InterviewJun 27th, 2024

I AM MARKETING | Laurie Kelley

The fifth episode of "I Am Marketing" (IAM) by Dealer Marketing Magazine (DMM) features Laurie Kelley, Vice President of Marketing and Retail Strategy at JM&A Group. Laurie delves into her journey from aspiring teacher to marketing leader, offering valuable insights into the evolving world of automotive marketing. Her story underscores the importance of adaptability, continuous learning, and a customer-centric approach. Here's a breakdown of the key takeaways from her interview.

A Humble Beginning

Laurie Kelley started her career journey in an unexpected way. Originally aspiring to be a teacher, she stumbled into marketing through a temporary job. This experience ignited her interest in branding and positioning, leading her to take a leap into the marketing world instead of teaching. Her initial foray into the automotive industry began with a small ad in a newspaper, marking the start of a 26-year-long career filled with passion and dedication.

Learning to Love Automotive

Marketing transcends the product; it’s about understanding people, creating emotional connections, and positioning the brand effectively. Laurie admits she wasn’t a car person initially. However, she quickly learned to love the automotive industry by focusing on the people and the branding aspects rather than the product itself.

The Role of Events in Marketing

Laurie discusses the critical role of the events team at JM&A Group. While often perceived as mere party planners, these professionals are strategic thinkers who blend creativity with analytical skills. They design experiences that foster deeper relationships with dealer partners, offering a balance between creativity and strategic execution.

Embracing Traditional and Digital Marketing

Over time, Laurie’s team has evolved from focusing predominantly on events to incorporating traditional and digital marketing strategies. She highlights the shift from print ads to a digital-first approach, leveraging social media and digital platforms to engage their dealer audience. This transition has enabled JM&A Group to build a robust online presence and enhance brand credibility.

The Importance of Leadership and Mentorship

When reflecting on her growth into leadership, Laurie stresses the value of good mentors. Her leadership philosophy revolves around having each other’s backs and creating a culture of mutual support and continuous learning.

Insights from the Future Generation

Laurie shares an enlightening experience from a project involving college students tasked with envisioning the future dealership. Contrary to assumptions about a preference for online-only interactions, these students valued in-person experiences enriched by educational resources and quality amenities like good coffee. This exercise underscored the importance of listening to younger generations to shape future strategies.

Encouragement for Aspiring Marketers

Offering encouragement to those entering the marketing field, Laurie advises early talent to embrace challenges and remain curious. She emphasizes that passion and curiosity drive success, urging aspiring marketers to network, learn continuously, and adapt to new trends and technologies. Her advice highlights the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of marketing.

In this episode, Laurie Kelley provides a comprehensive look at the role of marketing in the automotive industry, highlighting the importance of adaptability, creativity, and strategic thinking. Her insights are invaluable for marketers looking to enhance their digital presence, build strong brands, and connect more meaningfully with their audience.


The above summary has been produced with the assistance of AI.

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