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[NADA 2024] Challenges and Opportunities in the Auto Marketing Space with Ashley Cavazos

  • February 25, 2024
9 min read
[NADA 2024] Challenges and Opportunities in the Auto Marketing Space with Ashley Cavazos

Ilana Shabtay
VP of Marketing, Fullpath

Ashley Cavazos
Marketing Director, DeMontrond Auto Group

Ashley Cavazos is the Marketing Director at DeMontrond Auto Group, a family of dealerships serving the Houston community. Ashely brings a decade of leadership experience in the automotive industry, excelling in digital performance, marketing communications, and business development. As a problem-solver, she uncovers opportunities for sales growth and lead generation while prioritizing customer retention. Ashley’s outstanding achievements have been recognized, notably as a 2022 Automotive News 40 Under 40 Finalist.

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

  • Ashley Cavazos’ focus at the NADA conference
  • Strategies for thriving in the automotive marketing landscape
  • What is equity mining?
  • How Ashley is building DeMontrond’s brand image
  • Why Ashley became the first Latina on the cover of Digital Dealer

In this episode…

In automotive marketing, staying ahead of industry trends is crucial. How can dealerships adapt their strategies to foster organic growth and enhance customer retention in an ever-evolving industry? 

Automotive marketing expert Ashley Cavazos shares insights on the exciting challenges and opportunities of navigating the competitive auto marketing space. Ashley’s approach includes exploring industry conferences like NADA, where she seeks innovative solutions to enhance customer engagement and drive revenue growth. To stay competitive, she recommends investing in equity mining tools, service acquisition solutions, and brand building. The key to success in today’s automotive industry entails prioritizing personalized strategies that cater to customer preferences and leverage data-driven insights.

In this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay sits down with Ashley Cavazos, Marketing Director at DeMontrond Auto Group, to explore invaluable strategies and perspectives for thriving in the automotive landscape. Ashley discusses equity mining, building DeMontrond Auto Group’s brand image, and becoming the first Latina on the cover of the Digital Dealer magazine.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Fullpath (formerly AutoLeadStar).

Fullpath is the automotive industry’s leading customer data and experience platform (CDXP).

Fullpath enables dealers to turn their first-party data into lifelong customers by unifying siloed data sources and leveraging that data to create exceptional, hyper-personalized customer experiences.

To learn more, visit

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01

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

Ilana Shabtay  0:13  

Okay, InsideAuto Podcast, we have Ashley Cavazos with us. The second NADA quick interview. So welcome back.

Ashley Cavazos  0:21  

Thank you. Thanks for having me. It’s good. It’s, you know, it’s NADA. So it’s a little crazy. But it’s good to be here, it’s good to kind of see what’s going on. There’s a lot happening in the industry. And I think there’s a lot of solutions out there. So now’s the time, rather than getting stuck on demos at work to kind of go through and see what’s happening. 

Ilana Shabtay  0:41  

Yeah, and you have a very specific way of attacking this conference, right? So you know, exactly who you’re gonna speak to, and how you’re gonna speak to them and what you’re looking for where you’re shopping for so to tell us a little bit about what your goals are for this conference who you’re talking to, or not even who you’re talking to necessarily, but what solutions are you looking for? 

And what are your pain points right now? And what do you try to like? How are you trying to solve that? And how can this conference help you?

Ashley Cavazos  1:02  

Honestly, I’ll probably have all the solutions I’m looking for, right? I’m, you know, really focused. For me, it’s how do I keep engaged with my current database and sold customers, you know, maybe some equity mining tools or something, they can help my team equity mine. 

And just service drive acquisition solutions. What we can do to bring more cars is just, you know, there’s a lot of opportunity in our backyard, and we end up going to the auction a lot. So what can we do to acquire more cars organically, if you would, or 

Ilana Shabtay  1:37  

Just avoid the auction at all costs? Last Resort? How is your inventory? At the monitoring, 

Ashley Cavazos  1:43  

We’re getting a lot of new cars. So now we’re really at a different place than we were a year ago. But lots are filling up. I’m now in the Houston market. So I’m learning. 

Ilana Shabtay  1:52  

I didn’t even introduce that. We’re no longer Ashley’s no longer with Walser. So yeah, so

Ashley Cavazos  1:57  

I met him. I met DeMontrond Auto Group out of Houston. And, like one of the things I did not realize which sounds probably silly, I was just so excited, get back to Texas. And Houston was really enticing when we visited and everything. But I did not realize how competitive the automotive market is in Houston. 

