THE UNOBVIOUS ONES: Charting the car buyer’s online journey


The Unobvious Ones is a monthly look at movers and shakers who fly below the radar in the Canadian auto industry.

MICHAEL YEBOAH

GUIDING EACH CUSTOMER TO THE RIGHT CHOICE

When an automaker offers alternative powertrains, many buyers don’t know which type to choose. Michael Yeboah made it easier for Hyundai Canada customers by creating an online quiz.

“It’s for gasoline or electric, and it takes into account [questions] like how frequently you go to the cottage, can you install a charging station,” said Yeboah, who is Hyundai’s digital experience specialist at the head office in Markham, Ont.

“People take the quiz and we then see them build and price the vehicles we suggest.”

Yeboah, 33, develops tools to enhance the automaker’s website, updates it for model-year changeovers and works with the incentives team to include rebates.

“I’m essentially the middle person. We work with our developer partners to ensure the coding works seamlessly. The front end is my area of expertise. I get my information from the product teams and I manage and upload the content and make any necessary changes.”

Yeboah studied business administration, and his love of cars led him to become a marketing coordinator at an Acura dealership in 2013. He then worked in marketing for Kia and Mitsubishi, and for a network of collision repair facilities. He joined Hyundai in his current capacity in 2021.

“The combination of my experience with [automakers] and retail allows me to take into account the customer journey, introduce a new project, realize how it will benefit the customer the most, and how to make it easier for them to navigate,” he said.

“I look at the website as the company’s opportunity to make a first impression.

“It’s an exciting time in the industry. We’re gathering data on so many different and emerging technologies and I enjoy the ride I’ve been able to be part of. It’s an ecosystem and we’re working along with it.”

ANTON PAWCZUK

CARS AND CONNECTIVITY ARE TODAY’S COMBINATION

Apps and connected features have become essential for car buyers, and Subaru Canada knows it.

In his role as senior director of product management at the company’s head office in Mississauga, Ont., Anton Pawczuk, 46, oversees separate departments of cars and connectivity.

“One [department] is the product, which entails planning future Subaru products for competitiveness, market research, pricing, profitability and volume recommendations,” he said.

The other division is telematics and connected services, including those in the vehicles’ systems and their related mobile apps and how they operate and how secure they are.

“Our team works with Japan and Subaru of America to be fully integrated, but we do a lot of testing for the Canadian market for the new platforms and updates to the apps.”

Pawczuk heads up the telematics and product planning teams.

When a new vehicle model is on the way, “we have regular check-ins with all Subaru departments [at head office], saying are you ready for milestones such as the on-sale date, will the [vehicle] accessories be ready at the same\ time, for the press release and ad campaign.”

Pawczuk has always been an automotive enthusiast. He longed to host an auto-themed TV show and he went to journalism school.

“One of the class assignments was to get an article published, and I wrote about the modified-car scene.”

The Toronto Star newspaper accepted it and he began a weekly car column.

That ended when he was hired by Honda in 2000 for public relations, but he soon moved to product planning. He held a similar position at Volkswagen before joining Subaru in 2007.

“It’s about research and looking at competitors and seeing what people want that’s missing in [their vehicles]. We look at what Canadians want our cars to be.”

 



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