Automotive marketing campaigns and the benefits

June 1, 2021
5 minute read

The automotive industry accounts for more than £82 billion of the UK’s turnover, making it an essential part of the economy. As consumer interests and values move towards purpose driven marketing and the latest technological trends, automotive organisations are under pressure to step their marketing campaigns up a gear. Embracing digital marketing tactics and putting innovation at the centre of their strategy will help brands turbo the success of product launches and brand awareness. But which campaigns are causing the most disruption in the market and to what value?

Powering your automotive marketing campaigns with emotion

65% of consumers report that they feel an emotional connection to a brand. In 2014, the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology’s study found that human emotion is based around four core emotions:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Fear/surprise
  • Anger/disgust

Advertisers have been tailoring their messaging to evoke these emotions to encourage audiences to make purchases for a while, but for automotive campaigns, there are some themes that are favoured. Car brands commonly focus on emotive themes, like the family lifecycle, empowerment, and more recently, their social responsibility around the environment. Brands that are looking to build customer loyalty and to increase customer lifetime value will continue to adopt this approach. Creating emotion through advertising shouldn’t be the end of the journey for automotive brands and dealerships though. Building relationships digitally with consumers across multiple touchpoints is also important.

Buying a car is a significant investment. Creating an omnichannel campaign that reassures consumers at every stage of the customer journey that your brand is the best choice for them is key for driving sales and dispelling cognitive dissonance. This might include providing quality content on your automotive website, email marketing that showcases your organisation’s expertise, or a social media strategy that boosts brand awareness and delivers amazing customer service. Aspirational automotive companies will carefully consider their digital marketing strategy at the early phases to maximise their efforts and to get ahead of the competition.

Using digital to accelerate ahead of the competition

The most effective marketing campaigns implement all forms of the marketing mix. Ensuring that social media, paid social, and automotive SEO strategy are aligned helps businesses to achieve their goals. Traditional campaigns that rely on print and TV ads to communicate brand messaging and to promote products are missing the opportunity to engage with their audiences across digital touchpoints. Dealerships and brands that ignore the shift in the media landscape, risk falling behind their competitors that are harnessing the power of digital marketing tools to boost brand visibility and conversions.

88% of prospective buyers use the internet to do their car research, with 46% of consumers using multiple devices to access car dealership websites. Successful automotive marketing campaigns create seamless omnichannel user experiences with the help of powerful website platforms, like Sitecore. Choosing the right platform for your organisation’s website can be pivotal in campaign success. Marketing teams that are equipped with sophisticated marketing tools that use features like personalisation are benefiting from being able to deliver tailored content that boosts engagement and conversions.

Implementing effective automotive website design that considers visual and user experience (UX) aspects are also core to successful automotive marketing campaigns. To create a great UX, brands need to understand their audience through research and testing. Consumers are digitally savvy and have grown accustomed to products and services that are available instantly, around the clock. Therefore, websites that are difficult to navigate, have poor loading speeds or that haven’t considered UX design principles can cost automotive brands potential revenue. Users will quickly move away onto a competitor site that delivers an effortless user experience.

Accelerating campaigns with great content

It’s no secret that content is an essential fuel to creating a successful automotive marketing campaign. 95% of consumers see quality content as a sign of a business being trustworthy. The visual qualities of cars can be exploited in videos and photos to influence prospective buyers to take an action. Automotive brands that have invested heavily in creative and innovative video ads are sitting on content that could be repurposed for video content marketing. 75% of automotive shoppers say that online videos have influenced their shopping habits or purchases, making video content marketing an attractive approach to boosting conversions and significantly reduce costs.

Despite content marketing being an effective driver for most industries, some automotive brands are still neglecting to create cost effective tools such as blogs or FAQ pages. Our recent research into the UK’s leading brands and dealerships identified that 75% of the top car brands don’t have a blog. These organisations are missing out on an lucrative way to engage with users and to boost online visibility through search engine optimisation (SEO).

The shift in the digital landscape has driven automotive brands to use six key themes in their automotive marketing campaigns.

1. 3D mapping and laser tracking

Digital transformation has been a catalyst for automotive brands to create new ways to engage with their audience. Mazda partnered with international dance music festival, Tomorrowland, to launch their campaign. The ‘sound of tomorrow’ campaign featured a DJ competition which invited the next big acts in dance music to get involved, with the aim to drive brand awareness. Showcasing a Mazda MX5 on a giant record player, which generated music through 3D mapping and laser tracking was created to target a younger market. The campaign earned over 8.5 million media impressions and generated new PR coverage showing the new face of Mazda to a younger demographic.

2. Harnessing customer insights

Land Rover implemented a print campaign during the UK’s ‘Snowmageddon’, which took a reactive approach to the existing media coverage. Land Rover took the opportunity to harness their customer data to create an ad that would resonate with their audience. By gathering intel on customer behaviour, preferences and activity they were able to target their marketing effectively. Land Rover uncovered that their customers enjoy driving in the snow – leading to the below solution.

Using website platforms like Sitecore that have powerful capabilities, like Sitecore xDB or Sitecore xConnect that can help marketers store and manage big data can significantly help organisations to generate more conversion and retain business.

3. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence has transformed the way we interact with technology. Automotive brand Lexus, known for their inventive technology, produced the Drive by intuition campaign through artificial intelligence. Big data and machine learning (AI) were used to analyse the award-winning ES model and luxury brand ads to create a script. The innovative approach perfectly aligns with the qualities of the new model. The campaign’s social media strategy utilised key channels to increase visibility and awareness of the product launch.

4. Experience vs technology

Automotive marketing campaigns often focus on technology and innovation, rather than driver experience. It’s essential to think about the whole user experience and understand that the prospective buyer will envision themselves driving the vehicle. BMW produced the ‘i. Drive the future today’ campaign which focused heavily on driver experience, rather than technology. Capitalising on consumer values and the increased demand for brands to take responsibility for the environment, BMW used a popular hybrid model in the campaign. YouTube was at the centre of the campaign, with video content gaining over 1.5 million views.

5. Virtual reality experience

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) transforms the way brands connect, interact and communicate with users. AR in marketing and VR technology have become a favourite used by automotive brands to give users a unique experience that demonstrates brand vision. Porsche created an immersive VR experience for prospective buyers. The innovative campaign gave customers the opportunity to experience Porsche cars first hand as if they were in the vehicles. The VR experience created a demand for 2.2x more virtual test drives and increase in prospective buyers experiencing Porsche’s vision.

6. Driving sales with emotion

Consumers make buying decisions based on emotion, making it an effective method for driving traffic and conversions. Volvo used this approach to attract prospective buyers through a social media campaign. The aspirational theme in the campaign depicted a child aspiring to be his father, a relatable scene for Volvo’s target audience of families. The social campaign featured a competition which encouraged parents to post their children’s drawings on social channels to win a chance to drive a race car. Volvo enhanced campaign reach with over 10,000 views on YouTube and encouraged conversion.

Get the most from your automotive marketing campaign with UNRVLD

Car companies must prioritise getting to know their customers, anticipating their next steps and connecting all experiences with the organisation if they wish to overtake their competitors. Make sure your organisation’s digital strategy considers the user experience from the moment they make an online search, land on your website, through to stepping into a showroom for a test drive to get the best results.

UNRVLD have helped leading automotive businesses like, Inchcape achieve their digital goals with the power of Sitecore. Contact Us to find out how our team of developers, designers and digital marketing specialists can help you accelerate through digital transformation.