Category Archives: Data

Our commitment to compliance and transparency

TLA is built on foundations of openness, transparency, and trust.

We are not just a traditional lead generation company; we‘re a business with great passion for technology, marketing, and compliance. Each of these disciplines are intrinsically linked to each other.

Independent endorsements

We are leading the way in making performance marketing as transparent and compliant as it has ever been. Our approach to continuous improvement reinforces what is already a strong compliance culture. Our approach to GDPR has been externally endorsed by an independent third party. ASE Global, an automotive industry specialist and renowned professional services provider, commented of TLA: “Internally, their policies are sound, staff are appropriately trained…”; “externally, customers can provide their personal data to TLA, confident that the processing it is subject to from there will be compliant”.

We take no chances when it comes to personal data; in the spirit of trust that we want to gain and maintain with our clients, we immediately refer any new potentially contentious project to the Information Commissioner’s office. Information security is a priority, and our ISO 27001 certification is testament to our approach. From start to finish, the accreditation process took just five months, a great endorsement that our established processes needed very little enhancement to meet the requirements of this formidable standard.


There is much discussion around the need for transparency in the digital marketing industry. Many advances in technology and process are working towards achieving this. Nobody disputes that this is a challenge, but we have all bases covered.

Balancing commercial interests and meeting compliance requirements can be tricky for some organisations. However, with strict processes to follow (and not just because we are ISO 27001 accredited for the second year running), and because morally and ethically it’s the right thing to do, we set ourselves high standards. Anything less is not acceptable.

Our systems and processes

In 2019, we introduced Platform X, our blockchain-based declared data platform that underpins our entire approach to providing a compliant, transparent service for our clients. Platform X records every step of the consumer engagement and data delivery processes, using the immutability of the blockchain to provide an end-to-end audit log of every data item. The system is tamper-proof and provides significant advances in transparency for every party we interact with.

Platform X provides bespoke real-time reporting to our clients, offering transparency at every step.  As the platform continues to evolve, we will continue to offer an unrivalled, transparent and compliant service for our partners.

Kathy Fleming, Head of Quality & Compliance at TLA

For more information on the compliance culture, measures and standards we have built at TLA, please contact Kathy at [email protected].

Matching consumers with stock

Insight from TLA’s daily conversations with in-market buyers suggests that 45% are actively seeking to buy in the next month, while 40% don’t want to wait more than a month for a new car to be delivered.

With stock vehicles currently taking on added importance as factories return to capacity, TLA have introduced a stock match lead type aimed at matching high-intent buyers with a specific stock vehicle.

TLA research suggests that more than 90% of buyers are willing to switch from a new car to a short-term alternative if new car lead times are unacceptable, meaning that stock vehicles are a very viable way to support short-term sales.

Our objective with stock match leads is, as always, to deliver fully-qualified, sales-ready leads to dealers, allowing them to focus wholly on conversion.

How does it work?

TLA’s in-house contact centre, which specialises in guiding and qualifying the consumer purchase journey, walk a buyer through an online configurator to determine their vehicle preferences, purchase context and financial situation. The contact centre operative then identifies and matches the buyer with an available stock vehicle.

TLA can either use visibility of stock vehicles from OEM websites or plug in a data feed of available vehicles directly from a client.

The result is a record of the buyer’s configured vehicle and a match with a stock vehicle or finance package, where available. All information is delivered to the client instantly, alongside the buyer’s contact details. With a 360 view of the buyer, matched to a physical vehicle that they have shown interest in buying, dealers can focus on closing these leads immediately.

Anton Hanley, CEO of TLA, said: “Stock vehicles are paramount in supporting short-term recovery for many of our clients, and we want to help them through a challenging and extremely important period.”

“Our buyer engagement, market-leading technology and expertise in qualifying in-market consumers will help us progress only the highest-intent buyers, making every dealer interaction with a TLA lead a meaningful and worthwhile one.”

For more information on how TLA can support your recovery with stock match and configurator leads, contact [email protected].

How consumers buy Electric Vehicles – Cover Image

How consumers buy Electric Vehicles

Image showing the page title

Despite recent market turbulence, SMMT expects UK sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV) to double in 2020 and grow 250% by 2021 – a tripling of market share in three years.

