Mini marketing chief shares the thinking behind its Connected efforts

National marketing manager talks to CMO about the reasons behind the car company's latest brand campaign and how it's working to better engage and educate customers

Mini's latest OOH campaign
Mini's latest OOH campaign

Mini Australia’s latest advertising campaign to showcase its new Connected intelligence services and apps is part of a wider lifecycle-oriented approach to educating and engaging customers with the brand, its national marketing manager says.

The fresh campaign, which kicked off in July, sees Mini using out-of-home creative that taps into a combination of geographic and contextual data sets in order to deliver dynamically targeted content to Australian consumers. The integrated marketing media effort centres around the key benefits of Mini’s new Connected technology.

“While we’re an iconic looking vehicle, the design doesn’t change all that much, but the capabilities of the car do,” Mini Australia national marketing manager, Alex McLean, told CMO. “Rather than a traditional product launch, we looked at the key USP, which is Mini Connected. We’re the first car producer to bring this technology into this segment.

“It’s easy to understand once you know about it. The challenge for us is to educate greater consumers about the technology and how it benefits them.”  

What’s more, McLean said the marketing team is constantly working to tackle public perception the Mini brand is sub-premium in terms of features and innovation.

“We’re BMW but with a different logo - we have the German technology and engineering, with a fine British brand. So we have to tackle those perceptions and educate people about the quality of the product,” he said.  

At the same time, it’s important to differentiate Mini Connected from BMW’s ConnectedDrive, a similar technology launched in Australia in early 2017. “We learnt from these projects, particularly on the retail side, and knew we had to make it as simple as we could,” McLean said.  

The marketing team’s efforts are focusing on three areas of Mini Connected: In-car, in-app, and third-party technology. From there, McLean said creative and content focused on three capabilities: Real-time traffic, car to app integration, and concierge services, which allow users to connect directly to concierge services to book flights, hotels and more.

Data insights

Using geolocation and contextual data as part of the campaign is just one way Mini is striving to tap data and consumer insight to inform its marketing activities. Across digital media, Mini is also using Google Affinity audiences and its own database to test creative and optimise campaigns. One way creative is being tailored is via the visual material used, such as showing a family versus a couple.

“Over the last 3-5 years, there has been significant change in how we better use our first-party data to have more tailored messaging,” McLean commented. “We’ve worked well as a group with BMW and our CRM colleagues to review the technology stack, look at what to introduce to get better targeted digital inventory, and get to a single view of customer.

“Every brand is talking about the DSP challenge. We’re also looking at a customer data platform, plus how we better visualise data to use it in a more targeted way.”

The emphasis on how features benefit customers is also a change in tack from the traditional product launch-focused media approach automotive manufacturers have taken historically.

“Previously, we’ve focused on the new launch of a car product model. But people don’t buy cars just when they are launched. We wanted to focus on the USP and features of the car more so than the car itself,” McLean said.

Over the last three years, he pointed out the path to purchase for vehicles has dropped from six months to under three months.

“That’s a short period of time to catch lightning,” McLean commented. “That means we need consumers to be educated even when they are not currently in market. That’s a key focus with the out-of-home and digital campaign.”

These broad segments of in-market and not in-market require distinct media and marketing approaches, he said. “If you’re not in market, I need to distract you in a positive way to grab attention. So we’re producing content to cultivate partnership and association,” McLean said.

As an example, he pointed to Mini’s partnership with Movember, and also noted investments into content across social media channels.

Customers as advocates

With its Connected marketing strategy, meanwhile, McLean explained Mini is working to service three target customer segments: Those not yet in market and prospective audiences; its own dealer network; and new vehicle owners.

The latter is about ensuring new car owners understand the latest technology, download the app and use it. More broadly, Mini has a wider three-year lifecycle approach to new owner engagement. Initiatives have included giving customers the ability to custom design driving gloves and badges for the front of their vehicles, to serving content specifically around features and functionality within their new car.

“Eighty per cent of owners don’t know 80 per cent of what their car can do. With all cars and vehicles, Connected give us an ability to share and talk about our brand,” McLean added. “New owners are our best advocates.”   

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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