Audi, owned by Volkswagen Group, has conquered marketing effectiveness as proven by their latest campaigns, like the Clowns spot. But this luxury car brand wasn’t always the marketing powerhouse it is now. Audi dove head first into creative strategies, understanding that within creative messaging lies consumer engagement, brand awareness and success.
Emphasizing Creative Messaging For Targeted Success
Before airing ads, Audi tests them to see how effective their messaging is. Marketing Week reported the brand “has found that when an ad has real cut-through, it is three times more efficient at driving orders.” To test how successful marketing initiatives will be, Audi enlisted the help of econometrics and measurement platform Neustar MarketShare in 2016.
Econometrics also allow Audi to model how much the brand needs to spend on marketing to achieve sales goals, like their ideal number of car sales, for example. Their marketing strategy focuses on creating something “truly unique,” National Brand and Retail Marketing Lead at Audi Anna Russell said. “Whatever the business case may be, there’s our product planning team and our sales team, but we then model what media spend we should do and what we need to do from a creative point of view.”
Russell also noted that econometrics is almost unbelievably accurate. After Audi’s second volume sales increase, thanks to the help of econometrics in 2017, econometrics accurately estimated car sales volume sales to within 32 cars.
While econometrics is eerily exact, Russell knows the brand can’t solely rely on this method. “The whole thing with modelling is it’s retrospective, it’s only built on the data you have. If you’re going to be creative and cutting edge, by definition you have to do something new,” Russell said. She continued, “One of [our mantras] is ‘dare to be different’ and cut across the category.” In other words, the brand avoids clichés and focuses on innovation.
Competing In The U.S. Luxury Car Market
With their creative and expertly targeted marketing strategies, thanks to econometrics, Audi has managed to boost purchase consideration among U.S. drivers last year, a win not achieved without struggle.
Vice President of Marketing at Audi of America Loren Angelo acknowledged the U.S. car competition’s aggression and said, “We're outspent two to one by Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in the marketplace. For us to stand out, as a brand, we have to make sure that every marketing dollar that we put in is delivering a three-to-one return … [competitors] get two to three more chances to hit the consumer than we do.”
Angelo credits Audi’s marketing messaging and econometrics for reaching and engaging prospective consumers. He said marketing about Audi’s engineering, for example, wouldn’t get the brand anywhere “because everybody's got their new piece of technology.” However, using invested stories to portray how Audi is different from other luxury car retailers piqued consumer interest.
Audi Sweats The Small Stuff
Last year, after implementing an underperforming campaign, Audi developed a new framework, which was tested on the Black Edition econometrics model. The campaign resulted in a 136% increase in consumers using Audi’s car configuration tool, which allows consumers to build their own Audis, complete with custom features and powertrains. As a result, Audi’s order bank doubled.
Russell said, “Even for the lower funnel stuff [like encouraging use of the car configuration], treat it the same as the brand work. It’s still Audi; just because you’re lower in the funnel, it still should be a good brand experience.”
While this Volkswagen brand didn’t start out as a high-performing luxury car marketer, Audi has worked its way to the top of consumers’ minds with distinctly creative strategies powered by econometrics.
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