You probably already know that Cadillac (and even Buick) is doing its best to attract customers to which it has not had access to ever before. Specifically, it’s seeking younger, urban consumers who also happen to be affluent. And while this objective is no secret, we do like to hear it from the horse’s mouth — so to speak. To that end, Cadillac global marketing director Jim Vurpillat recently provided some stimulating insight into the way The Wreath and Crest brand plans to attract customers, and keep them in the brand thereafter.
So, since the ATS should attract younger buyers, is Cadillac doing more social media to launch the vehicle?
“With a car like ATS — a new nameplate in a new category for Cadillac — you have to do a broad national campaign, but social and digital in general play a huge role. Take the Super Bowl spot this year, which was important, obviously — but we ran it virally everywhere, including on social channels, and then that kicked off a whole series of “Journey” online videos about the development of the car.”
Vurpillat also discussed the opportunity of the Cadillac ATS, which competes in the most popular segment of the automotive luxury market.
“It offers an opportunity because it’s in flux; you have a flow of people leaving C-Class and A4, 3-Series, so there’s a real churn in that segment.”
And churn there is — in Cadillac’s favor… early data shows that in the first two months of the ATS being on sale, 70 percent of buyers are new to Cadillac. Churn, however, is a two-way street: Cadillac can just as easily lose ATS owners to a competing brand; how does it prevent that?
“First, we work our ass off to make sure we get them into the brand, and then we do everything we can to make sure they have a great experience”, said Vurpillat. “And experience is a big pillar for what Cadillac is focused. It has been nearly a decade since we haven’t been in the top five of J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Index.”
Speaking of customer loyalty, is the XTS for existing customers, perhaps those coming out of the DTS and STS?
“Loyalty and conquest aren’t two static numbers; it’s a flux: inflow versus outflow”, said Vurpillat. “Ideally, the two should match so the buyer base is refreshing itself. So we don’t look at one metric like loyalty, or conquest. Also, every car we have has a different role in that.”
But even then, it’s up to Cadillac to conquest loyal BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz customers. To do that at the dealer level, the brand is launching a program wherein Cadillac dealers offer buyers a chance to cross-shop the ATS with rivals from BMW and Audi. The effort is taking place in large, standalone dealerships in metropolitan areas.
Currently, 250 of Cadillac’c 948 U.S. dealers are standalone. “And our volume is really driven by those stand-alone metro stores”, Vurpillat concludes.
Image Credit: Jeff Zwart