Where Does Direct Mail Fit in Today’s Auto Marketing Strategy? WeDrive’s Eric Mercado Tells Us

0

At NADA 2020 in sunny Las Vegas, host Jim Fitzpatrick was joined by Eric Mercado, President of WeDrive Automotive.

WeDriveVIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Jim Fitzpatrick: People that are out there Eric, that are not as familiar with WeDrive as we are.

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Tell us what you’re all about. What solution do you have for dealers?

Eric Mercado: Personalized, direct email, SMS techs-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: ,,, B2C marketing-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: …for dealers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Cool.

Eric Mercado: That’s what we do.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And you guys work with deals. You’re already hundreds of dealers all over the country.

Eric Mercado: We are. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. And that’s a big element because you know what you’re doing. There’s a lot of little guys out there that are run around all the old do parts of it.

Eric Mercado: Yep.

Jim Fitzpatrick: But you bring it all together.

Eric Mercado: Yeah, we’re fully connected.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: We actually have a product called Omni Connect.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: Custom curated audiences.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: We can connect the dots between any target audience you’re trying to communicate with-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: … and every channel that we market to them with.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: In a measurable format for dealers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: So yeah, yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Before becoming president of We Drive, you’ve got 15 years experience helping dealers-

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … in every major city in the country.

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Through force marketing, knocking the cover off the ball for a lot of clients, publicly traded companies-

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … as well, which is pretty cool.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Talk to us a little bit about direct mail in today’s marketing landscape.

Eric Mercado: It’s-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Is there a place for it?

Eric Mercado: … phenomena. There’s not only a place for it’s back on the rise. We’ve seen the appetite for a direct marketing products, four or five X what they used to be.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: … from consumers. Our landscape goes in shifts and the last three or four years there’s been a heavy, heavy shift to all things digital. And some dealers kind of drank the Kool-aid and they do everything digital, but then they forget that-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: … marketing to your customers is about customer experience and the more personalized that you are in your marketing, the better the customer experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. That’s right.

Eric Mercado: And a lot of times you forget that and you think about frequency rates and how many impressions and cost per clicks and that’s all important.

Eric Mercado: But if you could tell a customer right now, they can trade their vehicle in and upgrade to a new vehicle in you inventory and give them a quote before-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: …they ever make a phone call.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Eric Mercado: You’re providing them a better customer experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick: For sure.

Eric Mercado: And direct marketing and email marketing are two of the only channels that still do that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Eric Mercado: In a big way.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And there’s two things that everybody does every day. They go to their mailbox-

Eric Mercado: Yep.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … and they go to their virtual mailbox, which is their email.

Eric Mercado: Yep, yep.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To see what’s going on.

Eric Mercado: Every day.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Eric Mercado: We see the average consumer actually checks their email a minimum of 27 times a day.

Jim Fitzpatrick: 27 times?

Eric Mercado: 27 times.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So then I’m probably like 56.

Eric Mercado: Exactly. You run a business. Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Eric Mercado: You and I are much, much higher than that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Eric Mercado: But at the same time it’s definitely, it’s crazy. 27 times a day checking their inbox.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: And then at least when they get home, they check their mailbox. And if you can connect those two messages, take those same audiences-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Eric Mercado: … ramp them into Facebook, ramp them into video, now you’re digitizing your personalized experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Eric Mercado: So we’re also doing that for a lot of dealers-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: … and seeing phenomenal upside with.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. You’re out here at, as I mentioned at the 2020 convention and a lot of people, I came by your booth little earlier and you guys were covered up with dealers. What are they looking for? What are they looking to do different in 2020 than they’ve done in 2019?

Eric Mercado: I think every year I’ve been here there’s two different types of dealers. The dealer that tells us what do you do that separates you from the masses.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: And you have to go into your elevator of your unique selling propositions.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, sure.

Eric Mercado: And then there’s the dealers that come to you and they say, “Show me how you can do this better than I’m already doing it.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: And it’s existing channels that they’re already managing.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: What I’m finding this year, for me, it’s exciting, and it’s re-energizing is that they’re coming to us very open minded about improving the customer experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: Through direct marketing.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: And I have not had that in the past. We need to provide a better experience for our customers. Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: So we want to add it in as part of our marketing mix as a standstill from now until forever. To make sure we’re properly communicating with our customers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: Delivering a better message in real time to ready to buy audiences.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: Or rate of service audiences through lifecycle or email marketing.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Eric Mercado: And when we talk to them then we show them our application, we show them the fact that we increase measurement for dealers. Their response has been crazy. We were stacked up. We’ve been stacked up both days and today I was actually super surprised by the amount of organic people that walked up. And the questions, “What do you do?” Or, “We know exactly what you do. How do you do it better?”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: And that’s kind of been the narrative of the whole convention.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So 2020 is going to bring us a few less vehicles sold. The experts say probably around 16.6 will be the SAR-

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … instead of 17 million vehicles, which means there’s going to be this new focusing again in fixed ops.

