Subprime lender Flagship Credit Acceptance tailors its marketing strategy to the dealer type, in an effort to maintain strong relationships amid market competition and make dealers’ jobs easier.
Lenders must consider dealer individuality when choosing how to market their products to each dealership they work with, Heidi Burns, vice president of marketing and originations development at Flagship Credit Acceptance, said at the recent Auto Finance Summit East 2023 in Nashville, Tenn.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all for dealers,” Burns said. “You’ve got large national dealer groups. You’ve got smaller franchise groups. You’ve got independents. You’ve got larger independents. And certainly geography comes into this as well. Different dealers have different things that matter to them; it’s all market-driven and it’s all based on the type of dealer you’re working with.”
Fund fast, be a first click
Chadds Ford, Pa.-based Flagship personalizes its marketing approach to each dealer type it works with to meet each dealer’s needs, she said.
“We know our main role at Flagship is to make dealers’ jobs easier,” Burns said. “We work in the nonprime space, so for us it’s about fast funding and the least amount of headache we can possibly create for the dealer and how to best position us in the mind to be a first click.”
The lender has a “constant stream” of communication with dealers through email, fax and creating content for its sales groups, she said.
“We market to [dealers] weekly, and we track those open rates really carefully,” Burns said, noting the financier constantly compares marketing strategies to discover what dealers respond to and what they don’t.
Some lenders still rely on giving dealers extra money as their marketing strategy, but that is outdated, she said.
“That’s old thinking; that’s not what matters to the dealers,” Burns said. “An individual dealer, maybe, but dealers as a whole, no. Make their life easier, fund them fast … and you’re doing your job.”
The Big Wheels Auto Finance Data 2023 report, the only tabulation of the top 200 auto lenders by outstandings, is available now.