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Who We Are & How We Do It | Nicola Siler & Mike Sally, Automotive Strategic Account Executives

How did you get your start in the industry/how did you become a specialist in automotive marketing?


Nicola: I was working at a retail store and not in love with the job when a friend of mine told me about an opening at Auto Finder Magazine as an outside Sales Rep which seemed too good to be true! Being able to combine my love of cars with the freedom of being on the road where every day is unique and I’m meeting with different people all the time was a perfect match for my personality.

Mike: I had been working in Retail as a first job and because of having to work nights and weekends I knew it wasn’t a career I wanted to pursue. After a friend mentioned a job opening at another paper in the market (The Troy Record) I decided to apply and received the job. In regard to specializing in Automotive marketing, management at The Record asked me to take over strictly Auto accounts 3 years into the job. After moving on from The Record to the Times Union 28 years ago, I have never looked back from specializing in the Auto industry!


Describe the clients you’re working with or projects you’re working on now.


Nicola: Working primarily with auto dealerships, I’ve found that many are in a good position right now with brisk sales, but are having inventory issues. I always present our latest specialty campaigns along with our staple products, both print and digital. We also now have a product new to market that is opening doors and generating some excitement, as it uses Artificial Intelligence, the latest technology!

Mike: Currently, I am working with some of the Capital District’s larger Auto accounts including Goldstein’s, Armory CDJRF and DeNooyer, to name a few. In addition to working with my clients to advertise on many of the Times Union’s staple products (the daily print newspaper, special print publications,, etc.) there are always new, exciting and effective digital products that allow my clients to stay one step ahead of their competition.


What attributes do you believe someone needs to have in order to be successful in this field?


Nicola: PERSISTENCE, patience, thick skin and a sense of humor.

Mike: I suppose there are many! However, if you enjoy what you are doing and are willing to learn and listen, the rest will take care of itself.


As an Account Executive specializing in the automotive industry, how do you keep up with new trends changes to better serve your clients?


Nicola: I see news and trends on LinkedIn and read Automotive News, along with constantly reading the world news online.

Mike:  I am a big believer that a lot can be learned by asking your accounts many questions. In addition, I like to read. There is a lot of information circulating that pertains to the Auto industry. And last but not least, the Times Union does an incredible job of keeping us up to date via internal training and investing in its employees’ knowledge bank.


What brands inspire you? Why do you think their campaigns are effective?


Nicola: Jeep is my brand! I own a 2004 Wrangler Rubicon in Mint condition and love the independent, rebel, carefree, “can-do” attitude it and Jeep embodies. I also think the new Ford Bronco ad is inspiring with their “Built Wild” slogan.

Mike: Nike, McDonalds, Coca Cola to name a few. The consistency of their message over the years is amazing and leaves a message or an image in your mind that sticks forever.


What is the most important career advice you have received?


Nicola: To never give up, and remember every day is different. A “no” today could be a “yes” tomorrow. I have always believed in the “Be Yourself” mantra as well. Authenticity, sincerity, honesty and being down-to-earth will open doors and build relationships. 

Mike: Try to be brilliant at the basics.


What would you consider your most creative work in this field?


Nicola: There have been many within the Auto vertical, but recently (outside of the Auto industry!) I worked with 10 small businesses in downtown Bennington, VT who placed a group advertisement last Christmas. Working together with clients who present unique challenges and varying budgets is creativity at its finest.

Mike: I’ve been doing this for many years, so it’s difficult to name a specific project or two! I will say that I have always found it very gratifying to work with a customer on a campaign from start to finish. Following up with them to learn how happy they were with the finish product and the great results they could attribute directly to the campaign/creative.    


Just for fun – If you were an ice cream flavor, which flavor would you be and why?


Nicola: Any flavor with multiple flavors and textures combined because Variety is the Spice of Life!

Mike: Chocolate Chip….chocolate and vanilla work well together.



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