Force Marketing, a high-growth marketing technology company that delivers a comprehensive suite of products and solutions to more than 950 automotive dealers, has acquired the business of GS Marketing (GSM), a three-decade-old industry leader in the same category. The deal, which closed effective as of January 31, 2021, brings the total number of dealerships served to more than 1,500 nationwide.
Force Marketing has experienced significant growth through its development of tech-enabled marketing products and solutions built for scale for large automotive dealer groups, Tier II ad associations, and OEMs. Its full portfolio of companies – including the WeDrive Automotive, Helix Technologies and DRIVE video technology brands – works together to provide customers data-driven, intelligent technologies such as omni-channel dynamic video and streaming audio. The acquisition of GSM’s business adds fixed ops marketing capabilities for parts and service departments to Force Marketing’s legacy portfolio of variable ops solutions for dealership vehicle sales.
Force Marketing President and CEO John Fitzpatrick is a 15-year automotive marketing leader who grew up in the industry and is known for his data-driven and innovative approach to business. He co-founded Force Marketing in 2006 as a family-owned digital marketing company with the purpose of disrupting the automotive retail industry by using data, technology and personalization to improve the consumer shopping experience. Today, Force Marketing serves four of the top five automotive groups in the country, including Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, Penske Automotive, Lithia Motors, Inc. and Sonic Automotive.
“For nearly 30 years, GSM has been developing and delivering data-driven marketing strategies and creative services. We quickly saw how aligned both companies are in purpose and expertise,” says Fitzpatrick. “In addition to bringing complementary tech platforms and fixed ops marketing solutions to our family of companies, the acquisition allows us more concentrated geographical expansion into the Midwest and Western United States. GSM’s partnership expands our ability to serve dealers across the country and furthers our vision of transforming the brand-to-consumer buying experience.”
Founded in 1988, GSM is a leader in omni-channel fixed ops marketing solutions designed to increase customer acquisition and retention for dealerships. GSM President Shelley Washburn will remain in her role and oversee a smooth transition followed by a controlled growth strategy with the Houston, Texas-based team. The company will continue to operate under the GSM brand and will remain headquartered in Houston. It will provide its same solutions and customer service to dealers and soon will offer an expanded suite of marketing solutions including direct, digital, social and streaming media as a result of the acquisition.
“Force Marketing and GSM share a focus on innovation and customer service in the automotive industry but bring different customers to the table,” says Washburn. “We have deep, longstanding relationships with our customers, a dedicated team of professionals and strong expertise in fixed ops marketing. Force has created a best-in-class omni-channel marketing platform and this integration will allow GSM to provide dealers with new front-to-back consumer lifecycle marketing solutions. GSM is over 30 years old, and we have such renewed excitement about our future and what lies ahead for our employees and our dealer partners.”
“We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with Gulf States Toyota, one of the world’s largest distributors of Toyota vehicles and parts and one of GSM’s largest customers with 155 locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana,” says Washburn. “Gulf States Toyota, like all of GSM’s customers, will be able to take full advantage of the added marketing solutions that Force Marketing will provide via this acquisition.”