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How Google Can Boost the Business of Your Dealership with Lissette Gole

  • May 21, 2021
22 min read
How Google Can Boost the Business of Your Dealership with Lissette Gole

Aharon Horwitz
CEO, Fullpath

Ilana Shabtay
VP of Marketing, Fullpath

Lissette Gole
Head of Automotive Retail, Google

Lissette Gole is the Head of Automotive Retail at Google. She has nearly 20 years of automotive experience, delivering profit-driven solutions for dealers and OEMs.

Before joining the team at Google, she was a Senior Account Manager for Microsoft and the Associate Media Director at Universal McCann. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Wayne State University.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Lissette Gole’s background and how she got into the automobile industry
  • How Lissette helps dealers use Google products
  • The Google products Lissette is most excited about
  • How digital marketing can help drive profits
  • The benefits of Google’s Dealer Guidebook 2.0
  • Lissette talks about the Pandemic of Positivity (POP) movement
  • What Lissette hopes to see with dealerships in the future

In this episode…

Google is known around the world as the top online research tool for people and businesses alike. As a company, Google regularly comes up with new marketing tools that dealerships can leverage to drive more profits to their businesses.

However, it is important for business owners to know how to use Google’s tools to maximize their sales. To effectively leverage all that Google has to offer, you need to discover which metrics matter most to your business and the best strategies for driving customers to your dealerships.

In this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast, co-hosts Aharon Horwitz and Ilana Shabtay interview Lissette Gole, the Head of Automotive Retail at Google, about how dealerships can use Google products to promote their business. Lissette also talks about the Dealers Guidebook 2.0, digital marketing for dealerships, and the Pandemic of Positivity (POP) movement.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by AutoLeadStar, a company that helps car dealerships engage quality customers on the web and convert them into car buyers.

Co-founded by Aharon Horwitz, Yishai Goldstein, and Eliav Moshe, AutoLeadStar’s state-of-the-art software automates a dealership’s entire marketing funnel and provides around-the-clock service for dealers.

AutoLeadStar’s innovative technology helps dealerships automate ads, connect with customers, and discover ROI and performance metrics

Visit their website at to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to InsideAuto Podcast where we feature everyone in anyone you’d want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.

Ilana Shabtay 0:14

Ilana Shabtay here with Aharon Horwitz, co hosts of InsideAuto Podcast where we interview top dealers, GM marketers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. And before we introduce today’s guest, this episode is sponsored by Our platform is built in a technology so powerful, it allows you to market sell and service cars as you would in the real world at scale and online making one to one matches between shoppers and inventory. Auto we are the only platform that is powered by scale speed and specificity to change the way dealers do marketing today. All right, we are back our own. How are you doing today?

Aharon Horwitz 0:52

I’m super excited about this one. Ilana, how are you?

Ilana Shabtay 0:54

I am good. Yes, me as well. This is a long awaited guest. So

Aharon Horwitz 1:00

yes. Well, then with no further ado, right. Let’s get right into it. So we are so so excited this week to welcome with Lissette Gole, who is the head of automotive retail at Google Lissette? Welcome.

Lissette Gole 1:13

Hi, I’m so happy to be here with you both. Thank you for having me on.

Aharon Horwitz 1:17

Oh, our pleasure. Our pleasure. So let’s set on your bio. I saw that you’re from you’re based in Detroit, which is one of our favorite cities. I’m a Cleveland kid. So you know, we had a nice rivalry growing up and you’re there with your husband and two sons. Are you from Detroit? Originally?

Lissette Gole 1:35

I am born and raised in Detroit. I left for a minute and came back. Yes, yes. I believe the auto industry very prized.

Aharon Horwitz 1:42

Okay. And then. So you believe the auto industry and I saw you have like you’ve been spent spent the past like 20 years in auto at different OEMs and all sorts of different tier levels. Right? Is that correct?

