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The AM Award for Marketing

##marketing--right## The brief was simple: establish a new brand in car retailing that can successfully sell more than 6,000 cars per site per year. The company was The Car People – a self-confessed challenger brand looking to stand out against the dealer norm. By creating a memorable strap line and a television ad campaign, the company began to build its brand. It was a success. Sales rose 37% while profits were up 228% while marketing spend remained on target.

Before undertaking any creative work, the company embarked on an extensive research project to find out who its customers really were identifying potential hot spots, traffic by drive time, age, gender and even what newspaper they read. Armed with this information the group was able to create a holistic advertising campaign a range of different outlets.

First on the 'to do' list was creating a strap line that could sign off all the marketing activity and pull the campaign together. The company needed to sum up that buying from the Car People was straightforward and took place in a no-pressure sales environment.

The slogan “The hassle free way to buy a car” was born. Confident that television was the best medium to get its message across to its target audience in the Yorkshire area, The Car People enlisted the help of Mike Brewer, a recognised motoring presenter, to help deliver its core objectives and communicate brand values in a unique and light-hearted way that helped set the company apart from its rivals.

To support the television advert, the company created a 'Velcro' campaign that, over the year, used different methods of communications to talk to drivers. Working on several different levels, the group created awareness, understanding and association between brand and customer designed to induce a response and create a sale.

Radio, posters, advertorials, inserts, door drops and taxi brandings were all used to great effect to emphasise the company's wide range of new, nearly new and used cars. As well as traditional methods of advertising, the firm also integrated its e-commerce and marketing strategies so stock lists on the company's website were updated in real time.

To maximise the effect of such an extensive campaign, the company implemented a range of strict systems and procedures that allows it to track customer flow and media coverage. It has also undertaken telephone questionnaires and exit polls to track customer response. Last year's campaign will now form the blueprint for all future marketing activity as it gears up for the launch of its second site later this year.

The Car People has understood the real purpose behind marketing – it's not just about advertising. The company analyses its franchised dealer competitors, it has studied the demographics and lifestyle of its local customer base and it sets aside a large slice of revenue for marketing. Branding, advertising, the internet and direct mail all play a part in its marketing mix, which is designed to appeal as much to women as men.

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