"It can’t work. End of. I thought you guys were experts!”

We’ll get our coats then. Our inaugural meeting at HQ, only a few days after our appointment as FCA Group’s Dealer Marketing Agency wasn’t shaping up to be the back-slapping success we had all hoped for. Day one. Client one. A definite cross, not a tick.

However, the context to this reaction is rather important; emotions were running high for a pretty understandable reason.

You see, we weren’t just any old agency appointment, we had just been appointed as FCA’s first-ever group agency, taking full responsibility for all six brands: Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Abarth, Chrysler and Fiat Professional. It was an MD mandate to increase effectiveness, but not all the brands were on board. Would you be? You’ll have your own opinions on what side of that coin you fall.


With responsibility for all local omni-channel lead-gen activity for all 315 dealers across all six brands, six UK regions and Ireland, we had to prove that we could manage the emotion as well as the task of delivering a 20% increase in year one enquiry rates. Which of course, we did.

Within 12 months we had driven voluntary engagement from 59% to 81% and by 24 months, we had grown in-house campaign production volume by 324% to over 14,000 live, tailored communications per year.

Yes, you read that right, 14,000! W.T.F. We’d never say it was easy though, a form of marriage guidance if you will. To unite the whims and ideals of six fundamentally different brands added to the oft-opposing requirements of 10 primary and 14 secondary client personalities – covering the full remit of new, used, fleet, aftersales and financial services – the UN blue helmet would have been the headgear of choice at times.

But we genuinely believe it would be little different at most automotive groups. Opinions run deep and tempers can run high which is why you need an agency with the emotional intelligence and can-do attitude in tandem with the marcomms skills to make this scale of programme work.

And work it did. We exceeded engagement and the lead-gen targets, while reducing overall group spend on dealer marketing by 52% and even lowered CPL on Facebook and Instagram campaigns by almost 80%.

In short: we smashed it. Even if we were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off...