A graphic to describe acronyms used within the text

Until recently, manufacturers focused their EV market efforts on niche models targeted at early adopters, but 2020 has seen several mainstream models given the green treatment, including big hitters like the Vauxhall Corsa, Mini and Fiat 500. Soon, exciting new entrants will join, including the Volkswagen ID range, and even an all-electric offering from Porsche.

While there are certainly incentives for brands to push EVs, not least the looming possibility of fines for excessive emissions, the electric revolution is also demand-led. As prices fall, range increases, and charging infrastructure improves, new car buyers are finding EVs ever more viable as an alternative to petrol or diesel. Automotive data science specialist Sophus3 predicts that 11% of consumers in the EU expect to make their next car purchase an EV, up from 6% in 2019. Their latest data also suggests that interest in EVs is recovering at a faster rate than the overall market in the UK.

Yet while the importance of the segment grows in the eyes of manufacturers and consumers, the buying journey for EVs needs closer attention. Quite simply, the needs of an average EV buyer in 2020 are very different from those of their petrol and diesel counterparts. Whereas petrol and diesel vehicles benefit from decades of incremental change, the technology, features, and benefits of EVs are developing at breakneck speed, leaving a consumer education gap in their wake.

How does the EV buying journey differ?

This education gap manifests in the online behaviours that EV buyers exhibit while they are shopping – EV buyers research both more widely, and in more depth, compared to those for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

EV buyers tend to conduct their research widely across the internet, with 92% using independent third-party sites, and are likely to consider, on average, nearly six different vehicles during the research process. Here is the education gap in action: the immaturity of the market means that features and technology may differ wildly between competing vehicles, driving consumers to look beyond price as a determinant of their decision.

More key statistics representing that EV buyers shop wider than ICE consumers.

And in-depth? EV buyers seek out significantly more information on EV vehicles, during research, visiting five times as many model pages as ICE buyers and spending 27% more time on those pages mostly as a result of the generally low level of knowledge of EV vehicles. IBM suggests that 45% of drivers have “little or no understanding” of EVs. It, therefore, puts a greater onus on experience, with EV buyers twice as likely to take a test drive than ICE buyers.

A graphic representing statistics and showing that EV buyers research more than ICE consumers.

Supporting the EV buying process

Brands must support EV buyers through education and guidance, correcting misconceptions, increasing the general level of EV knowledge and addressing specific questions and concerns that buyers may have, such as range anxiety, getting their car serviced, and charging infrastructure.

TLA’s independent concierge-centric approach provides the perfect solution. Every TLA lead is qualified through our in-house contact centre, providing the opportunity for consumers to speak with an independent EV expert to guide their purchase before they reach a dealer.

TLA also has reach into the EV market, given our recent agreement with Next Green Car, the UK’s leading green car website. TLA deploy custom-built engagement tools across Next Green Car’s portfolio of electric vehicle-focused review, news, and guide content, with the aim of helping consumers make an informed green car purchase. TLA is also responsible for lead generation from Next Green Car’s search, social and email channels.

Sophus3 suggest that EV buyers are five times more expensive than ICE buyers to convert to sale, but we expect a significantly improved cost per acquisition from TLA leads, bringing it down to a rate similar to ICE buyers. We will do that through our access to in-market EV buyers and by leveraging our concierge service to educate and qualify buyers, allowing dealers to focus on selling.

TLA strongly believe that helping buyers to make informed purchase decisions is essential for the EV segment to prosper.

Final Image to show the Next Green Car and TLA partnership

Leveraging machine learning to qualify consumers in real-time

TLA has been qualifying consumers to an industry-leading standard since 2002 via a 40-person contact centre trained to provide consumers the best experience, while complying with the highest standards and regulations in force.

Through investment into a PhD-level team of data scientists, TLA has created a new consumer validation process that ultimately enables consumers to get to car dealers quicker than ever.

What does this mean?

Consumers and retailers can be connected to dealers by TLA within minutes of initial enquiry. Qualified enquiries are being dropped into retailers’ CRM systems in real-time with more data and insight than ever before, facilitating the sales process. The result? A process that can sometimes take days now takes only minutes, resulting in a higher contact rate and more sales for our clients. For the consumer, it means a better service and superior experience by being able to speak with the right retailer and access the right information faster than ever.

