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Eight questions to... a dealer group marketing manager

Benjamin Grant, Donalds Group

AM: What are the main responsibilities of your role?

Benjamin Grant: My role encompasses marketing throughout The Donalds Group, not to mention most things with a three-letter acronym – search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), Google Adwords and customer relationship management (CRM).

What are the most significant challenges ahead?

Benjamin Grant: Customers walk in as knowledgeable on the product as industry professionals and carrying a bundle of quotes from across the country.

Standing out from the crowd in a digital environment that is changing so frequently means we are constantly reviewing our digital strategy to ensure we are using the right platforms to be found and that the user has a seamless digital journey.

This provides new challenges of monitoring our return on investment, as many conversions will always be from your dealer website. Monitoring the performance of other activity that leads to the point of enquiry can take some work.

How may these challenges be overcome?

Benjamin Grant: Google Analytics is a marketeer’s best friend! ‘Google Goals’, specifically, provides fascinating data that allows us to track a user’s online journey. Once a goal is set up, we are able to look back at the different channels that a user went through before submitting the online form.

For example, they could have visited our website via an advert on our local news site then come back three days later organically. Without this tool, an organic conversion would have been attributed to the enquiry source and the original click would have been meaningless data. With goals, we can see that this original advert was effective.


What attracted you to this area of expertise?

Benjamin Grant: I think most individuals in a marketing role have some form of creative gene within them and this provides so many different ways to exercise that. The sheer diversity of the role means no two days are the same and there’s a wonderful combination of engaging in your local economy that requires the ‘local touch’ along with promoting a world-renowned brand. The latter is especially easy to get passionate about – as with many brands, the customer is buying into a tribe and lifestyle. Volvo, for example, has made itself a uniquely desirable brand since the relaunch of the XC90.


What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it?

Benjamin Grant: As a millennial, I feel I’ve been very lucky in the timing of my career, as I jumped on just as the digital marketing wave really went intergalactic.

When I first entered the industry with a different company, our website had nine pages and it was considered more of a trophy item than a necessity.

So much has changed since then and while understanding the latest tools and trends is important, it’s also necessary not to neglect more traditional forms of marketing as different demographics consume information in different ways. I’m a true believer that an eclectic marketing plan is a successful one. Engaging with the public at local events, for example, really allows them to discover the people behind the brand. You could put it on an advert, but sometimes there’s no substitute for face-to-face engagement.


What drives you?  

Benjamin Grant: As technology advances and autonomous cars creep ever closer, my Volvo XC60 seems to do more and more of the driving.


What’s your favourite app?  

Benjamin Grant: Fitbit/ MyFitnessPal – I’m becoming borderline obsessed with dietary and fitness data input.  


How do you relax?

Benjamin Grant: Walking along the Suffolk coast, sailing and wild swimming. Descended from fishermen, I rather have salt water running through my veins…


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