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[NADA 2024] How Personalized Video Marketing is Revolutionizing the Car Buying Experience with Melissa Cartagena

  • February 25, 2024
10 min read
[NADA 2024] How Personalized Video Marketing is Revolutionizing the Car Buying Experience with Melissa Cartagena

Ilana Shabtay
VP of Marketing, Fullpath

Melissa Cartagena
Senior Director of Digital Advertising, AutoNation

Melissa Cartagena is the Senior Director of Digital Advertising at AutoNation, an American automotive retailer providing comprehensive transportation solutions. An industry veteran with over 20 years of experience as a digital technology marketer, growth marketer, and growth hacker, she has managed numerous large-scale online marketing and reputation management initiatives. Dedicated to tying all relevant data together for more precise and efficient execution, Melissa’s entrepreneurial spirit and transformational leadership have earned accolades in the digital media industry.

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

  • AutoNation’s collaboration with Epsilon and Flastalk
  • Tying back all data points with sequential marketing
  • Why should your marketing strategy prioritize connection with people over numbers?
  • AutoNation’s first-party data approach

In this episode…

Personalization is a game-changer in marketing, especially in the automotive industry. To succeed, your marketing strategies need to connect with people, not just numbers. How can you create a solid plan to handle digital automotive transactions?

Digital marketing expert, Melissa Cartagena, shares her experience in implementing personalized video strategies for AutoNation on a large scale. Through partnerships with Epsilon and Flashtalking, Melissa’s team is revolutionizing traditional marketing by infusing it with dynamic, data-driven campaigns. With personalized video marketing, you can customize every interaction based on individual preferences, all powered by insightful data analytics. This way, you cater to the specific preferences of each individual, ultimately enhancing engagement and driving better results.

In this episode of Inside Auto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay hosts Melissa Cartagena, the Senior Director of Digital Advertising at AutoNation, to talk about the power of personalized video marketing. She discusses AutoNation’s proactive stance on data privacy, the company’s collaboration with Epsilon and Flashtalking, and why your marketing should prioritize people over numbers.

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  0:02  

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  

InsideAuto Podcast, welcome, Melissa Cartagena.

Melissa Cartagena  0:17  

Thank you for having me.

Ilana Shabtay  0:18  

Thank you for joining. We’re doing these quick, NADA conversations for the podcast. We’re going to talk about what we’re seeing at the conference, what we’re looking for, specifically with less, I’d love to, let’s pick up the conversation from last year. 

Melissa Cartagena  0:32  

Yes. Let’s do that. 

Ilana Shabtay  0:33  

2023. Melissa spoke a little bit about finding a video strategy, where she can implement personalized video at scale for auto nation. Yes, as that guy,

Melissa Cartagena  0:44  

I was struggling with it for a long time. And we were a little behind two years from now. Because last year, it had been almost a year and we hadn’t been doing it yet. So now, we’re finally getting ready to launch deal arised video at scale. And we’re using a couple of partners that we’re working with. Epsilon is one of them, they’ve been a great partner to us. And we’re also going to tap into a partnership alongside Flashtalking, which is now owned by Mediaocean. So we’re super excited because it’s going to be dynamic in nature, when we’ll be able to really do digital video at a dealerized level the way that I’d wanted to for years, so

Ilana Shabtay  1:21  

let’s actually centralize that, but disperse it for every single dealer. Um, yeah, donation, yes,

Melissa Cartagena  1:27  

100%. And then what’s really cool about it is that we’ve got access to all the data, so we pull in all of our transaction data, and we match that and we’re able to really personalize it. So that’s what’s exciting about it, because now we can do it in a personalized fashion that we’re not able to even do before.

Ilana Shabtay  1:44  

Yeah, and what’s really cool, I did add, I know that’s your specialty, you can start sending up audiences based on how much time that they watch the video. That’s what’s really cool, you can start getting into that, and do brand campaigns. And if they watch more than 10, 15 seconds, you can automatically put them in a different funnel. 

Melissa Cartagena  2:00  

And what’s really cool is I think that once we start to launch it, my mind goes into all different places. It’s now I feel like we could start really talking about a sequenced approach. How can we do sequential marketing the way that we really want to do sequential marketing and inclusive of video plus display advertising, and then cross our tactics through social and things of that nature as well. So it’s really just tying it all back. And it’s it’s all about the data is tying all the data back together really making it work for you. And I think that’s what makes it exciting.

Ilana Shabtay  2:29  

Yeah, that is exciting. And so you’re looking to launch this in March? 