Does this mark the end of contact centres?

No, it allows them to prosper. Adopting a blended approach ensures digital qualification and contact centre activity complement one another. Imagine walking through the security scanner of an airport. If there is no doubt, you just walk through but if something were flagged, you would be asked to step aside for additional search. Real-time qualification is the same: consumers at an exploratory purchase stage, for example, may be nurtured through expert contact centre support, while mature consumers with clear intent connect with retailers directly.

How does it work?

Every consumer journey from enquiry to purchase is unique. Positions in the buying cycle differ too. Advanced statistical methods and machine-learning algorithms allow us to analyse precisely the consumer’s digital behaviour to then exactly identify their current position in the buying cycle. This automated decision-making process guides each consumer along the best route to connect with retailers, either directly into their CRM or through our contact centre for further enrichment. The uncertainty of consumer intent is accurately quantified, ensuring in-market consumers and retailers connect at the right time.

At TLA, we pride ourselves on innovation. Our novel real-time qualification technology benefits both consumers and retailers by connecting them faster than ever, with the right information on hand.

As the UK’s largest provider of sales-qualified automotive consumer leads, this product will allow TLA to further push market boundaries. For our clients, it means more sales. And for their consumers, a much better experience.

Paul Byrnes, Data Scientist

If you would like to know more about this product and how it can help drive more sales, please get in touch at [email protected]

Empowering retailers with consumer insight

TLA will soon be rolling out an enhanced data view to provide retailers with more consumer information, supporting sales efforts.

As the UK’s largest provider of sales-qualified consumer leads to the automotive industry, we speak with around 1000 in-market car and van buyers every day, qualifying their enquiries and guiding their next vehicle purchase. During the course of these conversations, we collect a range of information about each consumer, above and beyond that required by our clients.

When receiving 3rd party leads, however, retailers have historically received a restricted dataset due to field and integration restrictions created by the multitude of processing, CRM and DMS systems that work together to deliver that lead. As a result, much of this additional contextual data has not previously been leveraged by our clients.

We strongly believe that this data can help to empower the retailer salesperson, enabling them to tailor their response and drive an improved consumer experience. For consumers who are in the information search or, in particular, the alternative evaluation stage of their buying journey, a strong retailer experience can be very impactful in helping them make a purchase decision.

With that in mind, we will soon be rolling out our enhanced consumer view, available exclusively – at no additional cost – for all Platform X clients.

What is the enhanced consumer view?

The enhanced view is a sales support interface that will be accessible via a web link that TLA pass through with every lead generated. On opening the link, retailers will have access to an enhanced view, encompassing all of the data that TLA has collected in the course of its digital and verbal interactions with the consumer. This requires use of an existing “notes” field or the addition of a single new field to CRM and dealer management systems, overcoming the time and effort required in adding new fields to house the additional and ever-growing dataset.

The interface will also include in-built communication options that retailers can use to engage with the consumer via their preferred channel. Available channels will initially include SMS, email and a live chat option, with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger in the roadmap. All communication will be done natively within the interface and will allow for engagement via multiple channels.

The key driver of this activity for TLA is alignment. With the increasing fragmentation of the media landscape, retailers must remain aligned with consumers wherever they can. The data that TLA provides will help create a more complete view of the consumer, allowing retailers the opportunity for a better contact rate, improved engagement and, ultimately, a higher rate of conversion. The current circumstances demand effective handling of every lead, and we believe that this feature empowers retailers to do just that.

This is just one of the features designed for retailer empowerment that TLA will be adding to Platform X in the coming weeks and months, and follows our announcement of the availability of TLA’s remote telephony service to Platform X clients and partners.

Look out for more new features in the very near future!

Best regards,

Ed Clark
Chief Product Officer, TLA

The consumer impact begins to take shape

As COVID-19 continues its hold on the country, the impact on consumer behaviour is becoming clearer.


