Today on Kain & Co., host David Kain, President of Kain Automotive, sits down with the Principle of Cooper Media Group, Allan Cooper, pioneer of the automotive internet revolution. Originally from Australia, Cooper came to the U.S. in 1986, intending on opening up a surf shop, and wound up getting into the car business. Prior to this, Cooper had careers in the military, financial, and pharmaceutical sectors in his native Australia. After moving to Costa Mesa, California, he started selling Dodge brand vehicles and stayed on the retail side of the business for 15 years.
During his time there, Cooper helped pioneer digital platforms and car buying experiences before they were massed adopted by retailers during COVID-19. He then turned his attention to the CRM space with Auto Town. From there, Cooper joined OneCommand to focus on the capabilities of voice marketing. More recently, Cooper has mentored other companies and helped them grow into international markets.
In terms of where the auto industry sits today, Cooper says COVID has compressed so many things into a short period of time. Through crisis, opportunities are created. This crisis has essentially forced auto dealers to personalize the car buying journey. Cars are often the second biggest purchases consumers make, why would they settle for a subpar experience?
Cooper explains, “We never wanted to sell people cars. We wanted to build a relationship with you, your family, your community, your business, where you work.”
During his days at the dealership, Cooper and his colleagues knew they could price vehicles very competitively, deliver them to the consumer’s house or work, and create an exceptional experience. That idea became the dealership’s entire marketing and advertising platform. They didn’t spend a dime on building the brand, says Cooper.
All dealership employees must buy into the culture. There is a lot of sophisticated software in the market, but without great personnel, successfully implementing digital platforms is much more challenging. Cooper adds that if dealerships don’t have retailing professionals that are engaged, know the products, and know the community, then consumers won’t get the experience they are anticipating.
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