Lissette Gole 1:54

That’s right. Yes. I was outside of automotive for one minute. And I promptly came back. This is definitely where I belong. But yes, I’ve had the pleasure where he goes all OEMs all tiers at this point. And really just, I’m still always learning from this industry.

Aharon Horwitz 2:09

By the way, we’re super nosy on this podcast, and we like to find out like all the like in the Great. Were you What was that? What industry were you in for that minute you were out of auto?

Lissette Gole 2:19

I was in CPG, which was great. But I just you know, being born and raised in Detroit, and actually, I am a dealer’s daughter. So my father is a boat dealer has been my entire life. So I grew up in the dealership and so auto religious was such a natural place for me to be.

Aharon Horwitz 2:35

Got it. Okay. So tell us a little bit about that. We always like to start, Ilana and I with your story, meaning we got the beginning here, which is you grew up in a dealership, probably on the water quite a bit. But give us your give us your story. Like how did you end up where you are today? What were the different stations that you went through? And kind of you know, when you came to Google? What was it that really fit about your background and where you’re currently now?

Lissette Gole 2:58

Yeah, so I have a really winding path to get to where I am today. My My degree is actually from Wayne State University here in Detroit, in psychology. And my intention was to be, you know, be a teacher, be a researcher. And that’s what I was going to do with my career moved to California. That’s where I got into the digital advertising industry. And I really never looked back. So my world in California took me back to Detroit by way of Chicago, I started out on the agency side, I was working for mindshare team to try it at the time were four was my client. That’s really where I started about 20 years ago, and have really been in the space ever since. So several years on the agency side, then I was at Microsoft. And then I’ve been at Google now for nearly 10 years, which is really just flown by, it’s been so wonderful. And I think that fit for me is this intersection of working with partners and clients that I’m so passionate about their business, and working for a technology company two days are never the same. You know, and so I love the people that I work with, at Google, I love the clients, I love what we get to do every day. And so it’s just been a dream, and the 10 years is flown by so fast.

Aharon Horwitz 4:13

So I have a question on that. And as a first follow up, like when I think of dealers, and sort of the auto industry, in particular, when you get to that level of like, you know, the the the retail profession, which is essentially living on almost 100 years of understanding now of like how automobiles move, and obviously things change all the time, right. But it’s so specific, it’s so massive, but so specific and so different than other industries in many ways, right? And I think about Google, right, which is such a large operation now and you know, spans the globe and everything. And the question is, how do you manage to translate what you’re seeing at a dealership at a dealer level into the into the product needs for Google because again, if you’re if you’re an engineer or product person at Google. I mean, it’s so far away from what it means to actually, you know, conduct retail, you know, retailing a Ford f150. So how do you do that? And how do you navigate that kind of, you know, role that I’m sure you play of being that pipeline back and forth between Google and the field?

Lissette Gole 5:16

Yeah. And I’m actually really passionate about being that pipeline back and forth. So it’s a translation on both sides, you know, so what we have at Google and making sure that works for the dealer, specifically. So you both know about dealer guidebook. And that’s really what dealer guidebook is for is to make sure that we’re trying to just answer the question, How can I, as a dealer, use Google products and services to help my business, and then vice versa, we are really lucky, we have product members that are really well versed in automotive, and care a lot about this industry, just as the rest of us do. And so it’s a really nice intersection of, you know, Googles mission is to solve for our clients solve for the user, and then the advertisers as well. And so we’re able to do that through through that intersection of product, the sales team, and then the feedback that we’re getting from OEMs. And from dealers.

Ilana Shabtay 6:06

And right now, what I’m, what innovation are you most excited about at Google? What products that we are providing for tier two, or tier three? are you most excited about?

