Start your engines!

After a brief stint at Volvo as its tactical communications manager, Jennifer

After a brief stint at Volvo as its tactical communications manager, Jennifer

Hutcheson is returning to what she knows best – building relationships.

‘CRM is my strength,’ says Hutcheson, Mitsubishi Canada’s first customer relationship management manager, ‘it’s what I love to do.’

Hutcheson spent over seven years at Jaguar/Landrover establishing the brand’s CRM program in Canada. Her work at the luxury brand included creating welcome kits to new owners, and loyalty programs like Motivate and Remotivate, which she says, ‘treated [leasers] like we treat our owners’ by sending them high-quality, targeted communications. ‘We listened to them. If they said they were interested in buying a Jaguar in the next seven years, we weren’t sending them [packages] every three months.’

Only weeks into the job at Mississauga, Ont.-based Mitsubishi, which entered the Canadian market three years ago, Hutcheson says her first task will be to get a sense of the Japanese brand’s current consumer database, then determine what it should look like in future. It’s rather ambitious, she admits, but she’s also hoping to begin the first wave of outreach to Mitsubishi’s owners in the next three to six months.

According to industry analysts DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, the Canadian car market generates about 1.5 million new car purchases a year with little fluctuation. Hutcheson says the challenge is to therefore entice possible clients away from their current brands. Mass advertising is key, but more and more, compelling CRM is the best strategy to win over highly discerning consumers. ‘With CRM we have real measurement’ to determine the success of initiatives, she says. ‘And it’s of the utmost importance to brand and relationship building.’

Mitsubishi is coming off one of its strongest months since entering the market, with sales up 6.7% in April compared to last April. Overall, retail sales are up 35% compared to last year.

Hutcheson joins fellow ex-pat Volvo marketers Larry Futers, national marketing manager, who joined Mitsubishi earlier this year and Peter Cummings who became president and CEO in 2005.