By the year 2020 it is not only new products and vehicle segments that will ensure further growth, but also precise adaptation of the sales organization to changing customer wishes. At the Mercedes-Benz Brand Laboratory in Neuhausen auf den Fildern near Stuttgart, Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars, presented the key areas of the growth strategy in marketing and sales entitled “Mercedes-Benz 2020 – Best Customer Experience”. This consolidates numerous new approaches in marketing, sales and after-sales under a central maxim: offering customers a consistent premium-brand experience whenever they come into contact with the brand.
“Within our growth strategy Mercedes-Benz 2020 we are also systematically developing our marketing and sales activities further. The paths to Mercedes-Benz are as varied as the personal preferences of customers. Among other aspects we are therefore making contact with the brand even more attractive, especially for new, modern target groups. This also includes addressing these directly in their personal environment with innovative, differentiated sales formats. At the same time we systematically employ digital elements during all customer contacts. To this end we offer our dealer network solutions that can be rapidly implemented,” Schmidt said during the presentation of “Mercedes-Benz 2020 – Best Customer Experience”.
Brand expansion and integrated marketing
In recent years, with a view to attracting new target groups as part of the compact car initiative, Mercedes-Benz has already modernized its brand image and directed its customer approach very specifically at the relevant customer target groups. For example, the launch campaign for the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class was mainly directed at new, younger target groups. To this end the brand ran an extremely progressive marketing campaign with a greater emphasis on online activities. The online activities for the new A-Class alone reached more than eight million interested people.
Differentiated sales formats for individual customer contact at the retail level
The brand is also moving physically closer to customers, and addressing them directly in their day-to-day environment. This involves the use of both temporary and stationary formats. For the launch of the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz toured through 90 large European cities with pavilions for a period of three months. In this way alone, around 25,000 customers were able to test drive the new model. Currently Mercedes-Benz is presenting itself at the fairs in various townships of Hamburg with a mobile pop-up store in the form of a sea-container.
This pavilion combines catering with an informal presentation of information relating to the brand and its products, and also offers the opportunity for a test drive. With such presentations the company is facilitating access to the brand and attracting prospective customers who previously had no contact with Mercedes-Benz. At these fairs in Hamburg, for example, it becomes apparent that more than 70 percent of the visitors do not drive a Mercedes-Benz, and that more than half have had no contact with a salesperson from the brand in the last five years. Due to the positive customer feedback, Mercedes-Benz will continuously expand these formats in the future.
Mercedes-Benz is also gradually expanding the existing, stationary inner-city formats. Today around 20 inner-city outlets in e.g. Berlin, Paris, Milan, Brussels, New York, Beijing or Tokyo are thrilling their visitors. Tokyo is one example of how successful they are: since it opened in July 2011, around one million people have visited the inner-city format “Mercedes-Benz Connection” in Tokyo. The resulting sales show a capture rate of almost 70 percent, so more than two thirds of these customers come from brands other than Mercedes-Benz. By 2020 the number of Mercedes-Benz Connection outlets worldwide will more than double.