Thembinkosi Pantsi mining an untapped vein of social marketing

Dealerfloor recently met with Thembinkosi Pantsi, dealer principal at Lindsay Saker Audi in Sandton, to find out more about his novel way of marketing on social media.

Thembinkosi Pantsi mining an untapped vein of social marketing
Thembinkosi Pantsi, dealer principal at Lindsay Saker Audi in Sandton
Thembinkosi Pantsi, dealer principal at Lindsay Saker Audi in Sandton

“During the hard lockdown and especially after that, I found a lot of new people who appear to have created social profiles out of curiosity or boredom during lockdown. These newbies were curious, open to engage and a new avenue for sales leads.

“At the same time, I was thinking about how we could find new ways of reaching our target market when most customers are still at home,” says Thembinkosi.

It was then that he came up with the idea of throwing open the doors to all “social influencers, celebrities and sportsmen and -women” to come and drive an Audi and tell the world about their experience.

The approach was novel in many ways. For one, the job of working with motoring journalists, influencers and endorsing sportstars is normally left to the brand’s marketing team or at the very least to the dealer group’s marketing division.

It was also strange to find Thembinkosi engaging directly with each prospective marketing partner. Whether on Twitter or another platform, he follows and contacts the influencer or celebrity and vets these stars before getting them behind the wheel of an Audi for an hour, a day, or weekend.

“People were very sceptical about the plan, especially since Twitter can be a toxic environment. But you get the energy back that you put in, and we found a rich vein of young and energetic journalists and friends of the brand who have been overlooked in the formal marketing process, but who are full of ideas and good content.”

A rich vein indeed, as Audi Sandton now has a waiting list of potential influencers who visit the dealership, generate their own content and become friends with the sales team and the brand.

This is not the first time that Thembinkosi has turned dealer marketing on its head. While Dealer Principal at Polokwane (a strange new world for a boy from the Eastern Cape) he invited any and all small, micro and medium-sized enterprises to use his boardroom if they needed a place to brainstorm, meet clients or just work in a place with fibre Internet and air conditioning. He even threw in the coffee service.

Many of these entrepreneurs have become Thembinkosi’s staunchest supporters and have followed him, as their businesses and wealth grew, to Sandton.

It was also while at Audi Polokwane that Thembinkosi started sponsoring Kgothatso Montjane (KG), our top-ranked wheelchair tennis player.

“The traditional avenues for marketing are hotly contested and often over-hyped. Yet there are so many opportunities for marketing your dealership if you look beyond the obvious and you are willing to get involved personally,” says Thembinkosi.

Follow Thembikosi Pantsi on Twitter at @themkopantsi.

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