Managing customer relationships has always been important for businesses but even more so now during these difficult times.
We caught up with Stuart Lawton, propositions director at the Marketing Lounge Partnership, to find out more – and he stressed how it was imperative that dealers didn’t take their foot off the gas in terms of lead generation.
The company – aka MLP – is one of the UK’s only combined incentive, loyalty, partnership and customer relationship management agencies, and automotive is part of its expertise.
Lawton told us how the customer journey in the hotly competitive world of car retailing had become similar to that of insurance and financial services with, for example, monthly payments.
Where MLP can help with sales conversions is by adding value at all stages of the process, such as lead generation, test-drive incentives and service plans.
One example Lawton gave was how MLP drove up the perceived value of a hook-up between a manufacturer and a high-end audio brand, ultimately increasing the conversion rate.
Making the headline offer more compelling versus a deposit contribution resulted in a 30 per cent lift in inquiries, he said.
And in a market where customers aren’t taking so much notice of offers because they’re so widespread and similar, such as vouchers or cashback, MLP cleverly stretches budgets to create a real differentiation that grabs the attention of people in the buying cycle.
How can dealers and manufacturers work with MLP and engage with the offers and services then?
‘It’s pretty straightforward,’ said Lawton. ‘We follow the same process no matter who the client is or the sector.
‘We consider the budget, we consider the brands, we consider the audience, we consider what their objectives are, what they are actually trying to do.
‘But ultimately we will give back a return-on-investment calculation that spells out what the dealer can expect to achieve from the results that we will generate.’
And MLP has numerous case studies on which it can base those calculations.
It has relationships with most of the key dealer groups as well as lots of the independents plus ancillary businesses such as tyres.
MLP will fit within a dealer’s existing marketing framework and do as much or as little as the client wishes.
It tends to create a programme proposal, though, following a brief from the client and then fulfils it as if they were the brand.
And Lawton said the second lockdown was an ideal time to push marketing.
‘When most consumers are starting and completing their journey in a lot of cases online, now more so than ever is the opportunity to actually make a little bit more noise about how you as a brand or a dealer are different.
‘There are challenges facing us on a day-to-day basis. But there’s definitely more of a willingness for consumers to convert 95 per cent of that [buying] journey online.
‘Absolutely don’t take the foot off the gas in terms of lead generation!’
Watch the interview in full above to find out how your dealership can benefit from working with MLP. You can also contact the company via mlp.agency or on 01565 832867.
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