Jeremy Weisz

You know, I wanna I want to talk about I know, you can’t mention names, because you just came out with this. But we were talking right before we hit record about Four Times in Leads. Can you talk about what you were doing with that?

Aharon Horwitz

Yeah, I was just saying like, those, when you really apply speed, scale and specificity in a very, sort of, you know, scientific way, but in a way that really takes the best of what dealers know about marketing, and translate that into technology, you can just get incredible results. And those types of results are not incremental results. They’re like step function results, and they’re very big step forward. So we have we just finished a pilot with the dealer, you know, really significant dealer. And like we do in our pilots, we tend to set success criteria based on like, what happened last year and even though it’s COVID, we just take the numbers from last year and say we’re gonna you know, we’re gonna compete.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, because you’re, you’re sort of at a disadvantage. If

Aharon Horwitz

we look at the weekends we make sure we’re not including accidentally Labor Day or whatever. Anyways, the point is, we we ran this pilot with a dealer and I think like most dealers, you know, dealers are always open to try new things. They’re extremely innovative entrepreneurial, folks. They’re not necessarily, they have a healthy dose of skepticism from their experience. And I think, again, we walk into every dealership saying, Hey, we’re gonna do all this stuff, that’s fancy stuff, you know, we’re gonna bring automation, we’re going to do things that you’re paying a lot of money for, to have done manually, we’re going to be automating it. And the end of the day results speak. And truthfully, well, the only thing that speaks to sales, that’s how dealers dealers are and how they should be. In this particular case, we had a target on leads, quality leads, and we we forex to target, which was a really wonderful outcome. And I think the dealer, you know, maybe believes a little more, we have to do that another month and another month. Sales are you you want to make sure that that that’s going to translate into a sales lead for them, which is, which is also something that we’re, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re very good at doing. Like the the challenge with leads, meaning lead, we don’t think of leads like, we don’t, we don’t we do, meaning we haven’t in our name. And, you know, when we were founded, we were thinking of ourselves as lead gen. But what we quickly realized over time, was that it wasn’t about, you know, leads, it was about, you know, helping people to be leaders and be stars right in their business, because then the greatest dealers really are very much people, people, they want to create a great consumer experience, and the technology should be an extension of what that dealer knows, thanks, once. And the way that we translate their insights and knowledge into marketing is very powerful, brings good results, and is very authentically that dealer.

Jeremy Weisz

So what did you do for them?

Aharon Horwitz

Well, they used us in place of a traditional marketing agency ran all their paid search all their did, you know, digital, like social marketing, social media marketing, and we drove a heck of a lot of quality shoppers to their website into their CRM, so that they could go follow up and you know, make those closes?

Jeremy Weisz

I mean, like, if, if a dealership is listening right now, and they’re like, this sounds amazing. How does it work? How do you explain it to them typically.

Aharon Horwitz

So what we generally do is say that you could think of us as a kind of the next evolution of the marketing agency, which they’re all used to working with, right. So they have a marketing agency, they run their Google ads, they run their Google display ads, they run their their Facebook marketing, their Instagram marketing, and our technologist takes care of all of that. And then we also embed some intelligence on the website that helps do personalized targeting. So you could think of us as kind of a next generation matchmaker between the cars they have on their lot, and their shoppers via the mediums of Google and Facebook paid marketing and the website that they have. And that’s what we do.

Jeremy Weisz

Where did you get the idea for this?

Aharon Horwitz

So it’s interesting, because idea really emerged out of being passionate about small, medium businesses, my co founders and I, Eliav and Yishai we were in different ways, we were all involved in the world of SMBs. And we were looking at the way marketing was evolving and seeing that, you know, big players in the space, who tend to usually put a lot of pressure on SMB businesses, they just have unbelievable tools for marketing, and unbelievable tools for automation and access to kind of off the shelf stuff that is very powerful, and SMBs don’t have the bandwidth or capacity to operate that stuff. It’s not it’s maybe designed from them at the beginning for them at the beginning, in order to get into the market very quickly, those businesses tend to go up to enterprise. And we were very curious whether we could build a marketing automation system that was built for SMBs. And able to work in that type of environment, small, medium businesses, right. And we did and we built some really cool stuff that used very advanced technology, you mentioned that we were in Israel. So in Israel, you have access to a lot of really good developers, developer talent, and advanced technology. We’re the folks who, my co founders and others who work at the company, and we Luckily, through one of our advisors stumbled into automotive. And when we got going there, you know, we built a succession of products. And we realized that we just have a real advantage because of how we can operate with, you know, intelligence and data at scale. And what we were doing was actually taking kind of the same types of insights, a dealer would have just looking at a person walking into a showroom, we’re actually figuring out how to translate those, not for one campaign or for two campaigns, or for a few cars in the rest of the cars just get like a, you know, catch all stuff for every single car, and for every single opportunity that a dealer has service and whatnot. And as we realized that we realized that the technology really is breakthrough in this industry, the results are breakthrough. Again, if you if you if you can embrace that, as a dealer, you’re suddenly playing in the future where the sort of non automotive marketing to Technology is actually at now, if you try to bring non automotive Mar tech into automotive, it will not work because there’s so much specificity that you have to account for the minute you make that happy marriage of the same tech chops and approach to scaled marketing automation from the outside with the knowledge and insight into auto, then you suddenly have, you know, you have something special. When we first came in, we did not know auto, you know, I’ll freely admit that five, six years ago, I did not understand a word no one was saying to me, but we learned that later

