21 July 2008

BMW vs Audi real world brand engagement exercise part 5

One point I forgot to mention last week was that 3 weeks ago, I sent my 3 series in for a service at BMW. This is the dealer I purchased the 3 series from about 6.5 years ago. They have a record of the service history of the car as it has been serviced there since new. By default they therefore have a record of the fact that the car is nearly 7 years old. A simple piece of software, bought off the shelf should allow them to integrate both sets of data.

Just to recap, I bought the car there, have serviced it there and have sent it there for other repairs (It's my wife's car so they see it quite often, expecially to fix dents!) for nearly 7 years. Surely I'm the first place the sales force should be looking when they want to make another sale?

So, when I sent the car for the service, I asked him what the trade in value of my 3 series would be. He explained that he couldn't help but would get one of the sales force to contact me.

No body has called.

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16 July 2008

BMW vs Audi Real world brand engagement exercise part 4

It's almost a week since the second call from the BMW dealer. Judging his character from his voice, I predicted that he would call a third time and then give up. It looks as if I may have been wrong and he's given up after 2 calls. Still, we'll give him another couple of days. If he does call, I'll give him the chance to get me to his showroom.

In the meantime, I've not heard anything from the Audi dealer. No response to my email that requested information using the website advertised in one of the print ads that have been all over the print media for the last 2 or 3 weeks.

We'll send the MD a letter and see how we get on. Meanwhile, we're going to try this approach with other brands in the automotive industry.

11 July 2008

BMW vs Audi Real world brand engagement exercise part 3

The good news is that the salesman from BMW called again today and left a clear, concise message on my mobile. He did sound like he'd had a few last night but who am I to judge!
Anyway, I will of course ignore him and see if he follows up. My guess is that he he'll try one more time then give up.
Sadly I have not heard anything from Audi which is a real shame because they have invested heavily in print, outdoor and digital marketing but appear to be let down by their inability to process leads. Makes one wonder why they bother implementing the marketing campaigns unless they expect people to call and place orders.

04 July 2008

BMW vs Audi Real world brand engagement exercise part 2

Although I did not receive a confirmation email from BMW or Audi. I have been contacted by BMW so it is first blood to BMW.
Yesterday I received a call from a salesman at a nearby BMW showroom.
He was very pleasant and polite and asked me what I was interested in. He told me where his showroom is located and suggested I come and visit. I said I would come however I was vague and he did not try to make me commit to an appointment.
Also, although he has my number, he did not ask if I had his or what was my prefered communication method.
He did not give me a timeframe to reply and did not ask if it is alright for him to call me in a week.
We'll see what happens.

02 July 2008

BMW vs Audi Real world brand engagement exercise part 1

My wife would like to buy a new car. And who can blame her? She bought her BMW 3 series new, nearly 7 years ago so she is overdue a new one.
Now, she's always been a BMW owner and our experiences with my Mercedez Benz have been such a nightmare that she has no intention of changing to a Mercedez.
The trouble is, our experiences over the last 6 months with BMW sales personnel have also been disapointing. Then I saw an ad in the NST for the new Audi A4 and suggested we at least go and have a look at it. Surprisingly, she agreed.
So I decided to make the whole experience a little more interesting. I decided to carry out a sort of anecdotal mystery shop or brand audit. Create a play off featuring two iconic automotive brands with the winner taking all, well, getting our business anyway.
And that's significant because these days, with WOM increasingly important, we entertain and socialise a lot and can definately become brand Ambassadors or advocates and influence purchases of friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
So, on 1st July 2008, I went to the websites of both Audi Malaysia and BMW Malaysia and filled out the "request for information forms".
Over the next days, weeks and months, I'll report on the sales process, how & when they contact me, how I'm dealt with, if I'm invited to meet how they sell to me and so on.