Fast Lane: Cobalt’s First Dealer Appreciation Party

Last Tuesday, Cobalt hosted its first-ever Dealer Appreciation Party. The packed house included a fun mix of Cobalt / ADP Digital Marketing executives, dealers, employees, industry influencers, and press. Attendees enjoyed colorful speeches including a Cobalt history lesson from 15-year employee and Vice President of Social Media Matt Muilenburg, a glowing Cobalt testimonial from Auburn VW dealer Matt Welch, and an update from Chief Marketing Officer Chris Reed. The entire crowd was treated to dazzling views, delicious food and drinks and delightful conversation at Cobalt’s downtown Seattle headquarters. Auburn VW dealer Matt Welch won a trip to Digital Marketing Strategies Conference, Arun Vaidyanathan of Brotherton Cadillac took home an iPad, and Jay LeClair from Smokey Point Buick GMC won Seahawks tickets. The inaugural event provided the perfect kick-off to the Seattle PCG Pitstop the next day. Thanks to all who attended, and stay tuned for future events!

Check out the video too!

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Taking Strides Against Breast Cancer

Setting out for a 60-mile walk

Setting out for a 60-mile walk

Five women from Cobalt, one with her daughter, are setting out on quite a journey today. 60 miles over the course of three days – on foot. They’re doing it for a good cause, one we’re all probably painfully familiar with. From today through Sunday, these women are walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure.

Services Coach Erika Myrick was there this morning to see it begin.

Walking through the University of Washington

Walking through the University of Washington


“I stood on the corner this morning waiting for each wave of women to walk by so that I could catch a glimpse of these strong Cobalt women beginning their journey of strength, resiliency and courage,” Erika recalled.  “Two of our women are Breast Cancer survivors.  I was so emotional, along with everyone else cheering these thousands of women on.  By the time my friends walked up I was already crying.  It was amazing!”

In the weeks and months leading up to the 3-day walk, these women reached out to family, friends and colleagues to raise thousands of dollars. The five women walking from Cobalt are Account Advocates Angie Weber, Aimee Soileau, and Christine Rockney-Sidhu, Receptionist Keisha Gayles, and Advocate Manager Cindy Scillo. Cindy’s daughter Brianna is also walking with them.

Closing Ceremonies

Closing Ceremonies

You can keep up to date with the team’s progress on the “Keeping Abreast” team Facebook Page.

“It is so moving to me – the cause, the team, the stories, we all have them,” Erika said. “My grandmother had Breast Cancer, and we lost her to cancer several years ago.  My dear friend battled and triumphantly beat it!  The list goes on.  These women represent so much for me today.”

In the fight against breast cancer, taking strides like this represents so much for all of us. We’re all proud of you, ladies!

One Year Later – A Message From John Holt

John Holt

John Holt - ADP Digital Marketing

Now that a year has passed since we sold Cobalt to ADP, I’d like to celebrate the anniversary and give you a sense for how things have gone and what’s coming next.

I have to admit, a year ago was a bewildering time.  Selling Cobalt was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life, and keeping my head straight in the weeks before and after the deal was difficult.

We, all of us, took the high road by opening our arms up and inviting our new colleagues to look over our shoulders and develop enthusiasm for the cool stuff we’re doing. Feeling welcome, ADP’ers have come out here often, to learn and, yes, to take some of the things we do and the ways we do things back home and try them on for size. We’ve benefitted from their influence too as we’ve learned about their approaches to review and planning.

In other words, there’s been two-way osmosis, a true cultural exchange.

Now, a year later, I can say we’ve done just about everything we promised to do. We did a darn good job meeting our financial targets, we launched even more products and services than we said we would, we got way down the road on the key integration tasks, and we have unbelievably interesting and challenging work lined up to do this year and the next after that.

Cobalt's new HQ

Our new Seattle HQ

We moved to all-new headquarters in Seattle, combining our entire Puget Sound team in a showcase facility that contributes meaningfully to our work and offers compelling opportunities for employees to use public transportation, utilize downtown resources, work out and get healthier, and eat interesting food on a daily basis.

We’ve added dozens of development resources around the world, one of the reasons our product delivery rate has improved, and it should continue to get better as these development resources are still coming online.

Via ADP and BZ Results, we now have an opportunity to serve dealer groups.  There are lots of dealer groups out there and they spend a disproportionate amount of the industry’s ad spend. Getting this right is necessary to fuel our growth, enhance our reputation, and play a key role helping ADP drive its growth in the automotive vertical. I can promise you we will get it right.

Dealix has made significant progress turning usedcars.com and the used car lead generation effort into a major growth initiative.  ADP recognized this diversification and growth opportunity very early last fall, granting Dealix the needed funds to accelerate the development of usedcars.com.  The Dealix team has responded by hitting the mark on every planned aspect of the investment. Within three years, usedcars.com will be nearing the size of one of the top ten automotive portals.

We are going to be a global business.  I’m really pleased to tell you that just last week ADP leaders agreed to fund the globalization of the ADP Digital Marketing platform.  We’re now forming a scoping team and work will begin in earnest this month.

We’re making progress on developing an end-to-end vision that will provide consumers with a seamless shopping and buying experience, dealership personnel with an integrated suite of products and services that will create a seamless and efficient workflow, and insightful analytics that will take the guessing out of what advertising works, and doesn’t work.  Math and science will win, and no one will understand as much about each moment in the purchase funnel than ADP.

ADP Headquarters

ADP Headquarters in Roseland, New Jersey

A final point (though I could go on): we are now employees at one of the strongest and most financially stable companies on the planet.  While the United States has lost its triple AAA-rated status, ADP still has it, and they’re one of four such companies.  There’s just no question that we enjoy safety through diversification of risk that Cobalt didn’t have as an independent company.

As I look ahead, I am very pleased with the road we’ve traveled, but even more excited about what’s coming next.  We are changing how advertising works in the largest consumer vertical on the planet. We continue to do things that have never ever been done before. And now we’re going to have an opportunity to strut our stuff on a global stage with the active support of a company that can make us even more successful, and faster.  I have lots of confidence in our ability to win and win right, but it’s going to take extraordinary commitment and dedication to be the very best.

The men and women of ADP Digital Marketing

The men and women of ADP Digital Marketing

As summer winds to a close, enjoy Labor Day weekend. Next week will have a back-to-school feel to it and we’re going to need to step things up a notch now that summer’s over. There’s tons to do and many balls to juggle but I know the men and women of ADP Digital Marketing  – in Seattle, in Redwood City, in Coventry, in Pune, in Bangalore, in Hoffmann, in El Paso, and in hundreds of private homes – will be up to it. And I know we have ADP solidly behind us as we forge a path through this brave new world.

Happy anniversary, thank you, and my best,

John Holt
ADP Digital Marketing