Awards case study: How Zipcar for Business generated nearly £1 million in pipeline revenue

Really B2B gave Zipcar something to sing about with its campaign, highlighting the benefits of the car sharing company's corporate arm and delivering £960,000 in pipeline revenue. Here’s how

Summary

Zipcar for Business (Z4B) is the corporate arm of Zipcar, the world’s largest car network club. In 2016, after two years of rapid growth in the SME private sector, Z4B launched into the public sector to maintain and boost revenue as the business moved forward.

Working with Really B2B, it used insight on public sector challenges and the mood created by the current financial climate to devise a campaign that both conveyed a clear message and created an emotional connection.

Playing on the Zipcar brand and a famous phrase, the Zip-a-dee-doo-car campaign was born and used as the theme for an integrated approach. It was designed to surprise and delight local and central government prospects and the team around them.

Direct mail was used to achieve impact and take potential customers on a journey, which featured a clear call to action and left them with a smile.

Content themes were informed by the same persona insight and based around the environment of austerity, with one budget-related piece achieving a 30% download rate. To date, the campaign has generated 127 marketing-qualified leads, 55 sales-qualified leads and revenue of £360,000 – a 656% ROI. Z4B are now extending this campaign into public sector healthcare and education.

About

Zipcar for Business is the corporate arm of Zipcar, the world’s largest car network club and leader for cars on demand. Their solution isn’t just about fewer cars, it means less congestion and pollution, making it ideal for any business concerned with sustainability and social responsibility.

Operating across a variety of UK cities, Z4B UK offers members access to a vehicle whenever they need it, from a convenient location within their area.

Zipcar provides all the benefits of car ownership without any of the hassle. Members get access to a perfectly maintained car 24/7 by booking through the app and collecting it from their nearest location – no keys are required and no form filling, clients simply use their membership card to access the vehicle they’ve chosen and drive away. Zipcar’s ethos is all about freedom – giving customers the chance to travel where they want, when they want, without restriction.

All fuel costs, congestion charges and mileage are included in the membership price. Clients save time by avoiding public transport, delays and queues, and save money on travel costs.

Objectives of the campaign

Generate sales-qualified opportunities with public sector organisations – specifically focusing on central and local government.

  1. Combine government public sector data and fleet size information with FOI requests to build a qualified database for the campaign.
  2. Segment and understand the public sector decision-making unit in order to differentiate approach, resonate and create a campaign with impact.
  3. Build insight into public sector organisations, identifying where there is a strong fit to achieve quick wins and refine the campaign for maximum future success.

The target audience

Local and central government within a 60-mile radius of Zipcar’s head office. This targeted approach would allow the sales team to best service opportunities for maximum engagement and initial conversion.

The DMU

  • Fleet director
  • Transport manager
  • Facilities director
  • Head of finance/finance Director

Media, channels or techniques used

Personas

Unsurprisingly, persona research revealed a culture of dissatisfaction and frustration, which was common across all government organisations. Key themes included:

  • Budget cuts and continually needing to do more for less
  • Roles not being refilled when individuals moved on, workloads increasing without reward
  • Lack of control and a limited opportunity to innovate

One thing became very clear, teams were united in their feelings and across the board negative attitudes were compounding to create more negativity within the organisation.

Campaign theme

The good news was that Zipcar’s offering was a perfect fit for the climate, an easy-to-implement solution, which clearly saved money against existing rental programmes due to its flexibility.

The team decided straight away they wanted to convey the message in a unique way that injected a little more joy into the often sober government environment and the usual campaign messages these prospects received. Under no illusions this approach would provide little more than momentary light-heartedness and relief, Z4B nevertheless wanted to create an emotional impact.

Zip-a-dee-doo-car

Really B2B’s creative team took time to put themselves into the mindset of the public sector DMU and decided that “feeling wonderful” when Z4B communicated with them should be a major objective. It wasn’t long before they realised the Zipcar brand tied in perfectly with a well-known song (‘Zip a dee doo dah’) and this became the theme for the campaign.

Direct mail

To kick off the campaign with impact, direct mail was used to target key decision-makers across the council databases.

Step one

Really B2B copywriters created a unique poem, which integrated the key benefits of using Z4B with the song ‘Zip a dee doo dah’ and had recipients whistling a happy famous tune in their head. Many prospects cited in follow up communications that it stayed in their head all day!

The concertina format allowed Zipcar to reinforce each of the key USPs of using Z4B and conveyed the travel theme by showing the journey towards switching to Z4B and the happiness it would bring to their days.

Step two

Tying in with the travel theme – branded travel sweets were sent a week later as a follow-up and to represent a sweeter journey when moving to Z4B.

The idea that they could be shared team-wide was also important, spreading the happiness beyond the recipient.

Step three

A week later, a box of branded biscuits was sent to prospects to represent the idea of relaxing with a cup of tea and a biscuit once the switch to Z4B was complete. Again, the notion of sharing with the team was important in creating a bit of internal buzz and joy office-wide.

Campaign landing page

The call to action across each direct mail piece was to drive prospects to a personalised landing page where they would be able to set up a free trial. Prospects who requested the free trial were sent a personalised branded key as confirmation.

Content

Campaign content was focused around making the most of budgets, with a tipsheet called '15 tips for getting the most from your budget' generating a 30% click-through rate.

Top of the funnel content was developed to hone in on these themes and as prospects downloaded more, middle of the funnel content related to savings around travel. Bottom of the funnel content focused on bringing the proposition and statement to life through council case studies.

Highly segmented plain text email

To ensure push was combined with pull, highly personalised plain text email segmented by council type and decision-maker was used to follow up the campaign and generate further opportunities.

Telemarketing

Telemarketing was used to tip marketing-qualified leads over to sales-qualified leads and qualify prospects according to Z4B's BANT criteria.

Timescales of the campaign 

The campaign has been running since November 2016 and is now an ongoing part of the Z4B strategy with extensions into education and healthcare now planned.

Results

There were 98 marketing-qualified leads from content, 29 hot inbound leads and 55 sales-qualified leads.

£360,000 sales revenue and £960,000 pipeline revenue.

“Really B2B have again proved that they truly get our business and its unique personality, and found a fun way to connect with a difficult audience whilst still generating response and ROI. We’re really looking forward to seeing what phase two will deliver.”

Abi Lavelle , marketing manager, Zipcar for Business

B2B Marketing Awards 2017 – winners

This submission won the award for 'Best lead generation or nurturing campaign' at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017. 'Zip-a-dee-doo-car' for Zipcar for Business by Really B2B.

See the full list of winners

B2B Marketing Awards 2017 – winners