The last month has been characterised by demand-side uncertainty, with consumers battling logistical challenges and mixed messaging. Lockdown, however, has created some semblance of certainty – or as close to as it we are likely to come – and that has filtered down to elements of consumer digital behaviour.

The stories we’ve seen this week show a wide distinction in fortunes between first-party and third-party sites. For the former, Sophus3 reported this week that UK OEM sites had seen a 62% drop in daily visits since the start of lockdown in the UK, a trend that held across all page types. In fact, the share of visits to each page type – brochure, dealer locator, test drive, offers and configurator – did not change, falling proportionally with volume.

With regards to the latter, ComScore reported this week that, in line with a huge surge in social activity, publisher sites have seen a significant increase in user visits since the imposition of lockdown conditions across Europe’s “Big 5”, with the UK seeing an increase of nearly 50% to news sites between the first and third weeks of March.

The trend is becoming clearer: consumers are looking for news with greater relish, have more time to browse content, and are choosing third-party sites as their preferred destination.

What does this mean for brands?


Third-party publisher sites offer the most direct access to consumer eyeballs in current circumstances. While the numbers would suggest that engagement has suffered – with metrics down across the board, both for first- and third-party sites – we would argue that, in the case of automotive, this is a question of the messaging and value that consumers are presented with, and how it appeals to their stage in the buying funnel.

The distortion of the buying funnel has not necessarily removed intent, but extended purchase timescales. A 44% year-on-year fall in new vehicle registrations in March confirms that, in the short-term, purchase activity will be significantly reduced as consumer confidence wanes, but this does not condemn the medium-term future of automotive retail; as Auto Trader reported this week, 88% of consumers will use the lockdown period to research their next purchase, and 60% plan to purchase later in the year.

As requirements change, TLA is leveraging first- and third-party publisher networks to engage with buyers with a longer purchase timeframe; those who displayed pre-lockdown intent, but now have no viable mechanism to buy and have therefore extended their timescale to 3-6 months, rather than TLA’s typical 0-3. The needs of these consumers have shifted, with an increasing appetite for deals and offers and wider consideration sets, as buyers consider more affordable alternatives.

Engaging with these consumers during the coming months will be crucial for brands looking to accelerate away from lockdown and into a successful second half of 2020. More time for research, alongside affordability concerns, will challenge brands to retain brand-loyal buyers, and will present others with an opportunity to win away buyers from competitors. Engaging with consumers now and interjecting during their extended research process will provide the opportunity to get ahead when the time comes for dealers to reopen.

Five minutes with… TLA Head of Quality and Compliance Kathy Fleming

Following on from our Celebrating Women in Tech and Marketing round-table, we sat down with head of quality and compliance Kathy Fleming for a quick-fire Q&A session.

What’s your role and the role of your department at TLA?

Head of Quality & Compliance (including responsibility as the Data Protection Officer). The department is responsible for call monitoring and coaching. I have overall responsibility for FCA Compliance and one of the leads for the ISO27001 certification.

What do you believe has been the most important change to this industry over the last 5 years and why?

The new data protection law has undoubtedly had an impact on how consumer data is handled. Working with high profile clients puts us in a position of trust and it’s our responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to GDPR compliance. We must be able to demonstrate transparency and integrity in what we do, putting customers information rights at the heart of the service we are providing.

What changes do you think we’ll see in the next 5 years and what long-term impact will they have?

Better use of intelligent data (tracking data) which will help inform us and provide insights into consumer behaviour. Whilst this data will be valuable, there are certainly some compliance considerations that must be at the forefront of this activity.

What excites you most about the industry?

The development of systems to enhance what we already do – in particular the way in which TLA can evolve to become more diverse.

What aspect of your work or profession are you particularly passionate about?

Making sure that we operate with integrity in all of our interactions with customers – a DPO should act as the conscience of the organisation.

Where do you go for inspiration or to learn?

I attend a quarterly data protection networking meetings which is a great forum for sharing good practice with people in similar roles across different sectors.

Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?

Our CEO Anton Hanley – because of his passion and tenacity.

What advice can you offer the next generation of women considering their future career?

Believe in yourself, have confidence in your ability and use every opportunity to improve and gain experience.

If you’ve got a question for the TLA team or want to know more about what makes us tick, why not get in touch?