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Corporate Automotive Car Dealership Events

By James Abbott Posted 15 November, 2018 In 10. Marketing - Blog - Automotive
Contents

Introduction to Corporate Automotive Car Dealership Events

Organising events for corporate automotive car dealership purposes is no small feat, requiring extensive planning, organisational skills and proper budgeting. They can also be extremely fun to plan and make a real difference to your company, particularly in the case of car launches, which are vital for making the right first impression.

The modern car buyer definitely doesn’t enjoy the hard sell, especially at a launch event. They have plenty of choice, are wary of marketing traps and buy only from people they know, like and trust. Buyers are the ones who get regular value through the ownership lifecycle of the car from the dealership, not just when it’s renewal time.

In a world saturated by marketing, it may sometimes feel like hosting events for new car launches are old hat, or just not worth the effort. The thing is, that successful events are about so much more than the product itself—something we’ve learned from hosting and working at thousands of them!

We’ve provided mobile bar services, complete with signature themed cocktails and flair bartending at events for corporate automotive car dealership clients for years, and have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. 

Budgeting for Corporate Automotive Car Dealership

Let’s be honest – sometimes a new car launch can fall a little short of its true potential, usually because of time and budget constraints. Even if the event is deemed a success, does it leave the customer feeling wowed and help to sell more cars? Whilst some launches are great events, many fall short of the mark and don’t deliver a return on your investment.

Good new car launches come at a cost, so it’s crucial to calculate accurately and consider all the different things you’ll need to purchase or pay for. For example, you’ll have plenty of marketing and preparation costs to take into account prior to launch, such as radio, press and other advertising, promotional signage and perhaps additional resources for social media and digital campaigns.

Then you have the costs of actually hosting the event, including:

  • Catering
  • Drinks
  • Entertainment
  • Decor
  • Glassware
  • SMART repairs (may also be after the event)
  • Goodie bags

But it doesn’t stop there! Both during and after the event you’ll incur additional costs such as:

  • Cost of special offers
  • Cost of sales commissions
  • Breakages
  • Scratches

The most important result you want to achieve as a result of all the above considerations and careful planning is, of course, sales. You want your event to bring you a positive ROI, otherwise all the work will have been in vain. Getting this outcome is largely down to good organisation and financial management, so you need to make sure your event attracts the right clientele and engages guests in ways that regular car launches don’t manage! 

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Administration for Corporate Automotive Car Dealership

Your administration, management and sales teams all have crucial roles to play, so consider the impact of the time that will be re-directed to event planning and do whatever you can to mitigate that. Admin tasks can start falling behind and sales can take a dip in the busy pre-launch run-up. But of course, if your event goes well, you’ll recoup any losses with new car sales!

As well as the disruption to departments and output, you also need to consider and make arrangements for overtime or time off in lieu if staff are expected to work out of hours. Check your policies and make sure you manage this appropriately.

Sometimes the question of a car launch will be out of your hands. You’ll be bound by the directives of the manufacture you represent and you’ll probably find you’ll be put under pressure to put on events for every new model, if you have any option at all.

You may also be part of a franchise agreement, terms of which may include the necessity to host launch events. It’s always wise to check any terms and conditions you’ve agreed to, and make sure you’re aware of any event guidelines you need to adhere to.

Putting Together A Guest List

While you want to show off your new car model, ultimately the aim of the game is sales, so be strategic with your guest list. Target your invitations to prospects that will be looking to purchase in volume. Fleet buyers and local or regional companies are a great starting point. With the latter, those with large sales fleets are especially worth inviting.

Another primed audience is private buyers or previous customers who may be considering switching up to the latest model. Look for those who bought their last vehicle 36-48 months ago, or people coming up to the end of their finance agreement.

It’s not a case of ‘build it and they will come’; you have to make sure that you give them a real reason to give up their time. Firstly, make sure your VIP invitations look the part: employ a proper designer and printer to do the job, or get your internal teams on the case. If you’re inviting via email, ensure to include a killer subject line and eye-catching visuals or if you’re issuing physical invitations, make sure they’re printed on high quality card.

Personalisation is also the key here—make sure your VIPs feel important! Use their name, and ensure they know they’re part of an exclusive group who have been chosen as your special guests.

Remember that the higher the quality of guests, the higher your chances of making sales, so harness the power of the VIP guest list, and make sure they feel super special with some personalised attention.

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How to Sell More Vehicles From Launch Events

Frustrated with Launch and Dealership Events, Suffering From Poor AttendanceLow ROIThis Guide Details How to Increase Event Attendance & Engagement With WOW Bar & Cocktail Service To Help Sell More Vehicles.

Engage your prospects and clients at your 

  • New Car Launches
  • Used Car Weekends 
  • New Registration Plate Events
  • Dealership Openings or Refurbishments
  • Scrappage Incentive Events
  • 0% Finance Deals
  • Service Scheme Events
  • Manufacturer Supported Ride & Drives

Download The Launch Guide

A Great Experience At Your Car Launch

At a corporate automotive car dealership event, the products don’t simply speak for themselves. Designing the ideal experience for your VIPs is easily the most enjoyable part of the event planning process, and it can turn out to be the most crucial.

