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Bruce Titus Automotive Group Case Study

Embracing the Future to Win Today’s Customers

Bruce Titus Automotive Group uses artificial intelligence to stand out from the crowd

The Dealership

The Bruce Titus Automotive Group is based in the Puget Sound, Washington area, with rooftops in Washington (Olympia Nissan, Olympia Chrysler Jeep, Tacoma Subaru and Port Orchard Ford) and a Volkswagen dealership in Palm Springs, California. Started in 1994, the diverse group tries not to limit itself to one type of shopper.

“Because of our different brands, we really have a mix of clientele. Ford, Subaru, Nissan, Jeep, Chrysler and Volkswagen all attract various types of customers. At Bruce Titus, we aim to service all different types of clientele. From people who have special finance needs to people who are first time buyers, to those coming in and paying cash. We also have a lot of military personnel who buy and service with us since we’re located close to several bases.”

-Courtney Titus Barr, Digital Marketing Manager for Bruce Titus Automotive Group

Background

Challenges

In the Seattle/Tacoma area, one of Bruce Titus Automotive Group’s biggest challenges is standing out from the crowd. “This metro area is highly competitive across all of our brands,” Barr said, “both in new and used car sales.” To rise above the noise of the competition, Bruce Titus needed to increase the strength of its platform in three key areas:

Relevance

“One of the things I really wanted to improve on was reaching the right person at the right time with the right message.” Pelting customers with irrelevant content is not the way to make customers for life; knowing what the customer’s current automotive situation is and communicating with them as individuals is the way a dealership can build lasting relationships.

Consistency of message

“We wanted to maintain consistency in our marketing, both from a dealership standpoint — we want every message we send out to look like a ‘Bruce Titus’ message — and from a brand guideline standpoint for each of our dealerships.” Creating a marketing campaign that appears like a patchwork of different ideas does nothing to build trust or recognition in the customer’s eyes. They are subjected to hundreds if not thousands of advertisements a day; “random” messages from a dealership only adds to the noise and quickly gets filtered out.

Customer retention

“I wanted to streamline the customer lifecycle marketing for our dealerships.” By using the correct messages in the correct way, a dealership can not only make it easier for existing customers to continue to do business with the company but can also lure competitors’ customers away when those dealerships don’t make an effort to simplify the process.

Tools

The Bruce Titus Automotive Group chose Outsell to assist them in their marketing efforts and put artificial intelligence (AI) to work at the dealerships.

“When I joined the automotive group three years ago, I took a look at the tools they had in place and saw what was working and what wasn’t, and scrubbed down from there. We got rid of quite a few different tools, put in all-new websites and brought in some new tools, one of those being Outsell.

“The bulk of our marketing dollars are spent on digital marketing and using AI where we can. Tools like Outsell have become a big function of our marketing and the way we do things here at Bruce Titus.”

The AI is particularly useful for email marketing, Barr said, helping the dealer group with the three main marketing challenges it faced.

“We took a look at all the messages that were going out. We included what the OEM was doing on top of what we were doing as a dealership. The last thing we wanted was to oversaturate the customers with messages, so they didn’t opt out of communication with us. We use Outsell for ongoing communications and they’ve really helped us streamline our marketing efforts. These steps have allowed us to make the most of each message we send out.”

Results

“Some in the automotive industry can be a little behind when it comes to new technology. I was familiar with the concept of AI, but I was intrigued to see how it worked from an automotive standpoint.
“This has exceeded my expectations.”
-Courtney Titus Barr, Digital Marketing Manager for Bruce Titus Automotive Group
Year-Over-Year results have been impressive for marketing efforts based on the Outsell marketing automation platform driven by AI. In March 2017, when the auto group brought Outsell onboard, Bruce Titus marked four sales linked to AI-influenced marketing efforts, for a total gross profit of $3,512. One year later, sales for the month of March had increased to 15 sales, for a total gross profit of $36,507.
Service fared even better with the new platform. In March 2017, there were 62 repair orders linked to the AI-influenced marketing efforts, for a total gross profit of $11,596. In March 2018, that number had ballooned to 287 ROs, for a total gross profit of $46,658. Even better, 61 of those ROs came from first-time servicers, and 132 came from regular servicers. These are the numbers that allow steady income and growth for a dealership for the long term.
“When we put in the Outsell platform, I was really just focused on sales. I was shocked about the results we got in service. That increase in service and owner loyalty numbers were truly eye-opening results.”
Many times, when new technology is rolled out, a dealership’s staff might initially balk at adapting their daily routine to make use of the new tool, either from an unwillingness to try something new or as the result of getting burned by “fad” technology that didn’t pan out. This was not the case with the new AI platform, Barr said.
“It was so seamless, it was almost scary. The feedback we’ve received from our staff is how great the platform is working for them, and the feedback they’re getting from customers is about how it’s helped them in the buying and service process.”
With the kind of ROI the new AI marketing platform has provided, Barr said the next steps were easy.
“As a smaller-to-midsized auto group, we typically test out different platforms in one store and, if things go well, roll them out to the other stores. Let’s just say we’ve rolled Outsell out to all the other stores in the Bruce Titus Automotive Group.”
Background

Final Thoughts

Besides the day-to-day marketing, Barr noted that there are other advantages to using this type of technology.

“One of the things that this has really helped us do is streamline our digital marketing and customer lifecycle marketing and free up time on our end to do more conquesting.”

Barr said she’s happy that she brought Outsell’s AI marketing automation platform in as a tool to take Bruce Titus to the next level in marketing.

“My advice to dealers would be to not be afraid of AI technology. The technology is here, so use it to your advantage. My other piece of advice is to inspect what you expect. Platforms like this are easy to ‘set and forget,’ but when you actively use a platform like Outsell and manage it, you can see tremendous results from an ROI standpoint.”

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