"TLA engages with audiences when they're at the point of consideration, providing a wealth of information and knowledge via their content and websites, to help the consumer navigate the uncertainty and disruption within the car industry."
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and how you came to be at Performics.
I’m originally from Sweden, I grew up and went to university there. After working in Sweden for a year post-university, I decided I wanted to live abroad and try something new. I packed a bag and moved to London to try it out, 10 years later, here I am.
I joined Performics in 2016, starting out as an account manager. Now, I lead the affiliate team at Performics and look after activations, such as affiliates, influencers, and lead generation activity. That’s how I came into contact with TLA, I’ve had a relationship with them pretty much from the start.
How did you come to work with TLA?
When I first started, we had just onboarded the FCA Group as a new client. I had recently transitioned to an account director role and was overseeing a smaller team. The FCA Group fell under one of the account managers that was reporting to me, which initiated conversations with our main automotive providers, TLA being one of them.
It also helped that our previous head of team had a great working relationship with Anton, which meant I was quickly introduced to him and involved with TLA. We got along well, and I believed in the product.
What products and projects do you work on with TLA on day-to-day stuff?
Pre-Ukraine war and pre-chip shortage, and all the other fun stuff we’ve been dealing with throughout 2021 – 2022, our focus was very much on test drive activity. Essentially getting leads passed on to dealers to follow up and conduct test drives, with the ultimate aim to sell more vehicles.
Recently, there’s also been a bit of a shift relating to the challenges that the industry is facing, where test drives aren’t necessarily the main KPI that clients are looking to engage in. It’s also unlocked a lot of other challenges, whether that’s budget uncertainty, or even the reduced production of cars, which has naturally taken the industry down a path of more used versus new cars, which again can be quite challenging from a marketing perspective.
The channel is quite misunderstood, affiliate or lead generation, sometimes isn’t as appreciated as it should be, in my opinion. TLA engages with audiences when they’re at the point of consideration, providing a wealth of information and knowledge via their content and websites, to help the consumer navigate the uncertainty and disruption within the car industry. I see this playing out in a way where these types of publishers are playing a bigger role and have increased presence within clients’ media budgets, as impartial advice becomes more crucial to determine what vehicle to purchase.
10 years ago, the decision-making process was a lot simpler, where the main consideration was centred around which car to buy. Whereas in the future, there are more variables to consider – particularly as the industry shifts towards electrification and EVs. For instance, there’s a lot of range anxiety amongst consumers when considering an electric vehicle and independent third parties are better placed to help consumers navigate this, compared to manufacturers.
Is your relationship typical of a client-supplier relationship?
I would like to think that I am quite a personal individual. This is what I enjoy about affiliate marketing, it’s quite a personal media channel, where you’re not just inserting numbers into a Google or Facebook bidding platform with minimal personal input, you’re building a relationship and a partnership. This is how you unlock the biggest benefit for your clients, for yourself, and also, for the partner.
There’s very much a symbiotic relationship that takes place with the relationship at the centre of it, but I would also say that, as you engage in manners more personally, you do end up crossing paths with people that you might connect with more in other areas. That’s where I would categorise Anton and his team. They’re very open in terms of engaging their partners in different ways. I took part in the recent London to Brighton cycle, and a few years back, I took part in a charity game, where we went up to Liverpool to play at Anfield stadium.
So, I wouldn’t say typical, because they do go above and beyond in terms of creating positivity in the industry and give back, whilst creating a forum to bring people together from different walks of life and different areas within the industry to listen, but more importantly, keep strong relationships with whoever they’re working with.
Has there been a big evolution in the way you work over the past couple of years?
The pandemic and challenges experienced throughout the industry since then have changed how we operate. It’s mainly manifested in our attempt to help our clients navigate the uncertainty that we’re all experiencing, whilst realising that no one has all the answers and no crystal ball to see what the future holds. We’ve been able to come together and look at what we can see across our partners, publishers, and clients, to get a broader understanding of the market and determine how to tackle what might lay ahead. I don’t necessarily believe that our role has changed, but conversations have certainly shifted to cover larger, structural issues within the industry, rather than focusing on campaign optimisations and how to best position our clients in front of consumers.
What opportunities or challenges do you see over the next 12 months?
It’s clear that there’s a huge emphasis on EVs and a shift towards green energy. Particularly as legislation is also starting to point the industry in that direction, to the point that that’s now a given, in my opinion. Instead, I believe the challenges for the industry are more centred around tightening the macroeconomic landscape, urbanisation, and declining rates of car ownership overall. Even though consumers will still want to own a car, and will continue to do so to various degrees, dampened wage growth, in real terms, could prohibit the ability of car ownership – particularly for younger demographics. I envision this causing a move towards subscription-based services and OEMs trying to penetrate the sharing economy, causing car-sharing services to eat a larger chunk of the pie, at the expense of individual car ownership.
Urbanisation could also decrease the need for individual car ownership and cause an uplift in micro-transportation services such as e-scooters rental schemes, as consumers need to travel shorter distances and where a car would be more inconvenient than other forms of transportation. I could envision this being another shift taking place in the coming five to ten years, which will challenge the industry but also create some opportunities.