Hendrick Lexus Soars Ahead 14 spots in Market Share in Just 3 months
Hendrick Lexus implemented new marketing strategies across multiple mediums that improved their sales and service profitability and positively affected all their profit centers, while reducing their overall costs per sale.
This flagship Lexus dealership opened its doors in 1989 and has become the #1 luxury retailer for the Hendrick Automotive Group, the largest privately owned group in the country. Located in Charlotte, NC, Hendrick Lexus has grown into a national leader for Lexus in numerous categories and currently ranks as the #1 volume dealership in the Carolinas. In addition, they are the only dealer in the country to win back-to-back awards as the #1 Certified Pre-Owned Lexus dealer in the nation.
“We are consumed with delivering a world class customer experience that far surpasses our customers’ expectations – we want to WOW our customers every chance we get,” said Brian Gendron, General Manager of Hendrick Lexus. “We believe that no one will treat our customers as well as we do, so we owe it to everyone in our market to make sure they know about Hendrick Lexus and have the opportunity to enjoy the experience our employees create.”
To ensure that every eligible customer knows about Hendrick Lexus, Gendron took time to assess and reengineer the dealership’s entire marketing strategy to attract, serve and satisfy more customers for less cost than they spent before. “We need a holistic marketing plan that communicates a consistent message through every touch point with the customer,” said Gendron. “We were spending too much money with too many companies who were sending out different messages to our customers with a different look and feel. This confused our customers and our even own employees.” Hendrick Lexus’ new strategy uses the same messaging, designs and offers across all advertising mediums: TV, radio, print, outdoor, web, search, social, email, mail, publicity, point of sale merchandising and retention. “We work with one company rather than 15 different vendors and we are spending less for a more integrated strategy that delivers a positive and consistent message to the market.”
While Hendrick Lexus continues to provide the award-winning experience that their customers and employees have come to expect, they are now able to let more people know about it through their new marketing strategy that promotes all their departments, New, Used, Service & Parts, and Finance. “Too many dealers focus most of their marketing only on sales despite the fact that their service departments are the life-line when the market slows down,” said Sean Wolfington, owner of www.Tier10Marketing.com, the marketing company that Hendrick Lexus uses. “It is critical for dealers to integrate all 10 tiers of marketing so the dealership has the same message, look and feel in all their advertising and marketing materials,” Wolfington added.
“We now promote both sales and service to customers who have a better chance of doing business with our dealership,” said Gendron, and their dealership has saved a lot of money by shifting their focus from more expensive traditional mass marketing to a more targeted advertising that speaks to consumers who have the highest statistical probability of buying and servicing their vehicle with the dealership.
“Customers that live far away are naturally less loyal, but customers who live closer to a dealership’s “perfect market” have a much higher probability of returning more often, spending more money and referring more of their friends,” said Budd Blackburn, the creator of the “perfect prospect predictor” and the owner of www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com, the targeted marketing team that works with Teir10Marketing.com for targeted email and direct mail campaigns for Hendrick’s sales and service departments. “We use the manufacturer’s research, Polk Market data and the dealer’s historic sales and service trends to target in-market customers who buy and service more often with the dealership over their lifetime,” added Blackburn.
“We are making an effort to spend money more effectively by attracting and retaining customers who spend more with us, not just today but over their life time,” said Gendron. “When the press said we were in the worst market in 18 years, we actually felt some wind in our sails because of this new strategy. We were connecting differently with consumers and it drove them to us. We had moved up 14 spots in YTD rankings over 2009 in only 3 months and it was evident our plan was definitely working.”
Another component to Hendrick’s new marketing strategy is online videos to promote the dealership. Today over 70% of online car buyers initiate their new vehicle search online and Hendrick uses video search engine optimization (VSEO) to appear on top of the search results with hi-impact videos that promote their dealership and the products they sell. Google changed their algorithm so that video results have more search authority than traditional text results so Hendrick uses VSEO to appear on page one for the most popular search phrases in their market. “Google gives advantage to video results over text results and consumers like video more than text because it combines sight, sound and motion,” said Karry Moore, Owner of www.Car-Mercial.com, the company Hendrick uses to produce, optimize and place hundreds of positive videos on top of the search engines.
In addition to attracting new customers, Hendrick works very hard to create customers for life by delivering a world class customer experience. “We want to astonish our customers with extraordinary service. We monitor how our customers are being handled so we can make sure that they receive a 5-star experience at our dealership,” said Gendron. Hendrick monitors 100% of their inbound calls so they can measure their advertising and track how their customers are handled on the phones, the number one entry point for consumers today. “Our managers get instant alerts whenever a customer is mishandled so they can contact them immediately to resolve issues, save a deal and save a customer in the long term. We save multiple deals a week and repair broken relationships that could lead to lost customers and even worse, bad word-of-mouth,” explained Gendron.
Hendrick uses their call monitoring strategy to ensure that every customer is handled properly and their advertising is generating the highest yield. “Within minutes of Hendrick’s management team receiving an alert, they are able to contact the customer directly and resolve their concerns,” said Chip King, president of www.CallRevu.com, the company that provides the call monitoring service to Hendrick. Hendrick uses the reports to measure the effectiveness of their advertising and to monitor all customer phone calls through daily, weekly and monthly reports, as well as, real-time alerts that save deals and prevent potential CSI concerns. “Our team’s compulsive focus on serving the customer has enabled us to become the proud recipients of the ‘Elite of Lexus’ award for several years in a row,” said Gendron. “While we have had a fantastic year, we have a lot of areas we need to improve on so we look forward to improving and growing in 2011.”
In a Nutshell
- Hendrick Lexus moved ahead 14 spots in YTD National rankings in less than 3 months by implementing a holistic marketing strategy that combines traditional advertising with digital, social media, reputation management, publicity, targeted marketing, point of sale merchandising and retention.
- Hendrick Lexus’ advertising has the same look, feel and messaging so consumers are exposed to a consistent professional message and creative.
- Hendrick Lexus executes a highly-effective comprehensive marketing strategy with clear calls-to-action across all marketing mediums.
- Hendrick Lexus targets consumers who have the highest statistical probability of doing business with their dealership today and in the long term.
- Hendrick Lexus promotes all their profit centers with cohesive messaging.
- Hendrick Lexus optimizes their online visibility with search marketing, video search marketing, targeted email campaigns and banner ads.
- Hendrick Lexus monitors all customer phone calls to ensure customers are handled properly, examine ad tracking, and assess employee call performance.
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