Going Mobile

Emerging marketing strategy pays off for Pinnacle’s Peter Gary

By Arnie Rosenberg | Photography by Larry Wood

For Peter Gary, it’s all about developing expertise, then leveraging it for success. 

After eight years in the Marine Corps, he found himself in automotive retail sales, rising quickly to become the No. 1 Nissan salesman in the country in 1989. He parlayed that into running auto dealerships across the country, including a major South Florida dealership, and to running the sales team for Autobase, an automotive customer relationship management service provider, which he grew from 167 dealers to 3,000 in just five years.

Yet he knew that wasn’t the end.

“I absolutely loved listening to the dealers and what their issues were, and, on the opposite side, what the challenges
were inside the agency to fix the problems the dealers had,” recalls Gary, 52, CEO of Pinnacle Marketing and Advertising Group. “But, as an entrepreneur, I felt that having all your eggs in one portfolio – and just automotive – was limiting yourself.”

In about 2006, he began seeing possibilities for mobile technology.

“I began looking at different ways to market through the internet, not only how people would be doing it, but also what devices they were going to be using. People were carrying a lot more devices they could interact with,” he says.

When marketers remained skeptical, worrying that mobile was too intrusive, Gary embraced it.

He started a company called Mobile Engage – just 15 employees doing about $18 million in business – that allowed him to open people’s eyes. In 2006-07, when advertising dollars were shrinking quickly, Gary was offering clients his digital expertise, and the same return they already were getting at a fraction of what they already were spending.

His knowledge in what was a relatively new field landed him on the board of the Mobile Marketing Association, and, ultimately, to found Pinnacle Marketing and Advertising Group in 2010.

His vision for the Boca Raton company isn’t to be a traditional advertising or marketing shop, but a marketing solution. “It doesn’t matter if you need production, digital, mobile, coding. Everything is done under one roof, so you have consistency going to market, including the vision,” he says. “I truly believed back then that (mobile) was going to change the way we looked at how media buying was done, that it no longer was just three forms of media to buy – radio, print and TV. It was going to be a minimum of seven or eight, with mobile as a specific medium.”

Until then, little marketing had been done directly on mobile applications, and Gary once again took his expertise to his clients. They wanted custom smartphone apps, but they didn’t really know how to use them, he says.

“Having an app isn’t a mobile strategy,” Gary says. “Having an app is a crutch. It makes you feel good. In order to have a mobile strategy, you need to define how you’re going to communicate with your client and how your client wants to use you on a mobile platform.”

Gary still is building his digital product portfolio. Now in beta testing is Peak Intelligence, designed to offer clients in a wide array of industries endless information, analytics and ways to use them all – no matter their tech savviness. “An eighth-grader will be able to read it,” he says.

Gary says Peak Intelligence will take Pinnacle from 32 employees today to 120 in five years, and boost business from $40 million to $100 million. He expects the philosophy that’s brought him success is what will enable Pinnacle to grow.

“You go in (to a client) and establish a relationship, and once you have that relationship, you prove what you can do and then build that relationship,” Gary says. “You need to be able to show them you’re a subject-matter expert, that you can perform and help them grow.”

You May Also Like

Dania Beach-Based Special Needs Group Receives Prestigious Recognition From Travel Weekly Magellan Awards

The awards honor outstanding design, marketing and services in hospitality, travel destinations, cruise lines, online travel services, airlines, airports, travel agents, agencies, tour operators and ground transportation.

Breaking News: Jeff Bezos Is About To Become a Miami Local, Again

He made his announcement on Instagram last night.

South Florida Manufacturers Association’s Annual Meeting Showcases Local Success Stories

SFMA is the go-to resource for manufacturing companies in the region. 

South Florida Business Leader Jordan Kavana Raises Significant Donation for Israel

Kavana served as a trustee on the Florida State Pension Plan Board.

Other Posts

Air Pros USA Becomes Official Air Conditioning Partner for Florida Panthers

he South Florida company has rapidly expanded to numerous metropolitan areas across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Washington.

The Good Group Celebrates 20 Years of Business

The company has closed approximately $350 million in commercial real estate deals, including many land deals.

Kim Ng and Miami Marlins Part Ways

Ng was Major League Baseball’s highest-ranking woman in baseball operations.

South Florida Manufacturers Association Hosts Made in South Florida Showcase During 63rd Annual Meeting 

SFMA is the go-to resource for manufacturing companies in the region. 

Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.