One of the biggest buzz words in our industry today is “conquest.” Everyone, from a factory rep to a vendor, will walk into your store and use it as a means to intrigue you.
The more I have watched and tracked day-to-day marketing executions across all our dealerships, it seems to me that while so many people talk about “conquest” and how to “target conquest” very few of them really know what it means and what the results are.
For this reason I will shed some light on what I see as the true definition of a conquest customer:
1) SAME BRAND / NEW DEALER
One the fiercest conquests of all and perhaps the most overlooked is to convince a customer to buy the same brand of car from you that they currently own. This can be done just as easily through the service department as it can be done through sales. The best conquest you can get is gaining a customer who bought their last car from your competitor. This happens every day, especially for the stores in military towns, or a town with a high turnover in population. You can target those that have recently relocated to the area and have no choice but to find a new dealer. Regardless of where you found this person this is the number one source of conquest customer that a dealer can find. The customers are out there and their minds are wide open. You just have to be sending them message after message with a reason to buy and reason to buy from you. The results for most dealers lie in what percentage of their budget they knowingly spend to directly target same brand/other dealer registrations in their market and how strong their digital and traditional media presence is each month. The better and more aggressive the plan the higher return rate you will see. The more months you remain consistent with the plan the more you will watch your share start to increase and the other dealers start to decrease.
2) NEW BRAND / NEW DEALER
You are targeting a “switch” customer if they haven’t purchased from you before and you are trying to convince them to buy a new brand. This typically happens in the traditional sense of the purchase funnel where the customer has gone through the process of first getting “awareness to the brand” secondly “considering competing models” and finally “intending to purchase in the next three to 10 days.” The results here are mainly driven by your traditional media efforts and your online digital executions. In most cases these people do not know you exist. If they have heard of you they only know you by name because they have never done business with you before and thus they had no reason to pay attention to your advertising. This is the form of conquest that is a result of you keeping your name out in public, while at the same time riding the coat tails of the manufacturers tier one and tier two ads.
If your marketing plans do not have a good combination of focusing on these two areas of conquest then you need to allocate budget dollars differently so you can “conquer the conquest” and start to win a share of the market.