Ford Intros Database Service For Dealers

Lincoln

Ford Motors' marketing joint venture with dealers, FordDirect, is launching a new database-marketing service for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers that gives Ford's retail operations a digital platform to do direct marketing and customer relationship marketing and management.

"Targeted Marketing" offers dealers call tracking, lead management, dealer Web site development, search optimization and marketing, database marketing, and regional-marketing products.

Leo Hillock, EVP of FordDirect, said in a statement that dealers who use FordDirect have garnered 10 more vehicle sales per month versus those who don't, and also earn $47,364 in service revenue per month with an average repair order of $220.

The division is offering the Targeted Marketing solution to Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers for a significant cut in price -- $599 per month, which FordDirect says is 40% to 60% below what such services usually cost for dealers. Ford says sales from FordDirect Internet referrals represent nearly 20% of Ford Motor retail sales.

The new services, for which FordDirect contracted direct-marketing company OneCommand, include things like voice messaging, email, and personal and Web pages for consumers and could be anything from CRM efforts such as automated "happy birthday" messages to customers or service appointment reminders to a national sales event message for a prospect or notifications about specific sales specials.

Lindsay Leugers, VP marketing at OneCommand, says the company is able to offer Ford a deal on Targeted Marketing because FordDirect already has things like call capture and call tracking in its toolkit. "The 'Targeted Marketing' solution is a dialed-down version of our full suite, which would include call capture, for instance. We are really fueling their direct-marketing solutions."

Competitor Volkswagen of America is also beefing up its dealership-marketing programs. The Herdon, Va. company has tapped marketing-technology company Saepio to handle local marketing for its 600 dealers with the upcoming launches of Jetta, Beetle and a new midsize sedan. VW is making it easier for dealers to create their own advertising from templates. Saepio will support "VW Ad Lab" and streamline the advertising processes for dealers.

The automaker says Saepio will build a computer interface for dealers to use the VW Ad Lab for making ad campaigns that are thematically consistent with VW's national ads.

The company says dealers will be able to quickly edit and customize corporate print, TV, radio, digital, direct marketing and experiential marketing materials.

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