Lissette Gole 6:17

Yeah, so we’re always testing new products. And I’m really excited about as we’re moving more towards online retailing in the industry, a lot of our products are helping bring inventory more to the search page. So we have things like dynamic search ads, for example, you can put your used vehicle inventory right on the SERP. I’m excited about those types of products. More broadly, though, we, you know, our mission is to help dealers and OEMs understand that Google and marketing can help drive profitability for their business. And that’s what I’m really excited about. I think that you both know this, you know, technology has come such a long way in the last few years that we can make sure that every dollar that you’re spending with Google and you’re spending within digital media drives a profit to your dealership, both for new and used, and then fixed apps on the back end. So those are the things that we’re really talking about in the market right now that are very exciting to me, I think we’re in a moment of change, this change is not easy with everything that’s happened over the last year with COVID. But it’s accelerated a lot in this industry. And that just is, is wonderful and exciting to me overall, to help navigate that space.

Aharon Horwitz 7:23

Said, is that a is that sort of a challenge? Like is there a conception on the part of dealers and OEMs that maybe, you know, digital marketing is just not drive profit, that it’s more of a tax like what’s what’s sort of that? What’s the What are you working against there? And how did that emerge? And how, you know, how, how do you? Do you address that when you’re talking to folks? Well, I

Lissette Gole 7:46

think there’s a couple of it’s, this feels like an onion to me, right. So I’ll peel back the layers a little bit, I think, you know, the old statement of I know, half of my marketing is wasted, I just don’t know which half right? I’ll use that in the industry for digital kind of solves for that at the whole. But we are, you know, fundamental is measurement. So knowing what metrics matter to you what actions on your website matter to you so that you then can optimize and make marketing decisions that drive more of those needs. So for example, if you know that vehicle Detail page views on your website are really great indicator of somebody coming into your showroom, or maybe, you know, purchasing online in today’s environment, we want you to get more of those. And so measurement and tagging, and really looking at the analytics and understanding measurement, I think is really key to moving all of this forward for your business. So it’s Digital’s great because we are in the space where we can say you can truly measure what has an impact. But now because of the way technology is and you can bet on media, you can really say this metric matters to me, I’m willing to pay X amount of dollars for it. And give me more of those because that’s my priority. And that is really where profitability comes in. Because it’s you know, you can really understand that journey, tie it right back and say these are my business goals every month. I want my media to drive to those business goals and help me out versus versus not.

Aharon Horwitz 9:15

Yeah, I really think about it. I don’t know have you guys ever been to like outdoor fruit and vegetable markets? Like spice markets and stuff anywhere?

Lissette Gole 9:22

Oh, yes. Yeah, like where farmers market,

Aharon Horwitz 9:25

right like a farmers market. You’ve experienced that like, so I was thinking about this, this marker we have in Jerusalem and it’s just amazing to watch it like in slow motion sometimes when I go on like a Friday and you just see just see how like, it has all the components of any buyer journey. You know, you’ve got like a marketplace and you’ve got different sellers. And they all have different techniques. Some just yell really loudly about their price. Others like send out people with free samples. You know, others are doing a combination of things and there’s also this need to bring people To the market. And I just think about, like, breaking it down sometimes for digital marketing, you know, there’s just so much complexity that goes into it. But in the end, it’s it’s very much about having really good product, understanding how to what’s your best way to tell the story of that product into the markets, which are Google and in other, you know, networks. That’s where the eyeballs are, right? And so it’s essentially what dealers know how to do. The challenge is the translation into the digital, it’s not like a dealer doesn’t know if they have the person in front of them, how to sell the car. It’s just that like, how do you get that up the funnel through all these ad networks to like some YouTube agent, you’re some you know, ESPN article, right. So I think like the translation is the big remaining sort of area that and what you’re doing with the digital with the dealer guidebook, to me seems like an act of trying to help dealers translate themselves into digital, it’s like, it’s like a almost like a translation guide for what you know how to do anyways, into Google? Um,

Lissette Gole 10:57

yeah, I would say that’s accurate. And one of my favorite things about guidebook is that it can meet you where you are. So it really is built to, you know, if you’re in the earliest stages of digital, you know, and that’s great, you know, and we, and these are the products, the solutions, the way that you should measure for that moment. If you’re extremely advanced, and you’re leaning into automation, and you’re really already, you know, looking at profitability, wonderful, then we can help you there, too. So it’s meant to be built as a journey to actually meet you where your business needs are, and then allow you to continue that journey over time.

