Mercedes-Benz goes mobile to sell used cars

Challenge: The proliferation of digital media means car buyers increasingly access information on vehicles using the internet, to such an extent that the average number of dealer visits made by buyers has fallen from seven in 2000 to just two in 2008.

Mercedes: mobile WAP campaign
Mercedes: mobile WAP campaign

Client: Mercedes-Benz Approved Used
Agency: BJK&E
Lead planner: Paul Capleton

The challenge was to find a way of providing buyers with vital information on second-hand Mercedes cars they were interested in before their second visit to a dealer - the point when deals are invariably closed.

To deliver car brochures to people's mobile phones using WAP technology, mindful of the fact that no two cars are the same. We aimed to provide a useful and trustworthy service that enabled the consumer to have all the information they needed to make a decision in one easy place.

With help from mobile specialist Ymogen, we produced a WAP site containing information on every Approved Used Mercedes-Benz car in the country. This enabled people to download a mobile brochure containing car specifications to their phone handset. The site was updated as cars were sold or acquired by each retailer.

The service was promoted in a variety of media, including cards displayed in second-hand Mercedes and via a partnership with The Sunday Times' InGear supplement. Consumers just had to send a text with the registration of the car they were interested in.

They then received a link to the site for that individual car and were provided with images and information about the vehicle, such as mileage, price and retailer.

The link was embedded in a text, which meant consumers could forward the details to a partner or friend to canvass opinion. This aspect was critical to the campaign to overcome the common objection made by buyers that they need to talk to their partner before buying the car.

The results since April have outperformed expectations. More than 2,500 red-hot leads have requested car details. To get a consumer to pay (even if only for the cost of a text) for information validated the quality of each lead and consumer interaction.

Paul Capleton, Group head, BJK&E

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