By Ashley Reyes
Kelleigh Ash, director of sales, marketing and brand management at KW automotive North America Inc., is the latest SEMA Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) member to share her insight on how her company pivoted during the pandemic and utilized technology to keep business moving forward.
Get to know what technology tools have increased her company’s speed-to-market and what new trends she is seeing in sales and marketing in her interview with SEMA below.
SEMA: How has your company pivoted during the pandemic?
Kelleigh Ash: In 2020, we had to run on split shifts for months to socially distance and limit exposure. As an example, we had to run two separate shifts in our R&D department while developing the first-to-market performance coilover suspension system for the new C8. This was a huge challenge, and we pivoted our product development process to utilize virtual tools and new technologies to achieve our goal. In spite of this challenge, our team is made up of some serious engineering rockstars, and they knocked it out of the park and delivered on time.
SEMA: What technology tools—new or old—have you leaned on recently?
KA: We have utilized new 3D printing technology, 3D scanning, 3D animations, AI and augmented reality just to name a few. The past 18 months have forced these new technologies, as it relates to engineering and product development, to the forefront of utilization. These new technologies have increased speed-to-market, decreased costs and allowed us to forge paths for new product innovations in ways we never thought possible.
SEMA: What new trends have you noticed with sales and marketing?
KA: Product data and content have never been more important. Our industry was in the middle of the shift to a majority of digital content and a digital consumer shopping experience. The pandemic has catapulted our industry into this digital market, as consumers had no choice but to shop from their phones during lockdown. Showing off your product features and benefits, immersing the consumer in your product on their phones or tablets and making them feel like they can touch and feel your product in a virtual environment is key to success today.
SEMA: What, if any, changes in business do you feel will outlive the pandemic?
KA: I believe that working from anywhere (not just from home) and virtual meetings are here to stay. Companies learned quickly that certain roles can be managed productively and effectively remotely, and that virtual meetings can be just as effective. Additionally, the consumer shift to a digital-only shopping experience is here to stay.
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