Following a governor-issued mandate requiring utility providers to support a statewide electric vehicle adoption goal in five years, a regional utility company was tasked with creating a program to do their part to hit this goal. While they knew the end program would be a multi-channel marketing campaign, they needed a strategic approach that would materially impact electric vehicle consideration rates.
Because we were starting off in a nascent category with limited knowledge about the consumer and sales channels, we took a “learn first, act later” stance. The project first began with in-depth research to establish an overall campaign strategy. Armed with a concrete foundation, we were able to transition into messaging, channel, and go-to-market recommendations that the end client could take to market.
Secret Shopper Visits To familiarize ourselves and our client with the electric vehicle purchase process, we first ran a series of secret shopper visits across local car dealers. By first experiencing the organic selling dynamic and then using a series of pre-designed questions with each salesperson, we were able to understand the stark limitations of this distribution channel as well as the limited methods dealers had on-hand to communicate the benefits of electric vehicles.
Focus Groups We fielded a series of focus groups with both existing owners of electric vehicles and those stating they were interested in purchasing an electric vehicle in the future. Through guided dialogue, we are able to begin isolating some of the common challenges faced by both groups when considering purchasing electric vehicles, and the fears and myths that run rampant in this particular product category.
Customer Segmentation With a high-level understanding of electric vehicle purchase drivers and barriers, we then launched a customer segmentation study amongst those stating an interest in purchasing electric vehicles. Since our client’s end goal was to increase vehicle purchases, we knew we had to hone in on this intender segment to understand the unique groups that comprise it and pinpoint the best group to target for short-term conversion.
Program Positioning & Core Tenants Armed with the segmentation and focus group study results, the team worked with a brand agency to develop the core positioning and tenants. Acting as a marketing blueprint, these materials would be the foundation for any future marketing activities, driving key value propositions and helping determine what messaging to promote across all channels.
Go-To-Market Planning With the marketing research and strategy set, it was time to develop the marketing plan of attack. We created a nine month go-to-market (GTM) plan that leveraged a wide variety of channels (e.g. email, social media, offline events, sponsored partners, etc.) and then isolated the activities that would happen in each channel week-over-week. With this tactical document in-hand, the client’s internal marketing team could hit the ground running and execute campaigns they knew would resonate with their core audience.
Pre – Post Awareness Study We knew it wasn’t enough to launch campaigns. We also needed to measure if they were improving electric vehicle awareness and likelihood to purchase. This led us to develop a pre – post campaign awareness study, a replicable survey methodology to test changes in awareness and purchase intent over time.
The approach above yielded the following results:
Improved Purchase Consideration: Overall electric vehicle purchase interest grew by 10% following the full marketing campaign cycle. Further, there were notable improvements in perceptions of key electric vehicle traits, a major focus of the campaign.
Customer Targeting & Campaign Positioning: Clear customer targets as well as concrete brand positioning and tenants were fully flushed out, giving the team foundational strategy elements they could leverage for years after the initial launch.
Recurring Measurability The team was also left with a simple, replicable approach for measuring the impact of any and all future campaign activities.