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An Interview with Jay Pivec

President of PivNet

Jay Pivec has worked in the automotive advertising business for more than 25 years. He started his career working on the Chrysler Group’s Jeep-Eagle account at CME Advertising and later on the Toyota account for Pivec Advertising. In 1995, he started PivNet, the digital arm of Pivec Advertising. As an early adopter of technology, PivNet became one the first automotive agencies to use ad networks, social media, video and mobile media.

PivNet created the first Toyota native app, which appeared in the iTunes and Android app stores. The agency also facilitated one of the first search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns for Buyatoyota. com, Toyota’s national retail website, and created sites for more than 140 Toyota dealers in the Mid- Atlantic region. PivNet continues working in the digital space to identify new media opportunities for Central Atlantic Toyota dealers and is working to prepare dealers for ecommerce opportunities.

Can you describe PivNet and its focus?

Jay Pivec: We are a digital marketing company,and our client is the Central Atlantic Toyota Dealers Advertising Association. We have Toyota dealers in five states: Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia. We are specialists in digital advertising, web and mobile marketing tools, and our main focus is to drive traffic, leads and customers to our dealers via various digital avenues.

We also have some in-store sales tools for sales associates and management. Our goal is to put a system in place that’s going to give some artificial intelligence to the sales associates to help them sell more accessories. Our digital sales package is designed to help dealers advertise monthly specials directly to the customers in the showroom. So we work with the dealer association, Toyota and individual dealers.

You mentioned in-store tools for sales associates. Is that a software product?

Pivec: It’s a shopping cart-based software package that enables sales associates to present accessories to customers at the point of sale. Customers choose the accessories, and the order is sent electronically to each department in the dealership involved in the sale or installation of the accessories. It also includes an accounting and management system that helps the dealership truly understand the finances of the accessories business. This software package can be used on the dealer’s website as well as for direct email marketing.

What are your biggest business challenges in helping your clients?

Pivec: The digital world is changing at an exponential rate—“fast” is not a strong enough adjective. The Central Atlantic Toyota dealers have challenged us to keep them at the cutting edge of new technology. This is the major challenge we address daily.

How does your company tap into eMarketer intelligence to help your client stay on top of their business, grow and innovate?

Pivec: eMarketer is our main research tool because it opens up doors to other research tools. It saves us a lot of time. The biggest thing you do is pick and choose the most pertinent research out there that affects our business, as opposed to us having to do that on our own. I subscribe to your RSS feeds. I read them every day, and I note and react to anything relevant accordingly.

Are there any examples of where you and your team have gone into the database looking for something to make a use case or prove a point to your client?

Pivec: I use eMarketer content to back up theories with data. That’s really what we use eMarketer for. Most recently, we’ve used your mobile data every time we’ve done a presentation—we pull information for mobile queries, specifically with search and mobile penetration on endemic sites. This information complements data from our own internal data set. We use your data to back up our assumptions and theories.

You mentioned pulling data for your client about mobile penetration on endemic sites—can you explain that a little bit more?

Pivec: We’ve been on a mobile initiative in coordination with the dealers and the OEMs in this region for about two years now. It’s all based on the assumption that dealers need to have a mobile presence as smartphones are starting to outsell desktop computers and tablets sales are surging. We always look for mobile usage, specifically days of the week and times of the day, and then we tailor the creative delivery accordingly. It’s important for us as marketers to know when to deploy emails and when to serve our apps.

What do your campaigns look like?

Pivec: We will typically have an SEM plan, advertising on endemic sites and email marketing. And everything we do has a mobile and video component to it. If we buy an endemic site like AutoTrader.com, for example, a portion of that AutoTrader.com budget will go toward targeting people on the company’s mobile site and various video units. We use the same approach for SEM, ad nets and demand-side platform campaigns.

Do you have any other examples of where you’ve used eMarketer data, content or reports to address a client issue or challenge?

Pivec: On a quarterly basis, at a minimum biannually, I search for the industry cost-per-click (CPC) data you provide for SEM, and that’s important to us because we want to make sure we know where we should be with our CPCs. Seeing data from eMarketer gives us those affirmations that we are where we need to be with respect to the agency and that we’re giving our client a good return on investment.

Why did you choose to invest in eMarketer as a research tool?

Pivec: eMarketer is a great research tool because it pulls in the best, most pertinent research out there and saves us a lot of time in finding the data we need. It’s right there at your fingertips. And if you can’t find it yourself, eMarketer’s staff is always very proactive about helping us find the data we need.

The reports and chart sources are very credible—that’s important for us when we’re presenting media and digital media plans to our client. It also gives the dealers a level of comfort that we’re cross-tracking our recommendations with data from credible sources—eMarketer really provides that.

What did you use before eMarketer? Did you have a third-party research provider?

Pivec: We did not use a third party before eMarketer. We had more of an in-house research department that spent a lot of time researching—I’m talking 25, sometimes 30 hours a month. eMarketer gives us everything within minutes. At least once a week, we have a project where we need to go to eMarketer and pull some type of data. It’s also rare that I don’t read the eight or nine auto reports you publish per year.

Are there any topics you would like to see that eMarketer hasn’t covered?

Pivec: I would like to see more data on digital spends by percentage of budget by industry. I’d also like to see more percentage spend breakouts across the different engines, specifically Google vs. Bing, and by industry. We want to see how this compares with the overall ad budget of the total industries. I see data from AutoTrader.com, which it pulls from the OEMs, but I’d like to have access to other industries.

How is eMarketer an effective tool for a smaller company like yours?

Pivec: For a smaller company like ours, it’s a really big resource-saver. When we switched from doing research in-house to eMarketer, we found that not only is it a resource-saver, but we also get better data. We were able to free up a lot more resources to take care of the big tasks at hand. So eMarketer is a time-saver, and we also get better research.

What’s your reaction to eMarketer being a “nice-to-have” vs. a “need-to-have”?

Pivec: A “nice-to-have” is something you can live without and it won’t affect your business in a negative manner. We wouldn’t be able to operate at the level we do without eMarketer—the service is a “need-to-have” for smaller businesses like ours.

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Jay Pivec

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“We wouldn’t be able to operate at the level we do without eMarketer— the service is a ‘need-to-have’ for smaller businesses like ours.”

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