Seeking conquest opportunities, Jaguar Land Rover North America is spending half of its marketing budget on digital and social media, says Kim McCullough, vice president, marketing, for the two brands since September 2014.
Before that, McCullough, 55, was brand vice president for Land Rover. She also has held senior marketing positions at Toyota and Nissan.
She spoke with Staff Reporter Diana T. Kurylko last week.
Q: As a marketing challenge, how do you take a glamour luxury brand and steer it downward as you launch new entry products, such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and XE compact sedan?
A: We do not look at steering it downward. We are very clearly staying true to what the brand promises. Land Rover is about capability with composure. We have the Discovery Sport that starts at about $38,000. Having that model has not impacted Range Rover or Range Rover Sport sales. If you are consistent with that brand core promise, it allows you to expand your lineup. On the Jaguar side, it is about performance that excites the senses. We see F-Pace with a price of approximately $41,000 doing very well in the marketplace, and it is priced in line with other premium competitors. It shows something we can do with the Jaguar brand, and customers are accepting it.
Is JLR conquesting new buyers in new segments?
Absolutely, allowing access to more potential buyers. With the addition of XE and F-Pace, we have access to 1.2 million more potential buyers, and with that from a marketing standpoint comes the challenge of access to conquest buyers. Our objective is to easily achieve over 85 to 90 percent conquest buyers for the Jaguar brand. So for us, it is going out there and starting conversations with people that haven't considered Jaguar before. It wasn't even on their radar.
How much has shifted to social media?
Roughly half of our budget is spent in the overall digital realm. Social is a large percentage [compared with] other manufacturers. For us, zeroing in on social allows us to have this conversation with people that we cannot do as effectively in other places.
It also has proved to be an area where we are quite effective at generating leads. As people express more interest, we can follow up with them, and eventually, a certain percentage turn into a lead.
What are the biggest changes you have made in marketing and advertising in the past year?
I would say continuing to hone what we are doing in social.
One of the other things we have really developed in the past year on both the Jaguar and Land Rover websites is a program with owner reviews.
We contact you a few weeks after your purchase and ask you how you feel about your car. We have found that to be really powerful. People are so enthusiastic, and they post photos.
It is a 5-point scale, and 4.5 is the average for each brand. We have found that with people who come to the website and are not owners but are looking around and want to get opinions, we see a higher incidence of those people turning into leads.