Aharon Horwitz 11:33

And how often do you guys update that?

Lissette Gole 11:36

Well, the first iteration, we launched in 2017. And then we had not updated it until February of 2020. So I went out to nada with Mr. Brian benstock. And we revealed dealer guidebook, 2.0. On the nada stage, that was February of last year. And then obviously COVID hit, you know, here in the USA in March. So we originally anticipated updating it every few years, as the industry needed it as technology evolved. But because of everything that happened last year, which is accelerated our industry so much, we actually just refreshed it again this February. So we had a one year refresh. Because everything had changed. We wanted to really talk, you know about moving into online retailing, getting your products in YouTube and Google search, you know, right away, because we know digital really is the showroom now, and then using automation to continue that profitability piece. And so those are really kind of the three core things that we’re talking about this year.

Aharon Horwitz 12:34

And I said, Where can dealers find it? Because I know, I know, most of them received it by email or whatnot. But if they’re if they’re want to find out what’s the easiest way?

Lissette Gole 12:42

Yeah, so they can go to think with And then they can just search Google Dealer Guidebook, and it’ll take you right to the page. It’s free. So download it, share it, you know, send it to everybody, you know, um, you know, we want it to be just a free, valuable resource. And then we are, of course, are here to answer any questions that anybody has about it.

Ilana Shabtay 13:02

We’ll also link it in the in the show notes. So for anyone listening, you could also find it We’ll put it there. I also took a glance at it. And I you could tell it’s been updated, because of all the numbers, but specifically, vehicles sold online. I mean, the numbers jumped significantly. So it’s really interesting read, everyone should should download it. It’s free.

Lissette Gole 13:24

And yeah, that’s a great point, we did update all of the data behind it, too, because the industry was changing so quickly.

Aharon Horwitz 13:30

Yeah. And I really see that it’s just such a great service that Google auto provides for the industry. I mean, we all we circulate that stuff internally. It’s just really great. When you guys put it out.

Ilana Shabtay 13:40

Yeah, I’m a huge fan.

Lissette Gole 13:42

Thank you.

Ilana Shabtay 13:44

Let’s talk a little bit about what you’ve been doing with pandemic of positivity pop, or POP. I’m not sure what the what the proper abbreviation is. It’s pop, right?

Lissette Gole 13:55

It is. Yes. So I’m so excited about the pandemic of positivity. So thank you for bringing this up. It is a movement that really is only started, you know, less than two months ago, founded by several members of the automotive industry. David Bohm is one of them. I know you know, David really well. And the whole mission is to drive more positivity in this world to share compassion, love. And we we ask, you know, kindness, we ask that if you’re interested in pandemic positivity, you can actually take a pledge and you can pledge with us to say, you know, I am really interested in making this a way of but a way that I navigate through the world you know, to be positive, to uplift others and to really just be a light when people are needing it the most. So we so we use the abbreviation pop, and then you can go to pandemic positivity, calm and take the pop pledge with us. And then a really fun element is that we all have these little yellow rings around our Social media photos, which we call them the pop pucks. So you can get a yellow Puck from us too. You can email us and we’ll create those for you. But it’s really just meant to be a mission to spread joy, love, compassion, and really good vibes in the world today.

Ilana Shabtay 15:15

Yeah, and I’m sure people have been seeing that LinkedIn first it started just on clubhouse. Now I see that people are using it as their LinkedIn profiles, too. So if you see the yellow ring, it’s it’s the pop ring. So we’re really excited to see those around the automotive industry.

