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Cox Automotive's Marianne Johnson on "Warp Speed" Product Innovation

Cox employee at Warp Speed Product Innovation

Marianne Johnson, executive vice president and chief product officer at Cox Automotive, is responsible for an $8 billion product portfolio that includes top-tier brand names like Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. She manages a team of around 5,000 employees that together launched dozens of new products last year.


Marianne recently joined the Innovation Engine podcast from 3Pillar Global to discuss her work and how she’s challenging her team to “be nimbler, be smarter, be faster, and leverage advanced technologies really to deliver more value to the business.”

“While we’ve gotten a lot done,” she said, “I feel like we are just tipped over into like warp speed and we’re super excited about it.”

Listen to the podcast episode here and keep reading for highlights of the conversation.


On the importance of using data to drive product development:

“Data is the oil that makes everything work together, and really drives differentiations. We have a whole discipline around data ingest, data governance, data acquisition, data cleansing. And then we have data product and we have data science. And they support the enterprise and feed capabilities into the portfolios.”


On using data to dive deeper into the car-buying experience:

“We’re close to 70% of the market in the digital dealer website. If you’re on a dealer’s website, you’re probably on a Cox-hosted digital property. We see whether you buy the vehicle, we see whether you bring it into service. We understand the lifecycle of the vehicle, the lifecycle of the consumer journey. We want to anticipate the needs of the consumer so that we find ways to delight them, to create personalization. What are they really looking for? What do they need? What can they afford? And how do you help them on that journey?”


On using existing Cox Automotive products and software to develop new solutions:

“If I need to build something new, I’m looking at our capabilities. Maybe out of the 10 things I need, I have 8 already that can be consumed internally or externally because I’ve packaged those capabilities in a way to be consumed. Now, I can compose a solution.”


On keeping product strategy aligned with business goals:

“We talk about being digitally obsessed and client obsessed, digital-first in everything that we’re doing. As we do our business, our overall corporate strategy, and then our business strategy, we are lining our product strategy up to that.”


Join Marianne and Cox's top-notch tech teams as we build a better future together.

Explore open positions or join the Cox Talent Community to get started!

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