Electric Vehicles Are the Future. Is Your Advertising?
Join DRTV Expert, Ken Kerry and Electric Vehicle and Marketing Guru Tony Besasie as they discuss marketing opportunities in the Electric Vehicle industry.
The world is on the edge of a major shift in transportation not seen since the internal combustion engine overtook the horse. Electric vehicles (EV) are on the verge of becoming the dominant force in getting from Point A to Point B. They are the future of the transportation industry.
The question is, are EV companies’ marketing as ready for the future as their vehicles?
That was the question being asked on Thursday, March 25, 2021, in the latest edition of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) marketing agency Script to Screen’s #ThoughtLeaderThursday webinar series. The show, titled “Electric Vehicles Are the Future. Is Your Advertising?”, was a deep dive into marketing strategies that could be used to better educate former internal combustion engine customers on the benefits of the electric vehicle, as well as get them into a showroom.
The show, hosted by Script to Screen Co-Founder Ken Kerry, featured EV and marketing expert Tony Besasie as its special guest commentator. Tony is a brand strategist and marketing consultant covering a diverse scope of industry sectors and commercial channels. Most recently, Tony was CMO of REV Group, where he oversaw marketing for the company’s portfolio of specialty vehicle brands in the fire and emergency, public transportation, and outdoor recreation segments.
Prior to REV Group, Tony was president of Cannella Media, a Direct Response media company providing performance-based media services to Direct-to-Consumer marketers. Before Cannella, Tony held executive management positions at Omnicom’s experiential branding agency GMR Marketing and at integrated marketing agency Momentum Worldwide, a subsidiary of Interpublic Group. Tony’s background also includes more than a decade in the beer business at Miller Brewing Company where he held various sales and marketing management positions including brand director of the company’s flagship brand, Miller Lite.
The primary focus of Ken and Tony’s discussion was how EV manufacturers could use the Direct-to-Consumer strategy to sell their vehicles. Many of the companies, like EV space leader Tesla, already employ pieces of the DTC model, cutting out middlemen by selling directly to customers, instead of using the dealer system. The DTC model goes deeper than that though.
DTC as a marketing strategy, means having your marketing available to your potential customers on every platform they might be. This allows you to tell a unified message wherever your customers are. On television, that marketing takes the form of longer commercials targeted directly at times and shows where your most likely potential consumer is watching.
The longer length allows a company to provide more information, creating a better tool for educating about the qualities of a product, instead of just branding. It also creates a better tool for giving a call to action (CTA), driving customers into a showroom. This form of advertising has gone by many names: Direct Response, Performance Media, and somewhat notoriously, the infomercial. While the word infomercial has historically been associated with inexpensive consumer goods, today’s modern-day version is being used by well-known premium brands as a powerful sales tool with the metrics behind it to show that it works.
According to Tony, the biggest pain point keeping the CMOs of EV companies up at night is brand choice – how can their company become the brand of choice? There are already a variety of independent EV companies trying to sell vehicles, in addition to the legacy car manufacturers trying to get into EV. That’s not even counting the branding leader in the space, Tesla.
“Tesla has built a community around their vehicles,” Tony explained. “There are some cracks in the veneer around Tesla too. There’s a bit of hubris that comes along with Tesla. So some people don’t want to participate in that community and I think that’s an opportunity for other brands to step in. “
He further explained how education is going to be key in both showing the differences between other EV manufacturers, as well as building communities for these other brands. “You need to get these vehicles in the hands of consumers, they need to see them, feel them, touch them, drive them, experience them and then advocate for them. “
While the traditional 30 second advertising spot still has a role, it isn’t enough to overcome customer reluctance and hesitation in the EV market, according to Tony. There are too many questions that customers have about EV companies and vehicles in general to be able to successfully make buyers feel confidence and emotion towards a specific brand.
“The funnel hasn’t changed in marketing,” he said. “You still need to generate that awareness. That 30 second (commercial) plays a role. But it can’t just be a 30 second spot. That’s going to drive brand awareness; that’s going to drive interest, but we need to push those individuals… all the way down the funnel to a transaction or a purchase.“
This is especially true for EV companies presenting a completely different model. A great example of this is Canoo. Canoo doesn’t sell vehicles – they sell subscriptions that gives customers access to Canoo vehicles. This is a revolutionary model and could potentially be a great business, assuming it can be explained properly to customers.
Our Next Webinar
Please join us for our next #ThoughtLeaderThursday webinar on April 22, 2021 at 2:00 PM ET/11:00 AM PT. We will be talking about opportunities in the housewares market in DTC and how to leverage legacy brands in launching new products. We will be talking to Cleva North America Vice President of Marketing/Product Development Dan Bilger. Cleva is the company that recently found great success using the venerable Kenmore brand name to launch a new line of bagged vacuum cleaners. We hope to see you there.
1:00 The state of marketing in EV
4:50 Interview begins
6:20 What is keeping EV CMOs up at night?
8:30 Tesla, community and opportunities
9:30 How do you adapt the combustion engine customer to electrical and build consumer confidence?
13:13 How can a DTC model help companies educate customers?
21:50 Lucid Air
23:15 How do you get customers in the door?
28:50 How do you build your customer communities?
34:00 What are the disadvantageous an EV company has in marketing?
41:00 It all starts with educating the consumer
Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director of Script to Screen
Ken Kerry serves as an Executive Producer and Executive Creative Director at Script to Screen, and his hands-on involvement ensures the highest production values are combined with solid direct response principals. Script to Screen is one of the nation’s leading direct response television companies, producing more than 600 infomercials and DRTV spots, generating more than $6 billion in sales for its clients, and winning numerous awards for excellence.
Tony Besasie is a brand strategist and marketing consultant covering a diverse scope of industry sectors and commercial channels. Most recently, Tony was CMO of REV Group, where he oversaw marketing for the company’s portfolio of specialty vehicle brands in the fire and emergency, public transportation, and outdoor recreation segments. Prior to REV Group, Tony was president of Cannella Media, a direct response media company providing performance-based media services to direct-to-consumer marketers. Before Cannella, Tony held executive management positions at Omnicom’s experiential branding agency GMR Marketing and at integrated marketing agency Momentum Worldwide, a subsidiary of Interpublic Group. Tony’s background also includes more than a decade in the beer business at Miller Brewing Company where he held various sales and marketing management positions including brand director of the company’s flagship brand, Miller Lite.