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Ed Tilston from Jaguar Land Rover talks driving business growth

By Helen Dugdale.
Ed Tilsonfinal

This year we’ve decided it’s time ‘to go big or go home’ in the world of business. So we’ve recruited some new guest bloggers and we'll be doing some intriguing interviews to inspire you with thought provoking insights from some of our contacts at leading brands and successful businesses.

This month we grabbed five minutes with a marketeer from one of the true British business success stories of recent years - Ed Tilston, Global Sponsorship Manager at Jaguar Land Rover.

What do we know about Jaguar Land Rover?

According to the most recent press announcements, Jaguar Land Rover is the UK's leading manufacturer of premium luxury vehicles, retailing 487,065 vehicles in 2015, up 5% on the prior year. This is the company’s 6th successive year of growth, with retails in 2015 more than double the 2009 figure.

Label Apeel: What do the Jaguar and Land Rover brands stand for in your eyes?

Ed: Jaguar is all about ‘The Art Of Performance’ and about how vehicle performance can be a life enhancing sensory experience, rather than purely a cold, hard, objective engineering exercise.

Land Rover is all about ‘Above and Beyond’, about living life's adventure everyday and about our vehicles enabling a life more extraordinary.

Label Apeel: What tips have you picked up from your career for driving business development and growth?

Ed: Every business has brand challenges that ultimately define how many of your prospects actually become customers. Be honest about your challenges and embrace dealing with your real and perceived weaknesses to improve the flow of customers through the purchase funnel. Everything else being equal, any improvements in the conversion rates between any of the Awareness, Familiarity, Appeal, Consideration, Purchase and Retention stages will lead to growth in customers and revenue.

Ensure you have great products that live up to the brand promise and remain fresh through continued innovation and evolution. There is no hiding from the fact that compelling products wrapped in customer centric service and topped with memorable brand experiences fulfills not only customers’ ongoing needs, but also their higher wants and desires as well.

Build your growth on the foundations of solid customer retention. Retain delighted customers with great post purchase service and you can focus resources on driving growth through genuine new customer acquisition. Don’t...and your Business Development teams will be having to bring in new business simply to back fill the revenue hole from lapsed customers before they can even consider growing turnover.

Label Apeel: Any tips on maintaining a healthy, satisfied customer base?

Ed: This is about making and living up to the initial brand promise, and then maintaining your offerings relevance by not only listening to your customer, but genuinely hearing them and acting on what is said.

Depending on the nature of your business, I would invariably advocate the virtues of a ‘partnership’ mindset over a conventional (and slightly adversarial) ‘sales’ based one. Partnership is a mutually advantageous; evolving arrangement that through closer collaboration, more appropriate service and more open dialogue sees customers needs met more accurately and on an ongoing basis. If there is no gap between expectations and your offering because one is evolving proactively with the other as needs and business contexts change, why would that customer need to look elsewhere or tender the business.

Deliver unforgettable customer experiences as well as world-class products. This is something that both Jaguar and Land Rover do well, whether through Jaguar or Land Rover Experience, our extensive shows and events programme or our sponsorship activities. We always aim to ensure that our customers make more of their world and we take pride in enabling them to do so with our vehicles or through their experiential relationship with our brands.

Label Apeel: Last question, how important do you feel social media is and which platforms do you think are most effective?

Ed: Social media can be an incredibly effective tool depending on your marketing objectives and how it is integrated with other elements in an Owned, Earned, Paid communications mix. ‘Which channel’ is entirely dependent on what you are looking to achieve and the nature of the content you are looking to serve. The old adage of ‘the channel is not the message’ still rings true, and with the greater monetization of the various platforms it’s increasingly taking a similar shape to the more conventional above the line channel selections. Fundamentally it comes down to ‘how do I best get my message to my desired target audience cost effectively and with the minimum of wastage’.

As always if you have a burning question or would like to suggest a guest blogger or interviewee, then we’d love to hear from you info@labelapeel.co.uk

Take the time to identify, understand and be utterly honest with yourself about the challenges your brand/business faces in the marketplace.