Jeremy Weisz

nation, you know, innovation all and from there. Yeah, innovation comes from outside industry typically. Right? So sometimes it’s an advantage, right? Yeah, like

Aharon Horwitz

I find innovation comes either from the internal periphery, or from the from the external, often more from the internal periphery, I think, I think, I think if you have the inside, you know, if you know an industry, and yet you’re not like bought into the models that everyone always uses, and you just try things differently, that’s a great position to be in, when you come from the outside, you have a big hurdle. Um, we were willing to go through, frankly, just like the difficulties and the pain to get through that hurdle. And now, I can talk cars with a lot of people, dealer say that I sound like I know, at least basically what I’m talking about. Definitely no, well, we definitely knows the tech side. And we really know how to work with the tools of the day. And bridging that gap is sort of our you know, and you know, when you think about it, like your typical dealer either has an in house team or works with a marketing agency. Those folks can work with the markets right now, the major Mark has been Facebook, Google, you know, a few others. And over the past five years like that, that worked fine. But those markets, Facebook, Google, they’ve advanced at lightspeed, right. So over the past five years, they’ve added so much functionality, so much opportunity, that stuff that’s really only accessible, you can really only take full advantage of that if you’re using technology to talk to it. And those agencies, who are great agencies, and any dealer looking for an agency has an amazing selection there. They’re not they didn’t say, Oh, no, now, now we’re a full tech company. And we’re going to go all in with that, and keep that lock. So a gap opened up. And frankly, the dealer now sits over here, only a little of their opportunities are being captured. I mean, because there’s a lot of people looking for that snowplow on the back of a lot, no one’s gonna spend the time to market that thing, right? Unless you bring in technology that can give you specificity scale and speed. And, and that’s what really came in to fill that gap, see more, understand more, bring that level of, you know, resolution and detail to the dealer to drive more sales opportunities.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, Aharon, you know, with any company, it goes down to execution and team, you’ve built an amazing team at AutoLeadStar, and I want to talk about how you met your co founders and built the team.

Aharon Horwitz

So we’re three co founders, one of one of my partners, I met him in the army, we were in infantry together and slept in the same tent. That’s how we got to know each other. He went on to be a tech guru. And, and many years later, we decided to do something together. You know, I’m very, one of the one of the great things to happen is you’re literally in the trenches with them. Yeah, exactly. We were literally in the trenches are usually marching around, and then the, and then the, an Eliav, of who’s our other co founder, he was in a university with my co founder, and you’ve just got to get to know him. He’s, he’s a real, he’s a product guy, he happens to be his backgrounds in math, but he’s a product guy. And, you know, we were able to really build up a connection and just wanted to be on a journey together, though, the only reason you know, the, like, companies work because of the people. And so it was a good founding core. And we’ve added amazing people since and, and I feel like, you know, it’s this. It’s really a movement. We’re all we’re all just really dedicated to trying to bring this new type of marketing opportunity to one of the most important businesses in the world, certainly in the United States and other major, kind of, you know, middle class democracies, where you have, you know, in the US, you have, I don’t know, 1.5 million people directly employed to dealerships you have a payroll every year of 67 billion $70 billion. You that’s just the franchise dealers, Indians, even, you know, you had more, you have state taxes sometimes been 20 30% sales tax on on car, so it’s just, it’s an engine of the economy, people can still get jobs there can still earn a respectable living, there aren’t that many places like that anymore. And we feel very privileged to be trying to give that space and those businesses the tools they need to be successful in the future.

Jeremy Weisz

How did your experience in Israeli Army shape you?

