Ford Denmark Connects Dealer Visits To Digital KPIs

DrivingRetargeting can be more complicated for auto advertisers than for their counterparts in consumer packaged goods or retail.

“In the old days, retargeting campaigns gave us a giant boost to our [digital] KPIs,” said Tom Maxmølris, marketing operations manager for Ford Denmark.

But that was because Ford Denmark focused on “click to act” campaigns, which strengthened clickthroughs, but not the brand affinity required for big ticket purchases.

“We [learned] we should not push for an action [or offer a] low monthly payment if the consumer was interested in the car brand more on an overall level,” Maxmølris added. “We knew we need to be more focused on the individual’s funnel positioning and combine it in a clever way with all the data we have from other digital tracks [like] offline (showroom) traffic.”

It found consumers were knowledgable and already knew what they wanted when they arrived at the showroom, thanks to car comparison sites and other research forums.

Because Denmark is a small market, Ford used it to test how in-store visits drove digital traffic and engagement.

Ford Denmark wanted to connect dealer-level data with paid and owned media, but website personalization rules differed from email segmentation rules or call center customer service rules. So these channels don’t always influence one another the way they should.

“We set out to prove we had one central break in the consumer journey – when people visited the store and we weren’t able to follow them after,” said Kresten Bach Søndergaard, business development director for GroupM Denmark, one of Ford’s agencies. 

So Ford invited consumers to a New Years’ sales event at five dealerships in Denmark last winter, where an event team collected emails to input into the brand’s CRM record.

GroupM used the marketing platform Kitewheel to sync cookie data at the ad server level with Ford Denmark’s email list using an ID-matching tool called Live Audiences.

Once the consumer left the dealership, Ford sent a customized email tailored to interests logged during in-store events.

“The key was being able to make the connection between those different sources of data, so that the resulting paid media is done subtly and accurately because you have that CRM and email file,” according to Mark Smith, president of Kitewheel.   “Sometimes they looked at different models, so that was synced with the ads we served to them online.”

GroupM then used Kitewheel to create a handful of custom landing pages and Facebook ads with creative based on each consumer’s interests.

GroupM and Ford claimed average website visits were one minute and 52 seconds compared to a typical duration of 43 seconds ; email open rates were 16X higher than industry standards.

Ford Denmark wants to do more than lead gen – it wants to expand its relationship with the consumer to include aftermarket purchases, including vehicle parts or services following the original sale.

“At this point, we don’t have pixel tracking all the way down to the dealer’s sales system yet, and that’s the KPI we really care about,” he said. “That integration [with Kitewheel and Ford’s CRM] will let us act even more on CRM data. If you don’t have a service contract, we want to know when will you buy another car. What’s the rhythm of your vehicle exchanges?’”

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