Lissette Gole 15:29

Yeah, and if you’re on clubhouse, we actually have a clubhouse room for the pandemic of positivity. So join that. And then you’re going to continue to see a lot more coming from us as we’re, you know, it’s still in its infancy stages. And what we’re really excited about where we’re taking it.

Aharon Horwitz 15:44

That was that kind of, you know, wrap us up here, what’s something that you’re looking at is like a challenge that you’re like thinking through meaning when you look at the industry going forward? You look at kind of the world you’re in? You know, where do you think the biggest challenge slash opportunity lies? Maybe something that we’re not yet fully understanding? You know, from your perspective?

Ilana Shabtay 16:05

Yeah, right

Lissette Gole 16:06

now, it’s, um, you know, we are customer first I know, dealers are as well as, you know, what does the customer want? How is their behavior changing? And how can I keep up with that behavior online? And, you know, I that’s not a new challenge, but it’s an accelerated one. And it’s one where we’ve seen in all of our data, you’ll see it in guidebook is that the customers are asking to be able to buy vehicles many different ways. So what what we want to see the industry do is provide a frictionless, you know, retailing experience. So somebody can buy a vehicle, no matter how they choose to engage with your dealership. So maybe they choose to engage with their dealership fully online, and they want you to deliver that vehicle to their driveway. Maybe they want to do most of it online, but they still want to come in and test drive or, you know, see, have you seen the trade and in person, right? There’s a lot of different ways to buy a vehicle right now. And I think that’s the challenge of the industry is how do you provide a consumer first frictionless shopping experience, so you can get them through their shopping funnel as quickly and easily as possible and retain them for lifetime value, make sure that they’re coming back to your dealership, perfect step. So that’s something that we are focused on. We’re going through this journey with the dealers, we’re really passionate about making sure that we’re kind of going back to basics and some ways to prepare for this. So we’re talking a lot about, you know, looking at your mobile website experience again, and I say like be your own mystery shopper, go to your mobile website and see like, is it actually easy to fill out a lead form to contact the dealer to find the vehicle I want? Because we need to be able to flex to what the customer wants, and the customer is asking for most of us to be online now. Right? But we recognize that that’s not everybody. So what I want the industry to do is really look at their measurement, really look at their infrastructure, really have a fresh perspective from their vehicle buyers lens on how do I engage with my dealership and make it really easy. But also keep that level of relationship because that’s what we love about dealers, that’s what shoppers love is that, you know, I can go and I can talk to my dealership. And so this doesn’t mean that you have to be completely behind the scenes. But it does mean that you have to, to pivot to how the customer wants to engage with you.

Aharon Horwitz 18:24

Versus us. Yeah, that actually echoes sign David said to us as well, that that’s like what he’s messaging to David long. You know, he has that he was called the Golden Rule plus, which is engage with your customer the way they want to engage with you, which I think is an important message to take away. We’ve heard that from Lissette here, we’ve heard that from others. It’s kind of the, you know, the lesson of the time. So let’s say this was great. We really enjoyed having you on. It was really a pleasure. And we learned a lot. I think there’s a couple cool takeaways here for listeners, definitely to get a hold of the guidebook. And definitely to take a look at pandemic of positivity, we’ll link both in the show notes, and then just attract like at the upcoming set of conferences. Google’s always doing cool stuff, as you mentioned, the release of the original the guidebook, a year ago, the Update, I’m sure we’re gonna see some cool things in the next next year from from listening your team over at Google. Thank you.

Lissette Gole 19:22

It has been a pleasure. You are wonderful hosts. So thank you

Aharon Horwitz 19:25

all we really enjoyed it. We enjoyed it. Are you on you want to wrap this up?

Ilana Shabtay 19:29

Yeah. Lissette, thank you so much for joining us today. And if you enjoyed this episode, please tune in InsideAuto Podcast. You can find us on all mainstream apps and inside Auto Thank you again for joining us.

Lissette Gole 19:43

Thank you guys.

Outro 19:48

Thanks for listening to InsideAuto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

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