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Evans, 45, who left Subaru in May, succeeded Jason Knight, who had been running LotLinx since the end of 2012, before the company was launched. Evans says that Knight remains with the company as COO. Evans was quoted in an interview with Automotive News that LotLinx approached him a few months ago while he was still serving as CMO at Subaru.
“It’s really exciting to go from a corporate job to a smaller company,” Evans said. “I’ve been assessing the business model, the go-to-market plan and the new growth strategy.”
It wasn't that long ago when Dean Evans, then Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Subaru of America, Inc. turned over the keys to the Subaru "Drive Performance" Magazine accessorized WRX to Dr. Joel R. Anstrom of Penn State University. Since then, Dr. Anstrom has utilized the car in the Penn State’s Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) Program.
Above Photo: On hand to turn over the Drive Performance Magazine Subaru WRX to Penn State were Subaru CMO Dean Evans (left) and Penn State GATE Program personnel Dr. Joel R. Anstrom (center) and graduate student Max Ripepi (right).
LotLinx was launched last October (2013) to provide car dealers with an inventory marketing platform that directly links online car shoppers from search engines and automotive research sites to dealership website Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP). This strategy and its implementation turns the dealer into a lead provider while helping customers avoid becoming a "third party lead" such as those sent to dealers by AutoTrader.com and Cars.com.
The video from LotLinx that I embedded below will help dealers and automotive marketing professionals better understand the new company's value proposition... And, watching this clip may even shed some light on why Dean Evans would leave his CMO position at Subaru to take on the arduous task of guiding yet another marketing technology start-up to success in the auto industry...
LotLinx Reality Check - Their Website States:
“We are a company built and run by Automotive Industry leaders.”
Which may be one of many reasons why Dean Evans was recruited to replace Jason Knight, whose primary experience before LotLinx was based in the consumer products, and food and beverage industries according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Knight had been CEO of HMR Foods Inc. and COO of Mozzarella Fresca Inc.
Dean Evans’ Resume Features Both Automotive and Technology Industry Experience
Evans started his career in Boulder, Colo., as a Pontiac dealership salesman in 1990. He became a field representative for Chrysler from 1991 to 1996, before managing a dealership in San Francisco from 1996 to 1998.
He began working at technology start-ups in 1998, left Nextag to go to Autofusion in 2000. During the dot.com bubble implosion of 2001, when Autofusion ran out of money, Evans rejoined the auto industry as digital marketing manager for Land Rover’s U.S. operations.
Starting in 2003, Evans began working for Dealix, which was then owned by Cobalt.
When he was fired from Dealix by John Holt, CEO of The Cobalt Group, Dean went on to accept the CMO position at Dealer.com. Dean's work as CMO at Dealer.com helped propel the enormous growth of the company's dealer website market share. After over 5 years at Dealer.com Dean Evans left to take the chief marketing officer spot at Subaru Of America (SOA) in September 2011.
As chief marketing officer, Evans implemented an increased focus on basic digital marketing strategies which had been lacking at Subaru, such as Google paid search ads. He also created "Competitive Conquest" search advertising campaigns that were designed to redirect car buying consumer traffic searching for Subaru's competitors to SOA and Subaru dealer websites... Which sounds to me a lot like the strategy that LotLinx deploys, sort of.
As LotLinx CEO, Evans will oversee strategic direction, customer relations and the company’s Vehicle Display Network.
“LotLinx is the first disruptive technology marketing product that I have seen in the last five years that delivers such a compelling competitive advantage to dealers,” Evans said in a statement. “The metrics prove that VDP advertising should be prioritized ahead of paid search, third-party lead buys and targeted display spends because it presents consumers who are lower funnel at a lower cost.”
During his Automotive News interview, Dean Evans stated that while he hopes to eventually return to automotive retail, he see the technology that LotLinx is developing as being vital to auto industry progress. Because of the disruptive nature that Evans sees in the LotLinx approach, he wanted to seize the opportunity to participate in the automotive marketing evolution that LotLinx will accelerate.
“When I saw this emerging technology coming up … it was something retail really needed,” Evans said. “I wanted to go back to the technology side and go though another wave of evolution.”
I have personally known and dealt with Dean Evans since his days at InvoiceDealers.com and Dealix, where he impressed me with his willingness and ability to take effective action. Since those days we went on to compete with each other, with me serving at ADP Dealer Services while Dean was at Dealer.com. Regardless of the heated nature of our two company's competition for OEM and dealer business, Dean and I were always willing to call and speak with each other to discuss issues involving our teams and continue the good natured relationship that had been established prior to our roles at ADP and Dealer.com.
It is exciting to see an automotive professional as capable as Dean Evans has proven himself to be, join a tech startup such as LotLinx. I wish Dean Evans all the success he can handle in his new role at LotLinx... and I would also like to congratulate LotLinx for their success in convincing Dean Evans to take on the challenging role of CEO at a technology start-up in the car business.