Awards case study: Citroën secures 61 landing page visits and £14.6m sales pipeline with targeted campaign

Citroën Contract Motoring is a specialist in business vehicle funding, providing Citroën vehicles to businesses of all sizes. CCM had identified that van sales were not increasing at the same rate as they had been in previous years, the marketplace was becoming very commoditised with the competition all doing the same thing to target fleet directors who were weary of relentless sales calls. Citroën Contract Motoring wanted to find a way to get fleet directors managing Van fleets of 100+ to sit up and pay attention to Citroën as an option.

They needed to find a high impact way to do this and one which got the message across as well as offering something interesting and useful to its audience.

Using insight from persona research, Really B2B devised the 'Standard' integrated campaign. It provided fleet directors with valuable insight on their drivers’ wants and needs, something they had cited as a key challenge and educated them as to why Citroën would help them deliver these while meeting business needs. Importantly it did this in a high impact format which cut through the constant noise they were used to hearing. From a starting database of 514, Really B2B established 102 businesses who were coming out of contract imminently. To date the campaign has delivered 28 BANT qualified sales appointments and over £14 million of pipeline.

About 

Citroën Contract Motoring (CCM) is a specialist in business vehicle funding and is the largest fleet operator in Europe. The business serves the full spectrum of business vehicle owners from small owner managed through to large corporates.

Citroën Vans offers an award-winning, competitively priced commercial vehicle. Clients benefit from low fixed costs, tailored maintenance and service plans with and an excellent range of extras as standard.

Strategy

Citroën Van sales were not increasing as they had been in previous years, the fleet marketplace was becoming even more competitive with decision-makers being courted by up to five different suppliers at the time of contract renewal.

Citroën knew its offering was strong both in terms of product and price but were not getting in front of enough of the right people at the right time.

Key issues in relation to this target included:

Apathy to change
Once a fleet director finds a van brand he is happy with there is apathy in relation to change. The process involved in switching is significant and will not be undertaken without consideration.

Existing emotional associations with current van brand
Many decision-makers discount alternative brands based on emotional associations with their current van brand. For example, Ford is seen as the value British brand of choice and Mercedes as the more expensive but luxury choice.

Differentiation in terms of approach
The competitive space for fleet is very focused on using phone only as a primary channel to target fleet directors coming up for imminent renewal. Citroën needed to find a new and highly persuasive way to strike a cord with the fleet director and get him to sit up and pay attention to Citroën as a strong alternative to their current solution.

Objectives

Business objective
Generate BANT-qualified face-to-face appointments with fleet directors of businesses with 100+ vans in their fleet.

Marketing objectives

  • Establish contract renewal dates of the 514 database
  • Segment those businesses with contracts up for renewal within 12 months
  • Create a high-impact, multichannel strategy to convert these prospects to qualified sales opportunity
  • 102 businesses were selected.

Database split

Target audience

The campaign was designed to appeal to fleet directors and managers within large corporates. Persona research carried out in advance of campaign commencement highlighted the following key issues which were used to shape the approach.

Fleet directors

  • The major challenge was aligning business needs with the needs of their 'customers' - the drivers of the vehicle
  • They are mobile – 25% of their time is out of the office so relying on the phone is no longer viable
  • They feel that all the big fleet companies do exactly the same to market them and don’t think about what they might be interested in
  • Fleet directors feel undervalued within their business, with so much focus on saving money they feel limited in terms of what they can do with innovation and developing the businesses fleet.

Media, channels and techniques

Achieving impact by helping prospects overcome a challenge

CCM understood that in order to achieve impact with the fleet director they needed to do something the competition weren’t, be useful and not all about pushing their own agenda.

Thinking about challenges they could help the fleet director solve, CCM picked two:

  1. Bringing them closer to their 'customers', the van drivers. CCM were in the unique position of having over 18k end user van drivers on their database who Really B2B were regularly driving insight from as part of their SME retention strategy. They realised they could leverage this and share it with fleet directors in the form of a research report.
  2. Showing them how they could meet the needs of their drivers effectively while still meeting business objectives. CCM’s retention is high because so much more comes as standard with a Citroën Van. In addition while providing so much more, Citroën Vans typically offer a lower wholelife cost than the major competitors.

The proposition became...

“Here’s what your van drivers want, and here’s how Citroën can deliver it, for less”

The big idea

Standard came about because it summed up the proposition perfectly:

  1. Drivers don’t want to think about what’s included within their vehicle, they just want it to provide all the core benefits they have come to expect. To them all the added value of driving a Citroën van 'goes without saying' or translated into urban slang is 'standard'.
  2. With a Citroën van so much more comes as standard. This conveyed the message of value - that fleet directors could get a better vehicle without the higher price tag.

The process

High impact direct mail
Direct mail was used at campaign commencement to deliver maximum impact with the target audience. Recipients were delivered a box which opened out to reveal a van dashboard and sights and sounds typical to a day in the life of a van driver.

Inside contained:

  • A speaker
  • Air freshener
  • Parking tickets
  • Pencil
  • Citroën pen
  • Car mat
  • Chewing gum
  • Business card
  • £10 Starbucks voucher.

Inside was a nine-panel-reveal direct mail piece which was heavily personalised using variable data; importantly it reminded the prospect when their contract was up for renewal and why they should talk to Citroën now.

Each fold featured another statistic on what van drivers had told CCM was important to them, culminating in a page that showed that Citroën could do all of this as standard and every feature that was included in the Citroën van as standard.

Hooking the prospect with valuable content
The hook within the integrated campaign was a detailed research report taken from the van end user research commissioned by Citroën that prospects would be able to download and read in order to get them better acquainted with van drivers without them having to do the work themselves. This content would be rolled out later in the year to the remainder of the database within the nurture programme but CCM’s hottest 34 prospects would get a sneak preview well in advance.

Driving prospects to take action through campaign microsite
The call to action was to visit the campaign microsite to download the full piece of research and to book a meeting with their named CCM salesperson.

Follow up direct mail
Those who visited the microsite and downloaded without appointing or visited without downloading were sent the next in a series of direct mail designed to drive them back to the microsite. Postcards featuring a new piece of insight as to what was important to van drivers and why Citroën were able to deliver this.

Plain text email
Once the follow up direct mail commenced, industry segmented plain text email was incorporated into the campaign as an additional channel to drive those who had not yet responded to the direct mail.

LinkedIn Inmail
To drive additional response alongside direct mail and email, Really B2B worked with the CCM sales team to assist them in highly tailored, segmented LinkedIn Inmails to all 102 prospects.

Social halo
While the campaign was running, CCM served relevant content to van fleet directors on LinkedIn using sponsored posts and their own company page.

Phone-based follow up
CCM were conscious of letting the campaign roll in its entirety before resorting to picking up the phone; once the integrated process was complete, unconverted leads were followed up.

Timescales

The campaign commenced in October 2015 and is still ongoing.

Results

  • Opportunities from InMails: 10%
  • £14.6m sales pipeline
  • 61 landing page visits
  • 42 content downloads
  • 28 BANT qualified appointments.

"What we loved about the campaign was that we got to do something really creative and different for our prospects but that it still delivered great results in terms of leads and most importantly sales pipeline and revenue. Really B2B set robust KPI’s to make the campaign truly accountable and worked with our sales teams to ensure we got the result we needed." James Birch, head of Citroën Contract Motoring.

B2B Marketing Awards 2016

This case study was submitted as part of the judging process for the B2B Marketing Awards 2016. It won Best corporate decision-maker-targeted campaign: ‘Standard’ for Citroën Contract Motoring by Really B2B.

See the winners