Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Automotive Case Study: How Flash Point Turns Social Media into ROI

Sometimes, it's hard to break the mold and try something new. Happily for us, we found one major automotive company that did just that. They canceled some traditional media and invested in one of our custom social sweeps to help support their Truck Event.

To some, it seemed crazy. Social media? For something other than branding? But to others, it seemed crazy not to try. Social media is still trending up as traditional newspaper declines. There must be a way to leverage social media's power to generate sales. Even conquest sales.

In the end, they pulled the trigger and took a calculated risk. This is the story of how it all went down.

Word of Warning: "Branding's Important, But This Needs to Sell Trucks"

That was how fast my first status meeting started with our client, Mr. X. He was clear. He’d invested in this promotion for a “S A L E S E V E N T”, he reminded me. He was holding us accountable for leads and sales for his dealers. “Sure branding's important,” he agreed, “But this needs to sell trucks”.

Off to a Good Start? Our Client Wasn’t So Sure

At program conclusion I confidently strode into the large meeting room with a pretty big number tucked under my arms. Taking the center of the room, I walked each of the clients through our promotion. Both Stephanie, our National Account lead, and I were really excited. We held our breath as we got to the last slide.

Finally, I revealed the total number of leads we generated: “23,562 hand-raisers in a little less than 60 days,” I beamed.

Silence. They weren’t impressed. In fact, they were downright skeptical.

“So, congratulations, your team captured names and emails of 23,562 people who wanted to win a Truck. How many actually bought one…of ours?”

I felt queasy. The numbers weren’t in yet. And we hadn’t had time to bounce the names up against DMV records to determine how many people actually bought one of our client’s Trucks. “I don’t know…but we’ll soon find out,” was my only answer. Meeting adjourned.

Round 2: We Smelled Victory, Our Client Smelled Something Else

Sixty days later, we jumped back on a plane to deliver some good news. No, really good news. We’d finally been able to bounce our 23,000+ hand-raisers up against DMV records (via Polk) and revealed that 1,065 people had bought our client’s vehicles.

I felt certain they’d share our enthusiasm. Probably no high-fives, but maybe? I was wrong. In fact, once again, I was met with flat out skepticism.

“Thank you for doing the ‘sales match’, but I can’t help but wonder if those people would have bought our vehicles anyway.” More silence, dour faces and crossed arms.

The meeting ended shortly thereafter with the admonishment that if we were unable to determine how many “Conquest Sales” they generated (that is, number of vehicle sales that were made by folks who had previously owned other brands), they were going to discount the entire 1,065 vehicle sales. Their question? Were those 1,065 vehicle sales from brand loyalists? Or did they come from other brands?

Behold: The Happy Client

Once again, with lots of help from our friends at Polk, we were able to tease out some compelling numbers…that surprised (and delighted) us. Of the 1,065 people that bought vehicles, we determined via DMV records that 514 (or 48% of the vehicle sales) were made by folks who previously owned vehicles from other brands.

Back on the plane we went and into the meeting room…but this time it was different. In the meeting, a few eyes lit up. Did I see a smile? The 48% conquest number exceeded their traditional “conquest rate”. Was there something really here? A few scribbled some math and shared notes. I saw smiles. What were they writing? I saw a few nods and more smiles. The meeting ended with approval to move forward with another similar promotion.

But it wasn’t until later that I learned WHY they moved forward. It was basic math. They took the investment they made in our promotion and compared it to what they generated in Gross Revenue from JUST the “conquest sales”. And because the gross revenue from conquest sales exceeded the promotional investment (by a wide margin), we had made our clients happy. And happy clients are wonderful clients.

To learn more about our custom social sweeps or enterprise wide digital/social solutions, drop me a line or email anytime.

I’d love to hear from you.