Melinda Welsh – First to Lead Marketing and Direct Lending for Chase Auto
Consumer-Facing business is now aligned in one shop
New York, NY Nov 12, 2018 Chase Auto Chief Marketing Officer Melinda Welsh has taken on the additional role of leading the direct lending business. The combination of marketing and direct lending is a new one for Chase Auto and Welsh will be the first to take on the leadership of both consumer-facing teams.
Chase has appointed Jim Manelis, previously head of Direct Lending, to develop and oversee strategic alliances, including with financial technology companies among others.
“Bringing together these two teams allows us to listen and respond to our customers like never before and Melinda is the perfect person to lead the charge,” said Chase Auto CEO Mark O’Donovan.
Welsh has served as Chase Auto’s Chief Marketing Officer for four years, and will now oversee how Chase Auto is integrated into all consumer-facing channels whether on Chase.com, in a branch, in a dealership or through marketing. Under Welsh’s direction, Chase Auto recently conducted 12 focus groups with consumers in four markets to better understand perceptions and behaviors connected to the car buying experience. Key insights include:
- Participants want to visit dealerships to test drive the vehicle. They also want help tackling the overwhelming process from someone they can trust.
- Participants still think that buying a car is exciting—but only after driving off the lot. Before that, it feels stressful, time-consuming and ripe for a makeover.
- Participants were dismayed at how long it took to complete a deal, even after they’d already decided on a car. Most questioned why the process took so long.
“With the research we’ve done so far, it couldn’t be more clear that the dealership experience is still incredibly important,” said Welsh. “People want to kick the tires, take a test drive and talk with an expert. But, they want to have fun while doing it.”
As such, the newly combined marketing and direct lending team has also been spending considerable time learning from dealers. “It’s just as important for us to understand the dealer perspective and how we can help them with their business,” said Welsh.
These are examples of Chase Auto’s continued investment in research to understand dealer and consumer trends, behavior and emotions related to car buying. The business released a national survey on car buying trends in 2017 and will continue its research next year with a new nationwide consumer survey.
“We’re excited to learn from consumers and dealers to co-create a car-buying experience that they want—that’s what we’re here to do” said Welsh.
Shannon O'Reilly, Shannon.Oreilly@jpmorganchase.com