It has been said on AROnline many times before that MG Motor UK is not doing enough to promote the MG6 to a wider public. Sales have therefore been, to say the least, limited – even accounting for the Avis fleet deal.
However, in defence of MG Motor UK, the cost of ‘above the line’ press and TV advertising is prohibitive if the brand is selling very low numbers. Manufacturers look at cost per vehicle sold and it is much easier to justify a £10 million TV advert if you are selling 50,000 units a year than if you are selling 1000 units.
The other issue for MG Motor UK is that it has not got full UK coverage with many open points so national advertising will be wasted in many cases. That said, are MG Motor UK doing enough to promote the brand and the MG6 in particular? The answer has to be no.
How, then, could MG improve their marketing in 2013 without breaking the bank, particularly with the launch of the MG6 Diesel in December and the MG3 in 2013? The latest MG dealer – Charles Warner of Lincoln have just run an innovative marketing promotion at Morrisons Supermarket in Lincoln, in conjunction with my automotive consultancy – One Vision Marketing.
The car has been on display for five full days including a Saturday at Morrison’s in Lincoln prominently sited’ front of house’. Many dealers do these sorts of promotions but either leave the vehicle unmanned or rotate car sales staff to do stand duty. Unmanned displays might raise awareness but do not drive sales and help build the database for future opportunities. Using sales staff from the dealership often does not work either. Sales staff perceive that, if they are away from the showroom, they are missing opportunities to sell and, as the majority of their salary derives from commission, this is a problem.
The approach we took with Charles Warner was to provide fully qualified market research staff to undertake stand duty, fully trained in the features and benefits of the MG6 and the retail offers available at present. Market Researchers are trained to have good listening skills and to gain information pertinent to the potential sale. We also used detailed contact sheets to grade the prospects into gold, silver or bronze leads.
How did the event go and what did people think of the MG6?
Firstly the raw statistics… We talked to 186 potential prospects who stopped and looked at the car in some detail. We data captured 39 prospects for either a brochure request or test drive. Eight of those prospects indicated that they wanted a test drive and a similar number were graded gold prospects. Two prospects indicated that the MG6 would be their next car and one prospect indicated that they would be buying in December to take advantage of the MG offers. We also had one fleet request for six vehicles which MG Motor are pricing up as a lease deal and an offer from a businessman to display the car at a business club meeting at the Bentley Hotel in Lincoln.
Additionally, Morrison’s has a footfall of at least 30,000 people at the Lincoln store per week so the promotion far exceeds an advert in the local newspaper. Feedback from Charles Warner is that they are very happy with the promotion given the time of year and the overall cost.
We also have collected some interesting research data for MG which we will pass onto the Zone Manager. 90% of the prospects who stopped were either male or in a couple. Nearly all were over 50 years old. Predominantly the current ownership profile was Rover 75, Vauxhall Vectra/Insignia, Ford Mondeo and Jaguar X-TYPE – in other words people who drove family cars with a predisposition for British brands.
The split of interest between petrol and diesel was 60:40 in favour of diesel and two enquiries were Motability. The fleet enquiry was an environmental firm with a buy British car policy. Most people loved the style of the car and were truly impressed with the MG offers which make the car very affordable. Boot space, specification and styling were the main positives.
In terms of product feedback a few prospects would have liked to have a stone beige interior option as well as the dark grey and a wood pack instead of the aluminium trim option. The Jaguar prospects and some Rover 75 owners requested this. An exterior chrome pack was also requested by a few prospects to lift the look of the car. A few MG enthusiasts said that more ‘MG’ needed to be injected into the interior and that it looked too Japanese.
MG needs to consider broadening the appeal in this way as the target market want a comfort specification as well as the overtly sporting model offered at present.
The dealer concerned, Charles Warner, is very happy with the results so far and is hoping to convert some of those leads into firm sales. We will be speaking to MG Motor UK with a view to offering similar promotions across their network as a cost effective way of promoting the MG6 and new MG3 when it is launched next year.
It is certainly true that the car buying public are very happy that MG is back. It’s just that 80% of those that stopped at the stand were unaware that a model was available! MG Motor UK really needs to divert some of their marketing budget into this sort of activity. I hope that the company does.