Saying Goodbye to the ‘Godfather of Automotive Digital Marketing’

If you’ve been in the car business for the past 20 years and wanted to better understand how digital marketing could help your dealership, you probably know Ralph Paglia.

Ralph was among a handful of people in and around the car business who understood how the Internet would change the way we do business. Through the 2000s, Ralph was a mainstay at automotive conferences, helping dealers bring digital technologies, tools and processes to their business development, customer relationship management and sales efforts.

I first met Ralph about 15 years ago, when he led the CRM/eBusiness team for Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix. I was pitching vAuto, and Ralph instantly understood how retail market-based pricing would benefit the dealership’s desire to connect customers with used cars online.

From that moment, Ralph and I remained friends and stayed in touch. This morning, when I checked my Facebook feed, I was saddened to learn that Ralph had passed away due to COVID-19.

I’ll forever cherish the times that I would see and talk to Ralph over the years. I could always count on learning something new and sharing a hearty laugh.

Ralph was a giant of a man, in physical size, in his capacity to generously give whatever attention and time anyone needed, in his commitment to honesty and integrity, and in his profound influence on the online marketing practices and principles many dealers employ to great success today.

Ralph touched the lives of many in the car business and beyond. He wasn’t just one of the good guys, he was a great guy. His loss is our loss.

RIP, Ralph, and thank you for being a great friend.

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