Driving Endeavour Automotive’s Customer Communications by Enhancing Data Capture
- Data quality issues prevented many emails from reaching customers
- New protocols now capturing up to 95% of customer data
- Marketing Delivery paying dividends in recapturing ‘dormant’ leads
- Significantly lower cost-per-sale figure than other digital services
Endeavour Automotive is an established regional dealer group, representing four Hyundai and six Volvo franchises in London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.
In 2015, the acquisition of a Hyundai site in Essex enabled the business to move into the list of the 100 largest motor groups in the UK.
In late 2015, the dealer group began a series of ‘digital upgrades’, including the creation of a new website and more extensive online promotion of vehicle stock and service initiatives.
The aim of these upgrades was to improve communication with customers and source more feedback from them, with a focus on the broader objective of increasing sales conversions. “We knew we needed more effective digital marketing to our customers, and Marketing Delivery’s eCRM system was a logical addition to the plan,” says Alasdair Jakes, Group Marketing and CRM Manager at Endeavour.
“We calculated that, out of a theoretical group of 100 customers who visited our showrooms, only a fraction of those people were seeing our marketing messages. Data capture errors, email permission opt-outs, bouncebacks and irregular distribution were all contributing factors, so we briefed Marketing Delivery to help us get the right messages to the right people at the right time.”
Issues with data quality were identified in early trials of the eCRM system at the Hyundai sites. Marketing Delivery’s team noticed that the volume of emails being delivered to customers was much lower than they anticipated given the size of the database. Further research found that an issue with Data Protection Act permissions was to blame: an update to the dealer group’s showroom software was automatically setting new customers to decline all marketing emails. As a result, even where Endeavour had successfully secured email information for the customer, it was often failing to reach them.
To prepare for the full launch of Marketing Delivery’s system, Endeavour instigated significant improvements in its data capture process, ensuring that sales staff were trained to record all the customer details required, and that the correct permissions were in place for marketing activity.
Marketing Delivery implemented its eCRM SmartMail system programme, providing Endeavour with a structured schedule of email interaction with customers to keep them informed and engaged throughout the buying process.
Enquiries are now followed up with automated reminder emails, and the time period from a customer’s first enquiry to being marked as ‘lost’ if no sale is made has been truncated to four weeks. The latter aims to ensure that customers are kept up-to-date with Endeavour’s offers, even if they are not yet ready to buy.
“Typically, more than a third of our ‘lost’ leads are actually still in the market, but they just haven’t found the ‘right car’ yet, so it’s important that we keep them engaged with our dealership staff,” adds Jakes.
The programme with Endeavour also includes the ‘Car Alerts’ email system process. After seven days, any used car sales enquiry still open is auto-enrolled to the system, which automatically updates customers with new additions or price reductions to Approved Used stock that meets their purchase criteria.
Emails sent out to customers following an initial enquiry or a purchase are now driving significant volumes of traffic to targeted pages on Endeavour’s website, helping to develop a greater number of customer leads for both sales and aftersales. Marketing Delivery is now the fourth highest referrer of traffic to the business’s website.
“Whenever a Marketing Delivery email goes out, we see a near-instant spikes in enquiries. The web traffic referred by these emails is also of a higher quality than from other sources, because the people are further down the purchase funnel.”
The success of the SmartMail system – and ultimately the whole Marketing Delivery programme – depends on the quality of customer data, and Endeavour’s efforts to improve its database now benefits other customer communication within the group, particularly the new digital Service, MOT and EVHC Customer Reminder system which has just launched.
“Marketing Delivery has made our sales teams a lot more aware of the importance of high quality data,” says Jakes. “Before the new system, we were capturing email data for approximately 70% of our customers – now it’s closer to 95%. That doesn’t just benefit our sales emails, it also means that more general communications that I send out have a much higher success rate.”
Endeavour has also found that attribution of sales to Marketing Delivery is far easier than with other forms of online activity, particularly for dormant leads that have been recaptured as a result of follow-up emails.
“If a customer buys from us following a reminder email sent within the first 24 hours, it’s hard to attribute that to an eCRM system, as you don’t know if they would have bought the car in any case. However, when customers who’ve not spoken to us for two weeks or more suddenly make an enquiry following an eCRM email, it’s much easier for us to confidently record that as a success for the system. It’s clear that Marketing Delivery is genuinely incremental for us – it’s delivering sales that we would otherwise have missed out on.”
The clarity of this attribution is helping Endeavour to demonstrate the financial value of its programme with Marketing Delivery, with a cost-per-sale figure that’s significantly lower than other digital services.
“In a typical month, we might sell 25 vehicles attributable to our eCRM activity, which essentially means we spend about £100 to sell a car using Marketing Delivery’s services. With large classified sites or even Google AdWords, the attributed sales we’re able to record give a cost-per-sale around £200-£300 per car. I have to make a case for my budget like anyone else, and Marketing Delivery’s services are absolutely quantifiable – it’s the best money I spend.”