There are many issues that fleet management systems owners and executives are currently pondering. A key one is clearly how to reach SMES who may not have a dedicated person to run their fleet of cars.
Another issue for fleet manager systems managers is around differentiation. In a buoyant and crowded marketplace how is it possible to demonstrate that the service you operate is superior, more efficient and offers better value than your rivals?
How do you create a sustainable and lucrative new business funnel?
For many companies the obvious answer is to invest heavily in Pay Per Click advertising. Choose keywords and let Google do the rest. PPC should almost certainly be a part of any marketing campaign, but it should be a part of the story not the whole story. It is very much a tactical approach rather than a strategic one. Surely the longer term objective is to create organic links that continue to generate new business leads? To position yourself as a key voice on fleet management issues.
This is where media relations come into its own. It can build brand awareness across both wider business press as well as niche media, such as specific channels and regions. It can do a lot of the heavy lifting in generating top of the funnel links as well as helping to develop and sharpen sales narratives.
At CubanEight we recently worked with fleet management company Vimcar. The start-up had been successful in working with SMEs in its home market of Germany and wanted to develop its business in the UK and beyond. The company has an interesting offering with clear USPs, but we realised that they weren’t going to be enough to generate the links and media coverage the company was hoping for.
So we looked across the fleet car management system world and took a deep dive into where Vimcar slotted into that sphere as well as what its rivals were doing well, and indeed badly. We then created a media campaign for Vimcar which has yielded very impressive results and moved the dial for the business in the UK.
Here’s what we learned.
1 You need to position yourself as a trusted partner of your customers: It might sound obvious, but it is hugely powerful to be able to illustrate that you not only understand your customers’ pain points around fleet management, but also are aware of some of the other challenges they face. Vimcar focuses on SMEs, so we positioned the company as a friend to smaller businesses showing that the company understood issues as diverse as recruitment, budgeting and training.
We produced byline thought leadership comment and developed a clear voice on the issues that have generated leads in niches that general marketing strategies as well as PPC advertising would not have been able to.
We also undertook research looking at how ecommerce SMEs were dealing with the surge in demand caused by the pandemic, which generated a lot of interest in both trade and business media.
2 Data is key: Journalists have an insatiable appetite for data. They love numbers which illustrate trends and changes in business practice. Most fleet management system companies are generating a lot of data. We encouraged Vimcar to harness that data to work with us to create compelling stories that both mainstream and channel media loved. For example we were able to track the impact of Covid 19 on issues like fleet usage and cost management and turned them into stories that were picked up by trade and business media including Retail Systems, Business Motoring, Construction Industry News and Fleet News. We were also able to respond to journalists’ requests for information by delivering compelling data to back up opinion-led stories. Data was the key to unlocking several important media opportunities.
3 Think big: It is easy to think that as a small or medium sized business you don’t have much to say about the big issues of the day like the economy, Brexit, diversity or the pandemic. The media are however always looking for interesting stories from smaller companies on how the key issues of the day are impacting them. It is a matter of being able to monitor for the opportunities and then having the right assets to send to the media at the appropriate time. It does wonders for a company’s brand awareness if they are able to comment on an issue in a major media brand like the BBC or the FT – we achieved both for Vimcar.
Ultimately CubanEight sees media relations as an integral part of a company’s standard marketing practices. It doesn’t necessarily replace PPC advertising, but it can work in tandem with it as part of a holistic approach. Data and stories can also provide key content for social media channels, company email newsletters, and other marketing activities helping to maintain a strong bond between the company and its audiences.
If you want to know more about our approach at CubanEight and how we created a successful campaign for Vimcar, and indeed our other clients, do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org