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: What do you have for dealers near fixed ops?

Eric Mercado: We actually have a product called Inside Lane and it’s a service, retention, reactivation and acquisition product. So we focus on helping the dealers keep their active and most loyal customers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: Because we know what that leads to in the way of lifetime value of a customer-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Eric Mercado: … and new car sales and referrals.

Eric Mercado: We are helping dealers reactivate lost customers that haven’t done business with them, 24 months for whatever given reason or longer.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yep.

Eric Mercado: And then there’s a part of it that’s completely acquisition based. Where we can go into the market, cherry pick out vehicles that own the same franchise but don’t do business with that dealer.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: And market to them through automation-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Nice.

Eric Mercado: And direct mail and email marketing. So it adds a tangible value-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: … to that offer that consumers can bring in. And we’ve seen a phenomenal lift with our clients that stay on the program six, seven, eight months. Where they get that residual impact of service.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: Offers coming in.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: The other cool thing about the product, it’s variable to the consumer we’re remarketing to. So if we’re giving the same message out to everybody, you’re not going to get a great response. What we’re doing is we’re segmenting the audiences in a way that says if you are an active customer, you might get a standard offer.

Eric Mercado: But if you’re a lost customer that hasn’t been at my dealership in 36 months, I’m going to give you a much more aggressive offer for service.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh that’s cool.

Eric Mercado: Maybe a percentage off-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yep yep.

Eric Mercado: Maybe an offer above and beyond that to come in.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: So we’ve seen a lift in the segments step before.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: We didn’t see that lift-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: … which was typically that loss and acquisition segment.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Eric Mercado: Now because we’re increasing those offers and dealers are more open minded because they know how important it’s going to be in 2020.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: To lift their fixed ops and really focus on service and parts. And the other thing that we’re talking to a lot of dealers about is a model focused, direct marketing. So a lot of dealers are coming in, you have a lot of imports that they can’t keep the inventory for Palisades and Tellurides. Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: When you get a Hyundai and Kia.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, yeah.

Eric Mercado: But they’re saying, “Man, I really need to go back and lean into my Optimas. Can you do-”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, let’s not forget all those others?

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: Can you find people that are in market right now for-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: … import vehicles or Optimas or? And can you target those people? And the answer is yes. And it’s great because they don’t have to invest as much and they’re getting a really good return.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great.

Eric Mercado: And it’s focused on the actual models that they’re having trouble-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: … selling.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: Like they used to be able to sell. Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sure. Every dealer wants to bring down the average cost of acquisition for a vehicle.

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Or I should say for the marketing of the vehicle. Do your programs speak to that?

Eric Mercado: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: When you meet with a dealer, do you say, “Look, it’s not about selling cars and having a cost of six, 700 bucks a unit. Right?

Eric Mercado: No. So it’s funny you asked that, but that’s pretty much every conversation.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: That’s where it begins and ends is how do you make my marketing more efficient?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: How do you lower my cost for customer acquisition? Whether it be for sales or whether it be for service.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Eric Mercado: And then how can you show me that you’re actually doing that?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: Outside of my own organic sales lists or whatever.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Eric Mercado: We all know that there’s so many variables that play into a dealer success. Not just the marketing part, operationally speaking, incentives, inventory.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: So what we do is we have a siloed out product called Audience IQ that allows a dealer to measure in real time what transactions are coming from any of the marketing messages that we’re sending on their behalf.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh, cool.

Eric Mercado: And then when they’re in there, our average cost per acquisition on new car sales is between 150 and $250 depending on the franchise.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: Highlines typically bring that up a little bit.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Eric Mercado: And our average cost per customer acquisition when it comes to new service customers, is $26.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Jeez.

Eric Mercado: Versus the average repair order. Speaking of fixed ops.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Eric Mercado: Being 280/290.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right.

Eric Mercado: You can see where the value is.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s a no brainer.

Eric Mercado: No brainer for dealers. Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow. Incredible. Eric Mercado, president of, WeDrive Automotive. For dealers that are listening to this right now that want to learn more. They can go to, wedrive.com?

Eric Mercado: wedriveauto.com. Yes sir.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, wedriveautp.com.

Eric Mercado: Yes sir.

Jim Fitzpatrick: There it is.. And by the way, if you’ve got any questions, Eric, a pretty easy guy to talk to. So just–

Eric Mercado: Pretty easy.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Give him a call and you’re more than happy to either come out-

Eric Mercado: 100 percent.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … to a dealership.

Eric Mercado: Voice is gone be.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I know. Right? It’s been a great show though.

Eric Mercado: It has been phenomenal show we’re ecstatic with the amount of attendance that we’ve had.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great.

Eric Mercado: The type of conversations that we’re having.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And you just came off of a great year with WeDrive Automotives. Congratulations to you.

Eric Mercado: Great year, great year and hopefully looking to double down this year.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Awesome.

Eric Mercado: So I appreciate it. As always.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, thanks man.

Eric Mercado: Thank you for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Thanks.

Eric Mercado: And give me a call.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here