Aharon Horwitz

Um, I mean, I just a, it’s a place that’s very, it’s very much into, like solving problems and taking ownership. So I think that was a that’s theirs. They put a lot of trust in people. don’t really care about age or, you know, or kind of where you’re from. It’s just more about like what you’re able to do. And I think that sort of meritocratic approach, where we can check out from, you know, I don’t even know the age of half the people work at my company. And some of them I think, are have big titles are actually really pretty young. But it’s just there’s nothing to do with. With that. It’s all about what you can do. A lot of dealing with challenges and perseverance, I actually saw this interesting article, I think it was in Forbes or I was in an airport fortune, I don’t know, somewhere, some I saw off the shelf, that for a time, I guess, during the 2008 economic crash, like in the years afterwards, companies were actually trying to hire people from certain types of Army backgrounds, officers and whatnot, mainly because they could navigate uncertainty. And they were okay with that. And, you know, the fog of war, they’d been trained to deal with that and be okay with that level of uncertainty. And I think like right now, with COVID, that certainly come in handy, you know, just sort of this sense of confidence that, you know, you have certain competencies, you have a certain compass, and you you just navigate and react to what’s coming your way. And that’s not always easy. I mean, you know, you’re talking about some of the other folks that you were speaking with, where they were talking about the journey and the challenges, there are many and many mistakes. And, you know, at the end of the day, I think one of the key characteristics of an entrepreneur is just perseverance and commitment, and a sense of responsibility to the ultimate mission and an outcome that you’re going after, you know, while really trying to care about the people, um, you know, you’re you’re working with and, you know, even if it doesn’t work out with someone, you also try to care and, and be respectful and whatnot. So it’s like, those are the things that you I think you pick up in an experience like, like in the military, and at least in my experience,

Jeremy Weisz

yeah. All right. Before we finish, I want to tell two last questions. I want to point people towards AutoLeadStar.com they could check out what you guys are doing what you built over there. And InsideAuto Podcast, I’m just quickly what’s been a, you know, I always ask, because in spite Insider, what’s been more of a low point, challenge point, what’s been a proud moment for you.

Aharon Horwitz

I mean, some of them are together, right? You know, those low points, those low point how you respond and react to low point, gentlemen, look, we’ve we’ve been on a, you know, a journey to build this thing, and to really kind of see that vision come together. And, as an entrepreneur, that’s challenging in many ways, it’s challenging on on family, it’s challenging on relationships. I think that, you know, rather than pointing to any one particular thing, you have, though, you have all those things, yeah, those money were those moments where there’s not a lot of money in the bank, you have those moments where you’re on the road, you know, for weeks on end, or even longer, and you’re not seeing your family and you feel this, you know, crushing sense of, like, you know, letting them down. I mean, those are very real things. For most entrepreneurs, I think most of us experienced those things. And, and I’ve experienced them, and, you know, I feel a lot of empathy and sympathy to those that are, I think that’s, that’s obviously very much present. When it comes to like things I’m proud of, I’m just proud of the innovation that we’ve brought to the table. Our team is all about solving problems, being creative, doing things well. And right, we’re also willing to tolerate a certain amount of, you know, failures. And I think that’s also important for entrepreneurs, you know, and there’s nothing that hurts more. I mean, it happens to all of us. It just doesn’t work for some reason, right? You know, we have this this really nice person who put us on a dealership and like, you know, an independent dealership somewhere. And for whatever reason, wasn’t working. There were things in their account, and things with us, I’m sure it just didn’t work. Those are those feel really bad. But for me, it’s all about how to react to that. Like what’s our ultimate guiding vision and how are we driving forward and we have this vision where these these businesses that are dealerships, these important businesses are all marketing like their top tier fortune 500 players and and rocking it and you’re driving towards that every single day. That’s what motivates me and motivates our company.

Jeremy Weisz

What episode should people check out the podcast?

Aharon Horwitz

Whoa, interesting. Anything that Ilan is hosting. Aside from that, there’s so many good ones out we interviewed Derek West of the Autobahn Group and Derek’s like really been in the he’s lived the whole digital evolution of automotive. We interviewed on a totally different side, we interviewed Chase Fraser from Fraser McCombs, capital, venture investor in automotive, and he talked a lot about entrepreneurship and what he looks for in companies where things are going. Dale Early who runs an amazing dealership down in Texas, we’ve just had a great day. Derek DeBoer from From out in Oregon, and his his amazing story with with his spouse, Brooke. Around dealerships racing, it just goes on and on. There’s great content.

Jeremy Weisz

Thank you. First of all around I know there’s so much more to go to, but you have more dealerships to help. So I’ll let you do that everyone check out AutoLeadStar.com check out InsideAutoPodcast.com, and thanks for being with me.

Aharon Horwitz

Thank you very much Jeremy. Great to be here.