As the sole importer and distributor of Subaru cars in the UK, IM Group coordinates the activities of over 200 dealerships around the country.
In 2011, IM Group set out to centralize the marketing for all its dealerships, providing effective, direct messages to existing and potential customers via a unified Customer Database Platform.
Traditionally, the dealerships had the main responsibility for customer records, which created a significant problem. They often lost track as cars were sold to new owners, or serviced at locations other than the original dealership. Moreover, there was no framework, or will, to share data with each other, or with central franchising.
It therefore made it impossible to maintain a reliable database of customer contacts. This contributed to the issue of multiple and inaccurate records for individual customers, as well as confusion over which dealers ‘owned’ the data, where customers had used more than one dealer. All of this undermined the potential for high quality direct marketing to existing and prospective customers.
The data had to be cleaned and streamlined, as well as integrated with information from potential customers who had visited the Subaru website. The company wanted to send email newsletters with content tailored to segmented groups to prompt enquiries, encourage test drives and ultimately convert them to sales – while also monitoring the conversion rates at different levels and running analytics on dealerships’ performance.
IM Group addressed these issues by turning to the BlueVenn Customer Data Platform (CDP), for analytics and a Single Customer View.
The BlueVenn solution is a purpose-built database containing a single record, which can be linked to all other information, for every individual the company wishes to contact. For example, to match vehicle tracking ownership third party data with first party data, to identify owners who had sold their cars to stop service reminder communications and irrelevant offers. It helps to create a customer view and perform tasks such as segmentation, profiling and campaign performance management and acts as the platform for all the marketing intelligence.
The solution has enabled IM Group to handle the online marketing for all of its dealerships, ensuring a more coherent national strategy, and make it possible to monitor the performance of each franchise in the market.
“Combining data from the dealerships and website users greatly increased the number of sales opportunities we could identify. Compared with the hundreds of enquiries per month generated by our newsletter, the company can now identify thousands of website users and it is possible to see exactly which parts of the site they have visited, and what interests them most. This helps us to better target prospective customers with content tailored specifically to the interest they have shown,” says Howard Ormesher, CRM Director at IM Group.
IM Group is now able to filter content to determine which contacts should receive offers, dealership news or national newsletters, depending on contact preference. Additionally, dealers can opt to include their own offers such as reduced pricing on servicing or discounted accessories for example.
Equally important is that data on customer responses is fed back to BlueVenn. This gives IM Group a much more reliable picture of the market, supported by evidence, rather than the anecdotal reports from dealerships. It also provides an early indication of whether or not a marketing campaign is working, and IM Group can measure factors such as opens, clicks, resulting web sessions, test drives and sales for every email it sends.
The overall result has been a considerable increase in conversion rates: the number of enquiries leading to test drives has risen by a factor of 3.2 and test drives to sales is up by 1.6.
“We now have a CRM infrastructure that is constantly fed; every day we take new feeds of data, the system is rebuilt and campaigns are triggered automatically, which drive in new content. And the culture of the organization is changing; there’s an acceptance that this is beginning to set the agenda and help the business to improve,” said Ormesher.