When you’ve moved within the same industry circles for years, you start recognising that every car launch event is pretty much the same. So how do you do things differently? Coming up with something truly unique can feel almost impossible, so you need to collaborate with the best creative minds you can find in-house, or externally if budget allows.

Here are some of our favourite ideas for livening up the atmosphere and creating a memorable experience for your guests that will drive both brand awareness and sales:

    • VIP Drinks Service: Let your VIPs relax and enjoy the launch event, while dedicated servers bring them cocktails/mocktails and nibbles.
    • Gift Box or Goodie Bag: Fill a goodie bag with a selection of great gifts that are on-brand as well as suggesting luxury and class.
    • ‘Behind the Curtain’ VIP Cocktail Masterclass: Encouraging your guests to interact is a great way of boosting enthusiasm for your event.
    • Photo Op! Round everyone up for a promotional photo and maybe even take individual photos to send on after the event as a ‘thank you’. You can use the group photo on social media, press releases and other platforms to further visibility

How brave you dare to be is up to you, but even just a quirky shake-up of your entertainment—such as adding an interactive element, or even mixing up your food and drink menu—can be a start to helping people remember you and your product.

Branded Drinks Menus for Corporate Automotive Car Dealership

Having the right social lubricant at your car launch is essential. The bar is typically one of your guests’ first destination, and will be a determining factor in their impression of your event. Serving the right drinks menu will set you apart as a luxury brand that is committed to giving its customers the best.

Picture this: Your new car launch is busy with chatty invitees who are filing in one after another. They make their way to the branded mobile bar which is serving up delicious personalised cocktails such as the ‘A-Class Amaretto Sour’ and the ‘Mercedes Mojito’. The whole thing is made even more exciting with flair bartenders wowing the crowd.

A mobile bar service offer greater flexibility than a typical set-up and will be able to tailor packages with your event strategy in mind. Woo your VIPs with behind the curtains cocktail masterclass, indulge them with branded goody bags, containing mini personalised spirits, cocktail recipe cards and branded goods. This will have them itching to come back and close the deal.

You could even extend the experience even further  by including a free private party for them with every new car sale? It can seem a little daunting and perhaps out of the ordinary to really pull a showstopper out of the bag. But of course, you really do get out of an event what you put in. The drinks menu offers enormous scope for exciting branding and memories that will have your VIPs telling everyone about the car launch they attended!

 

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Catering For Your Guests

Of course, you can’t serve any old food with your scene-stealing mobile cocktail bar! Whether you’re serving a full sit-down meal or a few canapés, it’s important that your catering is synonymous with luxury and class. Which option you go for will obviously depend on the time of your event as well as your budget, but there is plenty of scope for either.

Make sure the service is up to the standard of your flair bartenders, as well. Obviously, your waiters don’t need to be doing tricks with the food—in fact, it’s probably best if they don’t—but presentation is everything; that goes for more than what’s on the plate. Your guests will be expecting neat, clean uniforms and similarly tidy servers.

Food can also be one of the most subtle yet effective ways of personalising your event. Let your guests quite literally eat your brand up with personalised cupcakes, having your brand and logo on the menus or playing with the names of dishes on the menu to reflect the car, your service values or anything else that feels relevant!

Entertainment for Corporate Automotive Car Dealership

Car launches are often not just a place for adults, but a family affair as well! Some guests may bring their families with them, so make sure you accommodate for younger attendees as well. Create an entertainment focus that will keep everyone happy, from the kids to their parents!

If you’re using a cocktail bar service, make sure they get the kid-friendly memo and are prepared to serve some tasty mocktails or smoothies for the under 18s—also great for teetotallers and drivers! Having a selection of cocktail accessories such as sparklers is a good way to jazz up the kids’ drinks.

People love to feel special, so make the most of the VIP element and really lay on the lavish treatment so they take away nothing but the very best impression of your brand and service levels. The personal drinks service and cocktail masterclasses are great ways of doing this, but as noted in the previous point, also include a junior version for the youngsters.

You might also want to hold a raffle, but don’t charge for tickets. People can use their ticket stubs or simply put all attendees’ names in a hat and draw a lucky winner. Your mobile bar service may be willing to provide a cocktail masterclass in a box as a star raffle prize, and they go down a treat!

Planning outstanding corporate automotive car dealership events can be a bit of a tall order, with so many variables to manage. However, by focusing on providing the best possible experience for your guests within your budget, you can put together a car launch or other event that is rewarding in terms of brand awareness, customer loyalty and return on investment!

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About The Author
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James Abbott

James Abbott is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record over thirteen years within the hospitality industry, ten of these as a professional flair bartender. James is the pioneer and founder of Mix and Twist and with the help of his team have expanded Mix and Twist into one of the UK’s leading mobile bar companies, serving major corporate clients as well as premium private parties and wedding events. James' interests outside his passion for being an entrepreneur is his family, his favourite charity which he is dedicated to supporting is Barnados. Connect with James on social media.

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