"Bill Playford"

Bill is not your typical car guy.

After beginning his career at the retail level, Bill went on to tackle innovative automotive e-commerce solutions, and their effective implementation at the dealer level. After realizing technology can’t replace dealerships, Bill now bridges the gap between today’s automotive consumer and the dealerships who seek to better serve them.

Having recently served as Director of Retail Operations for Trilogy’s SmartLeads program, Bill offers intimate knowledge of lead acquisition, lead quality, lead scoring, and lead segmentation. In the process of adding nearly 150 dealers and over 350 franchises to beta test Trilogy’s lead scoring and lead prioritization software, Bill helped dealers develop successful ways to efficiently acquire and convert third party leads. His efforts were reflected in OEM and dealer group adoption of the SmartLeads lead purchasing program.

Prior to joining the SmartLeads team, he spent six years developing “click to buy” initiatives, catering to car buyers who are no longer interested in purchasing vehicles the traditional way. Over the course of eighteen months Bill’s team at Trilogy developed and launched a web buying service for the nation’s largest publicly traded auto-group, as well as the developed of a web specific, OEM backed, buying service for the international market. He’ll be the first to tell you that people will indeed buy a car sight unseen.

Bill first became enamored with the idea of buying cars online while still in college. A good friend, and fellow Horned Frog, just went through an abysmal buying experience. Neither could recall a time when anyone they knew had a good one. After graduating (and realizing how boring finance was), Bill decided to revisit the idea, and spent four years at one of the pioneering Internet dealers in the country. Building on what he learned from the best, Bill was among the first to launch an automotive analytics program to ensure his dealer was delivering the right message to the right customer. His research directly led to the creation of association-specific buying programs, neighborhood level marketing programs, as well as cost saving lead-optimization strategies. His innovative geodemographic specific targeting methodology was also noticed by KBB, where he served on its inaugural Dealer Advisory Panel. Little did he know, he’d be bit by the car-bug forever.

When he’s not pulling the levers at DealerKnows, Bill enjoys participating in numerous groups in his local community to support the growth of  lean-startups, often advising local officials, and co-organizes a TEDx event. He regularly attends automotive and non-automotive conferences to make sure he stays on the bleeding edge of technology, and how it applies to total customer delight. He’s also been known to eat a good meal, enjoy a good movie, and build elaborate Lego spacecraft for his kids.

Bill resides in Jackson, MI with his brilliant wife, two gifted sons, a toddler diva, a fancy cat, and two crazy dogs. He holds an MBA (with a concentration in electronic commerce and entrepreneurship) from Texas Christian University and a BA in Political Science from St. Edward’s University (he still owes money on both degrees). He’s an automotive junkie, a Red Wing fanatic, and an old school hip hop aficionado.



Bill Playford

Bill Playford

Vice President and Partner at DealerKnows
Bill is Vice President and Partner at DealerKnows Consulting. Bill is a proud father of three, a subservient husband, a veteran of the automotive/ecommerce/technology space, a TEDx organizer, and thinks funny and snarky can be used interchangeably.
Bill Playford

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