Melissa Cartagena  2:32  

Yes, we’re looking to launch in March

Ilana Shabtay  2:34  

It’s a big step, yeah. 

Melissa Cartagena  2:37  

We’re gonna dip our toe in first, and then make sure that it’s functioning the way that we want it to, and then we’re getting the value out of it that we’re looking for. And then hopefully, we’ll be able to go even further and take it to OTT, CTV and just really start to scale from there. So it’s exciting, I’m grateful. 

Ilana Shabtay  2:52  

So when you say dip your toes just for so I understand AutoNation is that like, two stores, five stores, 10 stores, what does that usually look like for you?

Melissa Cartagena  2:52  

We’ll probably try maybe somewhere around 20, 25 stores. But it actually could even be a little bit more than that, because we’re actually going to target the brand first. So we’re going to look at certain brands that are easier to work with in terms of mandates, and you know, all the things that you have to consider when you’re, you know, advertising for a specific OEM. Yeah. So we’ll start off with a few OEMs that we know we can manage through fairly quickly. And then we’ll start to dive into the ones that are a little bit more complex in nature, like luxury and things like that. Yeah.

Ilana Shabtay  3:30  

Interesting. Okay, well, in 2025, we’ll have you call them back. And they’ll

Melissa Cartagena  3:35  

be like, only running fingers crossed. TR series, yo, and then we’ll take it to Prime Video and we’re good.

Ilana Shabtay  3:44  

Yeah, so that’s gonna be a whole new channel for you.

Melissa Cartagena  3:47  

Yes, a whole new channel. So we’re thinking through how we’re going to manage it, and how we’re going to approach it, and who we’re going to partner with to help us get there. But Amazon has been on my radar for a long time. So now it’s just a matter of time before we start to test that out too, as to how that works. Yeah, and, and really just collectively works alongside all the data that we collected, how we look at our customers, and how we could just, you know, message them in an appropriate manner. But on a personal level, versus worrying about devices and things of that nature. We just want to be talking to people and giving them a message that they want to hear. 

Ilana Shabtay  4:19  

Hey, here we go to market to people not to numbers. 

Melissa Cartagena  4:22  

There you go. 

Ilana Shabtay  4:23  

Even though we already know, 

Melissa Cartagena  4:24  

No, I didn’t know that. 

Ilana Shabtay  4:25  

Oh, yeah, it was always all about it, like you have all of these anonymous IDs in your work today, which is great when you need to be taught that the second you can actually identify then you can talk to people now. Yes,

Melissa Cartagena  4:38  

That’s what it’s about. Yeah. Talking to people. Yes. And I’ve been saying it for years, like it’s been, oh my gosh, I’ve been saying we need to do true people based marketing for like, I’ve been saying this for the last five or six years.

Ilana Shabtay  4:50  

Way ahead of your time. 

Melissa Cartagena  4:51  

So I’m excited because it’s going to be a game changer and Yang and we have been super focused on ensuring that we’re right with our data. We have a first data first party data approach. We’ve been doing that for a couple of years now, not as worried about the deprecation of cookies as everybody else’s, I think we’re really positioned very well to manage that. 

So you know, it’s time we’ll need to really start figuring out how we’re going to manage to do that because the clock’s ticking yet and people don’t have much time to figure it out now

Ilana Shabtay  5:21  

Well, it’s good that you have set up automation for success when it comes to that because your first grade is going to be where all your marketing fifth Yes, that’s

Melissa Cartagena  5:28  

where it should be. Yeah, that’s where it used to be. I mean, yeah, it’s still going out and capturing others and you need to conquer and do the prospecting and all of that, but you need to get right with your own data. Otherwise, it’s gonna be big trouble. It’s like doomsday is coming. Yeah, it feels but he tweeted James didn’t know

Ilana Shabtay  5:45  

Another thing, did you see so I’ll just plug Aharon’s book? It is releasing a book here and he’s super excited to actually read that book. Chapter Two is called avoiding do 

Melissa Cartagena  5:54  

Oh, really? You really are on this.

Ilana Shabtay  5:58  

Yeah, you’ve You gotta get a copy before 

Melissa Cartagena  5:59  

I do. And I need a signature on it. 

Ilana Shabtay  6:01  

Yes, he will. He would do. 

Melissa Cartagena  6:03  

I am excited to read that. I think it’s gonna be a great yeah, that’s gonna be

Ilana Shabtay  6:07  

Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining InsideAuto Podcast again, and ideas. I shall Yes, read later. Thank you.

Outro  6:19  

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