Not all tech companies get better with age — but Edmunds has. The Santa Monica-based company runs one of the most popular car information and shopping platforms on the internet today through a product that’s miles away from the newsstand publication that launched the Edmunds brand back in 1966.
Today, the company has a reputation for being the kind of place where new ideas are welcome — and where testing and iteration are core to the way things run. We caught up with the multi-disciplined attribution model team at Edmunds to see what life in the office is like.
EMPLOYEES: 600 nationally, 434 locally
WHAT THEY DO: Edmunds produces online tools that shed transparency and add ease to the often onerous process of buying a car. Their car shopping and information platform is one of the most used in the world.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Santa Monica
STAYING POWER: The average tenure of an employee at the company is around five and a half years.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE: How does a company that has been in the automotive market for more than 50 years stay relevant? Look no further than Edmunds' CarCode team.
Alison Anziska, VP, Marketing & Analytics
As the head of Edmunds' marketing and analytics teams, Alison is leading the charge in building a marketing portfolio that provides a measurable impact on the core business’s KPIs. Her team is approaching brand marketing from a data-driven perspective to prove the team’s impact on the company’s bottom line.
BEYOND WORK: Alison enjoys cooking, travel and reading whenever she can find a spare moment.
You head up a cross-functional team focused on reimagining the Edmunds Attribution Model. How has your experience across teams at Edmunds prepared you for this project?
I am a connector by nature, so having broad experience in product, sales, marketing and analytics from my career at Edmunds has allowed me to see across the organization in ways that enable connection. Without that level of exposure to various teams, I don’t believe we could have tackled a challenge as complex as attribution. We’ve had to tap many different subject matter experts across the company for this project — but the amazing thing is, the answers to our problems are pretty much always somewhere in this building.
We’ve had to tap many different subject matter experts across the company for this project — but the amazing thing is, the answers to our problems are pretty much always somewhere in this building. ”
If you had to boil it down to just one or two things, what do you think makes team members on your project successful?
First off, it would be tenacity. I’ve joked that this project alone is like scaling the seven summits. Every time we tackle one challenge, there’s something slightly more complicated ahead, but the group has taken each new challenge with an open mind and laid out a new plan.
Second is the benefit of learning from outside sources. It’s critical to realize that we won’t have the fullest understanding of best practices in our market if we keep our heads down. Working with consultants is critical to validating our plans so that we can be confident that we are on the right path.
James Yu, Executive Director, Marketing & Traffic Analytics
As the head of marketing analytics at Edmunds, James leads a team dedicated to optimizing site traffic and identifying and improving the performance of the company’s marketing channels.
BEYOND WORK: James is an avid sports fan, and his favorite teams are the Lakers, Dodgers and Raiders. He especially loves looking into players’ stats to predict which players will have success when playing fantasy sports.
You’ve been at Edmunds for 13 years. Give us an overview of your career arc at the company.
I started my journey at Edmunds straight out of college as an analyst supporting our advertising business and immediately fell in love with the company culture and team. Over time, I was fortunate to have the support of my manager and team in growing my experience by supporting our leads business, then product support and, now, traffic and marketing.
When I reflect back on my time here, I do wonder if I would have been given the opportunity to pursue my interests in the manner that Edmunds has allowed me — and without moving from company to company — so for that I am thankful.
Tech has definitely added to our analytics capabilities here at Edmunds, which has been integral to the success of the business across all departments.”
When people think about tech, they think about programmers and products. How is tech enabling the Edmunds marketing team?
Tech has definitely added to our analytics capabilities here at Edmunds, which has been integral to the success of the business across all departments. By integrating API feeds and other statistical models to our analytical workflow, our access to data has grown substantially. Our team’s ability to assess changes in trends — whether in traffic or marketing campaigns — has become increasingly scientific and mathematical, giving us confidence in the decisions we make every day.
The Edmunds office space is famously cool. What’s your favorite spot in the office and why?
I love this question. Our office space is really one of a kind. My favorite spot — and it’s hard to pick just one — would have to be the outside patio where you can take some time to think through projects you’re working on and catch some vitamin D.
Rob Hardy, Director, Analytics Engineering
Rob leads a team of analytics engineers responsible for delivering data and reporting to end users. His department includes six employees in Santa Monica and two off-shore contracted resources in Russia.
BEYOND WORK: Rob likes backpacking in remote areas. An outdoors enthusiast, Rob thinks that an appreciation of nature helps him hone his sense of empathy as a leader within the company.
As a manager of many people, what’s your approach to ensuring your team is doing quality work but also that they’re happy in their job?
I’m very much convinced that people will do their best work when they are excited about their job and the team they work on. Spending time together as a team outside of work can contribute greatly to the feeling of being a part of something. And, when we get to know each other’s lives outside of work, it creates a dynamic that works better than any policies or structured feedback loops I’ve been a part of. I especially try to avoid any fear-based motivations — they’re the worst for the long-term.
[...] when we get to know each other’s lives outside of work, it creates a dynamic that works better than any policies or structured feedback loops I’ve been a part of.”
What part of this cross-collaborative attributions project has taught you about other teams around the company?
This project has been a great way to see the direct impact that the work our team does has on the success of other teams. With the attribution project, Alison set things up so we participate directly in the big picture planning and execution of the team goals. We get to see how our work is helping shape the marketing strategy for the company.
This has made me think more about how I can structure projects on my own team so that my team members can see the bigger picture.
Jacqueline Sandoval, Executive Director, Marketing Integration
Jacqueline is responsible for a broad range of Edmunds’ marketing functions, including guiding the brand’s direction and position in the market.
BEYOND WORK: A lover of all things real estate and design, Jacqueline guts homes for fun and restyles them from the inside out.
How does your team contribute to the larger picture of what Edmunds does?
My team is responsible for two critical areas of the business: B2C and B2B marketing. Ultimately, my team is responsible for delivering ROI for two distinct audiences. It also means that we work with almost every team within the organization on any given project.
We’re currently working on a project that includes stakeholders from legal, analytics, data science, content, social, PR, sales, research, insights, product and finance. The beauty of Edmunds as a company is our ability to empower teams to make decisions, test them, and yes, even fail. Every soured attempt to do something gives us insight and validation of the path we should we be on.
The opportunities to build clever creative campaigns are endless, as are the chances to show consumer journeys.”
How has your job changed in your time at Edmunds? How has the company changed?
Every day the scope of my work at Edmunds changes and grows. The opportunities to build clever creative campaigns are endless, as are the chances to show consumer journeys. It’s the toolbox that just keeps giving, and that means you have to stay ahead of the game, never losing focus that the consumer is at the heart of everything we build.
Since starting at Edmunds, I can say there is a real openness to explore and test using emerging digital platforms. There is also a vested interest in learning how quickly we can get there.