And you have just so much happening. It’s the fourth largest city in America, and it’s rapidly growing. So for me, it’s fun, because I get to look up tech, that’s going to help us stay ahead of the curve, and also help bring in our processes in the store to make sure salespeople are equipped to handle that tech.

Ilana Shabtay  2:33  

Interesting. And then also I think equity mining and making sure that you’re bringing the customers back in, which is what you said your focus is, can actually really help when you’re in such a competitive market, right? 

Like how can you suck the most out of the customers and create customers for life lifelong customers and get more revenue out of them. So I think that’s obviously a good place to start for 2024.

Ashley Cavazos  2:52  

You know, one thing with DeMontrond, we’re celebrating 70 years in the industry and serving the Houston community. And I really want people in our customers like we need to see what we’re doing for them and with them. 

So I’m building that brand image, which is a lot of fun getting the social content started, like we didn’t have a group Instagram. So I’m like, let’s start a group on Instagram, so we can start sharing stuff on there so people can start seeing who we are.

Ilana Shabtay  3:18  

And are you doing that yourself? Are you managing that yourself?

Ashley Cavazos  3:21  

Wow, managing all things, marketing, all things digital performance, and I work with my variable ops team. So I have a used car director and an F&I Director, and the three of us oversee variable ops.

Ilana Shabtay  3:33  

Wow, that is, that’s intense. When can we get you a social media manager? 

Ashley Cavazos  3:38  

Trying to work on that? 

Ilana Shabtay  3:40  


Ashley Cavazos  3:40  

meet somebody out at NADA and just like 

Ilana Shabtay  3:42  

Any takers? Yeah, and that move has been really good for you. So I’m excited that you’re back in Texas. How’s that? Do you miss Minnesota?

Ashley Cavazos  3:51  

I do. I miss Minnesota. I would have thought you could miss Minnesota. As you know, I get a little homesick for it. And I miss the people in Minnesota. You know, I had a great team at Walser. But it’s, I was away from home for 10 years. And it’s so exciting to be back with my family and also contribute to, you know, DeMontrond and help them with what I’ve learned over the past 10 years in Minnesota to bring that to them as well. 

Ilana Shabtay  4:15  

Yeah, that’s a really exciting part of the job. Also, you get to bring all that. And then before we sign off here, you were just featured on Digital Dealer magazine. Okay, girl boss right here. Congratulations. Tell us about that story. What that was like, I mean, that was I saw your face on the cover. I was so so proud.

Ashley Cavazos  4:35  

I saw the light from the beginning like four years ago, kind of getting it unbelievable. And it’s just crazy. But it’s great. I’m so blessed. My goal is just to contribute to women and women of color and automotive and just help bring people into this industry and know that like it doesn’t matter where you start out you can go if you put your mind to it anywhere you want to be. 

And so for Digital Dealer, it honestly started with me You know, to me to do a workshop, like they’re like, hey, we’d really love you to lead a workshop. Great. I’ve never led one. I like to bring some people with me. So I brought Colby Joiner and Ally Pinion with me and we did an interactive workshop. That was our plan. 

And then somebody’s like, Hey, can we interview you for the Dealer Magazine? I’m like, sure. Yeah, like that. Sounds cool. Next thing I know, they’re like, We want to put you on the cover. And I was like, hold on a minute. Then I find out I’m like the first Latina on the cover. 

Ilana Shabtay  5:26  

Whoa, look at that. See, we really are elevating the industry. And they did. Did they do a photoshoot in the dealer? Like, do they bring a photo camera,

Ashley Cavazos  5:35  

they offered that but I was like, I’ll see if I can find somebody I’m comfortable with. And those photos were filmed on me like, give you a little secret. But they were like, on a mobile device that Ali was Ali pinions. 

Ilana Shabtay  5:47  

Like, that’s amazing. Wow. 

Ashley Cavazos  5:53  

She was like, do this do that? I’m like, alright, I’ll just hold this. You know, go marketing Queen telling me what I need to

Ilana Shabtay  5:57  

do. Yeah. Oh, I wish I could have seen that in action. That’s amazing. Well, thank you so much. You’re really our girl boss. We love having you with us as a partner. And I look forward to hearing about the rest of the conference.

Ashley Cavazos  6:08  

I love you guys. So thank you for having me. Awesome.

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