20 Years of TLA. Celebrating our key-figures: Callum Dudley

"TLA are one of the biggest players in the Auto Lead Gen space, which makes them a key partner for any auto data acquisition campaign. As a result, we work closely with them across all manufacturers within our remit"

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?

I have been with Mindshare & Neo now for just over 10 years and over that time I have grown to focus more upon the Data Acquisition side of media. I continue to look over a number of more traditional affiliate based clients, but my main area of focus & expertise is in Data Acquisition, or Prospect Generation, which is commonly referred to as Lead Generation. Automotive is an area of personal interest and passion, I’ve been lucky enough to work across & look over a number of OEMs during my time at the agency. This has been a mix of both internal clients, and consulting on others within GroupM.

My primary focus is first and foremost, quality of data, not volume. Capturing the consumer within the natural research stage of their next vehicle purchase, and capturing the approach level of intent, as indicated by the customer, for our clients to subsequently nurture into opportunities and sales. TLA have been a key partner I have worked with during this time, across all clients.

How do you work with TLA?

We utilise TLA as one of our key customer enquiry partners, working with the team to capture customer enquiries at all levels in the purchase funnel. A ‘one size, fits all’ simply does not work, especially with a purchase as expensive as a new vehicle, so assisting the customer at their present stage of interest is crucial to nurture them into a sale. With TLA’s call verified data, we can capture in-market users with additional data fields that go above and beyond our clients mandatory data points, providing extra value and insight to each customers’ enquiry.

TLA are one of the key partners who can drive quality enquiries at scale, leading to us working closely with them over the years, to help improve and develop their offering to fit our clients’ needs, as well as our vision for how auto prospect generation should be delivered.

What effect has the pandemic had on the way you work, and work together?

Ultimately, when brands haven’t got much remaining stock, and are uncertain on when production will be back in full operation, we have to be mindful of the customer experience and the OEM’s ability to deliver the product within a time-scale that the customer will be happy with. In addition to this, media budgets were being reduced dramatically, and regularly, in line with availability and ability to facilitate enquiries.

Really, it came down to being sensible & adjusting strategy to fit with stock levels, and adjusting the avenues we can put customer enquiries down. Fundamentally, we’re measured on sales, so there is little point in us spending media budget on model lines where stock is limited, or unavailable. This not only will increase our CPS, but is an inefficient use of the available budget. We need to be mindful of the post data capture experience, and likelihood for a successful outcome, again coming back to data quality.

TLA have been able to help us with this ever changing approach and optimisations, in what was a very interesting time for the industry.

How has the market changed?

Clients always wanted volume and some still do, however we are starting to change clients’ views & challenge targets based on what is, firstly, realistic, what is achievable, and what is going to deliver customer enquiries with real intent. Not chasing lead volume for the sake of hitting a target KPI – based on volume. Volume is an easy thing to deliver and enquiry volume can be incentivised to do so, but that won’t generate a good pool of quality intent. Deriving leads of high quality, that are going to convert to sale – that’s a completely different story, and takes a lot of work to derive & subsequently nurture in right manner and with the right approach.

Another big thing that is changing is the importance of data validation. With it, not only, being real, genuine data, but providing evidence of the user journey that the consumer has come through, engaged with and where they provided their data, such as through on-site forms, social platforms, and so on. This extra security and transparency can show the real level of intent.

To capture and provide those additional data points so subsequent nurture can be improved, or tailored accordingly, is what really offers value to OEM’s. Capturing those customer specific data points is extremely useful for the dealer to utilise and factor in with their nurture, or follow up approach, leading to a better customer experience and, in theory, a higher propensity to purchase a vehicle. The days of capturing the mandatory bare bones data fields should be well past us, if we’re really trying to deliver quality data that we believe has a good chance of converting.

Clients are willing to pay higher rates for data consisting of full transparency and greater insight.