It’s not all fun and games for marketing technology and promotions company PERQ and its FATWIN technology.
But that’s a big part of it — and it’s helping dealers break down walls.
Offering dealers what is referred to as “advergaming” — in other words, blending branded advertisements into games that offer consumers incentives as well as entertainment, as the company describes it — PERQ utilizes a tool called FATWIN that manages games and contests for dealers. FATWIN also handles the prize redemption, and perhaps more importantly, the leads generated from the games.
Auto Remarketing recently caught up with Stephanie Thompson, client success director for PERQ, to talk about what FATWIN does and how dealers are using advergaming to their advantage.
“We started in the more traditional space with direct marketing, so we’ve been using this technology for seven to eight years on our direct mail programs,” Thompson said. “Obviously, the automotive industry has maybe even pioneered the idea of using prizes and the opportunity to win larger prizes to drive traffic. I’d say our industry certainly uses it more than a lot of others have.
“So what we’ve found is, with FATWIN, our goal is to legitimize those contests and to provide trust with the brand both from the consumer and the dealership,” she added.
Another goal, Thompson said, is to provide visibility to the fact that prizes are actually being given away, and letting folks know who ends up winning the prizes.
Such transparency is about “breaking that wall down” so that people come in the dealership more at ease.
“We have more visibility on the website, so if they visit the FATWIN website before the come into the dealership, they can see the winners both locally and nationally … and that there are actual prizes being given away,” Thompson added.
And it is also designed to help dealers pull in more leads.
Consider a case study the company provided on one of its long-time clients, Kevin’s Royal Automotive in Owego, N.Y.
The dealership had been hosting an event sale once a month, where the store took in gross profits between $60,000 and $80,000 for each event over seven to eight days, the case study indicated.
“Kevin’s sale director Timothy Ditonto, had worked with us before,” the report reads. “He knew that our Incentivized Promotion solution could really up their sales. By utilizing our technology and leads dashboard, we have provided support for Kevin’s team to run successful promotions and build a database of leads.”
More than 20,000 strong, to be exact. That’s how many in-store and online leads have been generated for the dealership since 2008.
Kevin’s Royal Automotive can use the lead collection dashboard to connect with customers who have visited the microsite from FATWIN. Not only that, the dealership knows what car the customer is driving and what car the customer has shown interest in.
The dealership pulled in grosses of roughly $109,000 during the first event it worked with FATWIN five years ago. It has been an upward march even since. This year, the store has averaged $229,000 in gross profit for an eight-day event.
“We do see that it drives more traffic,” Thompson said of advergaming and the FATWIN technology. “We use a couple of things on our direct marketing, along with the FATWIN technology. We use what we call widgets. So it’s basically just something that’s attached to the mailer — a key, a credit card, a poker chip —something that stands out that also ties into the game being played on FATWIN.
“So, both of those portions increase traffic, and with one of our direct mail campaigns attached to a FATWIN promotion, we see about a 1.5- to 2-percent response rate through the door, and an additional 2- to 2.5-percent response rate online,” she continued. “So, the dealer is getting leads both ways; both through the door and online.”
Looking at the games and contests themselves — which are available online and via in-store kiosks — Thompson some of the more popular ones are actually the “pretty simple” ones, things like spin-to-win and slot machines.
Through the games, consumers are asked questions, which serve as “triggers” for the dealership. For instance, they may be asked if they could purchase a car for the same or less than their current payment, would they be ready to buy.
A customer is also asked about his or her trade-in in, and the shopper is provided a NADA value where applicable.
“So our hope Is that we’re not only driving more traffic in, we’re giving the dealership opportunities to sell to people that maybe weren’t in the market to buy at all, where we’re just giving them some nice triggers there to help them with that process and flip some more people into buying that were really just stopping in to see what was going on with the games,” Thompson said.
It comes down to “reciprocity.”
When someone is given a gift or a chance to win a large prize, often the “walls come down a little bit,” Thompson said, and the consumer is open to discussion.
“They’ve been given something, so they feel like ‘why not give the dealership five minutes to talk through a possible car-buying experience?’” she added.
Will this type of advertising continue to grow? So far, it appears to have been beneficial for dealers when it comes to generating leads.
“We’ve certainly seen an increase (in advergaming), especially with the kinds of game that are being played online. There is this whole niche of people out there who are game-players and like to enter contests. And obviously with the Internet being as it is today, there is a lot of opportunity to do that,” she noted.
“We find that people enter a lot of contests and they never really know who won. Our goal here is to provide that visibility and transparency so that it’s valid contests and it’s things people get excited about,” Thompson added.
“We certainly see a rise in advergaming — or just the game-ification of advertising in general —so that consumers will have incentive to give us a little more information about where they are in the buying process or what they’re looking for, and so that the dealer can then utilize that info,” she concluded.
Editor's Note: This article appears in the print and digital versions of the Dec. 1-14 edition of Auto Remarketing, both of which are now available. See those issues for more dealer advertising strategies in our special “Advertising Advantage” section.