Former Google Automotive Research Lead Joins Foundation Direct to Boost Consumer Data-Driven Decisions

Michael Heidner Joins Foundation Direct as VP of Strategy and Business Development

Foundation Direct, a new technology and consulting company offering automotive marketers an industry-leading option to “Go Direct” with their digital advertising, is pleased to announce Michael Heidner as their new VP of Strategy and Business Development. Mike joins Foundation Direct from Google, where he led Automotive Research and notably drove the analysis behind and creation of Google’s ‘5 Auto Shopping Micro-Moments’.

“Remaining ahead of industry trends by maintaining a deep understanding of auto shoppers’ changing behaviors — especially in light of the last year of change — is crucial to our success as a company, and our dealers’ success winning customers online. Mike brings extensive expertise and thought leadership on automotive trends and consumer behaviors,” says co-founder Andrew Diffenderfer. “He has analyzed the consumer journey data of hundreds of thousands of auto shoppers across hundreds of digital and traditional touchpoints. His understanding of today’s auto shopper and their use of digital to buy a vehicle is unmatched. We’re excited to leverage these insights and trends to continue innovating and driving results for dealerships.”

Foundation Direct’s CEO, Peter Leto also noted, “Mike has a unique ability to find salient insights amongst vast amounts of data. He has a proven record of both researching consumer behaviors and using them to drive strategic business decisions. While you might not recognize his name, you’ve seen his work — represented on Keynote Stages across events like Digital Dealer, NADA, J.D. Power Auto Revolution, and more. We are excited to add him to our team as we continue to evolve our technology and the media strategies we use to connect dealers to buyers.”

Mike helped lead Google’s annual Path To Purchase Research Study beginning in 2013, where he analyzed hundreds of thousands of auto purchaser survey responses, clickstream behaviors, and qualitative interviews through the years. He notably drove the analysis behind and creation of Google’s ‘5 Auto Shopping Micro-Moments’. Before Google, he helped launch and produce content for FOX Sports’ regional websites and worked with the television sales teams on activation.

“Insights and trends are my passion, and I’ve been lucky to witness and report on the changes of automotive shopper behaviors over the past several years — from the growth of mobile usage on dealer lots, to how people discover vehicles with search, to understanding video’s role in the research process. I am excited to join Foundation Direct on their journey to disrupt the market by offering best-in-class solutions aligned to dealer and vehicle purchaser expectations,” says Michael Heidner, the new VP of Strategy for Foundation Direct.

Mike holds a Bachelors in Economics and a Master of Science – Business Analytics from the University of Michigan. Mike also empowers those starting their careers in data analysis and visualization, where he taught as a professor at Wayne State University in the subject of Data Science and Leadership, to graduate students across the country.

Mike was born and raised in Metro Detroit where he continues to reside. He has deep blue-collar ties to the automotive industry with his mom having worked the assembly line at the Ford Mustang plant and at the railroad where his father helped ship vehicles across North America. When not digging into data or analyzing consumer shopping behavior, Mike enjoys traveling with his wife Cassandra.

About Foundation Direct

Foundation Direct was created to give OEMs, regional associations, automotive groups, and dealerships the ability to take their ad dollars directly to Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Microsoft, enabling them to spend less on margin, invest more in media, and drive better business results.

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