got to go back, I probably wouldn’t. But I would say that I wish I had found my voice sooner, that I had confidence in my voice sooner.
And that with every step of my career, realizing that I had to find my voice again. I think even now, as I’m talking to you, I mean, I second guess myself, and I worry that it comes off okay. And the more exposure I got in the industry, the more, at first, people were really supportive, and then, the more exposure I got, there were a lot of negative comments. And I am a people pleaser and don’t like people that don’t like me, so that was a challenge. So just finding my voice and my power, and saying, you know what? This is what I have lived, this is what I’ve experienced, and this is my opinion, no apologies, and that took a long time. So even while I’m working on myself actively, I think that’s a lesson that I wished I’ve learned earlier, that actively working on yourself is not a bad thing. None of us are perfect, there’s always something that I need to improve on, and that’s okay.
But being aware of it, and being focused on it, and driven to constantly improve is going to be your success. So I feel like I would tell my younger self that that’s okay, to be a little insecure. But to not let it limit you from speaking, because you have a voice that’s important that can help people. So that’s probably the lesson, I would say, [LAUGH].
>> Yeah, what a great lesson, thanks for sharing that. I think we can all tell ourselves that right now, too.
>> Yeah, [LAUGH]
>> Actively working on yourself and finding, you said find your voice, you can find your voice every day and at every point.
>> Yep. Yeah keep working.
>> I think when we feel a little bit brave because of one situational experience that’s allowing us to speak up. We feel like that’s it. That’s all the work. And what I have learned and I stumbled in my last transition. I stumbled in my career. Because I didn’t know that I could speak again. And so kind of going through those high and lows has really helped me to reach out to other people and help them. And one of the things that I was told for a long time, social media has created this atmosphere of what I call micro-celebrity. And somebody else that I think maybe, Shawn Raine a friend of mine, created that term. But ultimately, it’s created this world where everybody wants to be famous, everybody wants to be seen. And especially in automotive we’ve got hundreds of them. And so I got criticized a lot because you’re always behind the scenes helping people and doing this and you need to be doing it yourself. And I got really hard on myself, because I doubted what I was doing and how I was doing it. But the reality is, there’s a hundred different ways to do it. It’s okay to do it my way. I am the type of person that feels good by helping others achieve success, and ultimately, that’s my success. And even if nobody else knows, as long as I’m happy, that’s okay. As long as you’re following a career path to achieve the things that you want, it doesn’t matter what other people’s perspectives of your career are. As long as you are climbing, you’re making the right steps, you’re making the right connections, and you’re happy with what you’re doing. So don’t let other people’s expectations of you limit your growth potential or happiness.
>> Yeah, and I think that that goes back to our healthy self talk too. That if you’re really clear in your intention and you’re doing what you wanna do and you’re feeling success, then don’t worry about all the other noise. Because that could be negative. Don’t let that negative in. Stay focused on your intention.
>> What a great way to say it, cuz it really is just noise. And yet allow it to penetrate our skin.
>> Right, yeah, great advice. All right, so wrapping up our conversation, it’s been so much fun and you’ve been so generous with your time, so I just wanna thank you so much. And I know you’re getting ready to go to India so how exciting is that.
>> It’s so exciting.
>> So before you go, before you pack you bags, do you have any marketing resources, any books, any podcasts, anything that you would recommend to our listeners?
>> Yeah, absolutely, I would really recommend though first, before I say it, to try my strategy. Instead of just absorbing a lot of information, sometimes we can read a book and it’s not gonna be as impactful. Because we weren’t ready at that place in our lives to read that and consume it and make it actionable. So I would identify what you’re missing. What are the factors, what are the things that you’re trying to solve? Go back, this is a perfect time. New years bring so much opportunity for us to evaluate what we want to effect for the year. And then, place your, Place your needs and resources accordingly. So I would say for a couple of sources that I really enjoy, Michael Cirillo’s Dealer Playbook, for anybody in the automotive industry, I think that that’s a fantastic resource. Simon Dimmock is someone that no matter what theme I’m going through, I really appreciate the leadership and motivation that comes out of him. For people in the kind of sales motivated world Gary Vaynerchuk, sometimes, not all the time. I think it might be the same message over and over again for some people, including myself. But those are three that I would start with. And one thing that I would say is if you know me at all or if you’ve just gotten to know me through this podcast, I am someone that really likes to pay it forward. Because people did that for me and listened and guided me. So if you want resources and you know what you are looking for or you need to navigate what you are looking for, reach out to me. I can be easily found on social media. I’m the only Subi Ghosh that I know in automotive [LAUGH].
>> So just look me up or reach out and Cathy will have my number if you need it.
>> Yes, thank you so much. Those are great resources. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for helping us again to set our intentions. I’m gonna sit down, I’m gonna say, okay, what are my, I think you used the word themes, what are my themes for this year? What am I missing? What do I want to bring my energy to this year? And then find the resources that are gonna help me with that, because I’m gonna be in the right mindset for those things to sink in.
>> Yeah, I think we try to do it all, right? We try to do the family, the career, the growth, all sorts of things all at the same time. And what we have to realize is it’s okay to have seasons where you’re focusing on something. So when I need to focus on my family, I schedule a call to remind myself to call my mom. And that’s okay, as long as you’re actively doing it. So just, it’s okay to make it purposeful.
>> Yeah, Subi, I so enjoyed our conversation. You have shared so many great life lessons and shared your career path with us. I’m sure our listeners have learned so much from you. So thank you again for your time.
>> Thank you so much for having me.
>> All right, everybody, thanks a lot. You can go to the showrunnermarketingpodcast.com to find all of our resources. And if you want to hook up with Subi we’ll have her information there too. Thanks a lot everybody.
>> Thank you so much.
>> That’s our show for today. Our latest interview and show notes have been added to our Show Runner hall of fame at the showrunnermarketingpodcast.com. Don’t miss an episode by subscribing now to the Show Runner Marketing Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play. And to network, motivate, and gain some more wisdom from the top, follow advanced marketing strategies on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Keep learning and growing and thanks for listening. [MUSIC]