#MarketingEventsAwards 2020 highlight: How Quill Automobiles drove sales through gratitude

Taking home the silver award for the category of "Best Use of Multi-Channel Marketing" for MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Marketing Events Awards 2020 is Quill Automobiles. Established in 2008, Quill Automobiles is a BMW dealership located in Petaling Jaya that takes pride in placing its customers' experience as top priority. Besides selling automobiles, the company also boasts features such as its online platform where it dishes tips and deals, a financing platform that enhances customer’s experience by allowing the flexibility to apply and get a pre-approval for loans via a seamless process, as well as a live chat box to answer customers' questions.

It is then no wonder Quill Automobile placed its customers at the centre of its award-winning campaign. Tapping on the expertise of marketing agency Be Strategic, Quill Automobile managed to engage with its past and present customers while promoting its products. Here's a deeper look at how it did so. 

Challenge

After 10 years of operations, Quill Automobiles refurbished its showroom to a more contemporary and luxurious interior design. Competitor dealerships Auto Bavaria and Ingress Auto had been gaining traction in recent times, due to active marketing campaigns, as well as availability of multiple outlets in different regions. Quill Automobiles’ investment into the showroom refurbishment meant that it had a competitive advantage of a newly-renovated space to display its cars and consequently uplifting the customer experience.

The challenge to stand out from its competitors was then to leverage the newly-refurbished showroom and car launches to create a once-in-a-lifetime rewarding experience for customers. Thus, Quill Automobiles and its agency, Be Strategic, set out to reinvigorate customer interest while generating sales for a year-end push, centered around a showroom launch.

Strategy

The objectives were to increase sales, customer loyalty, improve brand image. Placing its customers first, Quill Automobiles had an overarching direction of thanking its customers for 10 years of patronage. It then decided to do so by throwing a huge party to thank customers for their support while giving attendees a tour of the showroom.

The company adopted a three-pronged approach that was not sales-driven, but provided an unforgettable experience for its customers:

  1. Expressing gratitude - give thanks to customers by organising an appreciation night, with food & beverages, games, and live performances.

  2. Launch of cars - simultaneously hold the launch of two new cars in the luxury segment, giving customers and media an upclose and personal look at the BMW 7 Series and the first-ever BMW X7.

  3. Win a free car - Quill Automobiles surprised its guests by announcing that all attendees are in the running to win a new BMW Z4 sDrive30i M Sport.

Quill Automobiles decided to transform its showroom into a luxurious yet fun location for the event, carefully utilising each section of the showroom to reflect its intended use during regular business-hours. Each section of the showroom was divided to create different moods. For its entrance, a red-carpet experience was set up with photographers to mimic a Hollywood-style celebrity arrival. Meanwhile, the main showroom area was transformed into the main stage area, with cocktail- styled seating all focused to the main stage where the attendees were treated to live performances. The luxury car area was converted into a gratitude zone where Quill Automobiles used to entertain guests with exhibits, games, and a themed bar.

Execution

Quill Automobiles adopted a multi-channel strategy to hype up the event. It held a series of on-ground events to support the initiative, ranging from shopping mall roadshow activations to showroom support events. For its digital campaign, the company created a campaign microsite to support the event, while employing an SEO/SEM campaign to drive traffic. Traffic drivers were from Google search engine, as well as a Facebook and Instagram ads campaign. Key messaging for both on-ground and digital activations was the opportunity to win a BMW Z4, which overshadowed any other campaign held by competitor dealerships.

The event, titled “X Marks the Future”, was based on three key items: gratitude to customers, launch of cars, and the free car giveaway. To achieve the three individual elements, the showroom was split into three areas:

  1. Main stage

Besides being the venue for the car launches and live performance, the stage saw a drop-curtain system used for the grand reveal of the BMW 7 Series and the BMW X7.

quill automobiles mevents 6

  1. Gratitude Zone

This is the section where the company showed its gratitude by recognising every single customer from its 10-year history. It erected a 24-foot long gratitude wall featuring 5,044 individual customer names designed into a collage that spells out the words “Thank you”. Additionally, it created a video package featuring all Quill Automobiles staff thanking customers; from its tea lady, all the way up to its dealer principal.

quill automobiles mevents 2

quill automobiles mevents 1

Quill Automobiles also partnered scotch whisky brand Dewar’s to create a unique ambience to compliment the Gratitude Zone. Games such as golf putting, an arcade console, and carnival games were set up by the premium whisky bar. To compliment the showroom set up, this area was situated next to the premium car section, an exclusive section of the showroom that houses luxury cars such as the BMW 7 series, and 8 series.

quill automobiles mevents 2

quill automobiles mevents 2

  1. Dining Area

Food and beverages was located at the showroom café. The company dedicated most of the showroom area to be the main dining area, with cocktail tables and chairs arranged to have a full view of the showroom. Guests had a 360-degree view of the newly-renovated showroom, and were seated where the cars would be displayed during regular business hours. Entertainment was provided through a tarot reading booth by Sarah May Low, and roving close-up magicians.

quill automobiles mevents 2

Result

The event saw the participation of over 300 guests in attendance, as well as more than 10 media outlets and influencers. Quill Automobiles also managed to sell three premium cars and recovered its targeted ROI on the event night.

Additionally, the event garnered 36 features on media with a total PR value of RM 664,923. On the digital front, Quill Automobiles had a social reach of 7.5 million. It also saw 29 lead generation from its website promotion page, which had 100% conversation rate. This amounted to RM 8.7 million in sales. In the next eight months, Quill Automobiles sold 525 cars as a direct result of the event and subsequent campaign.

Overall, the event achieved its target of introducing the showroom to customers, launching (and selling) new cars, renewing relationship a decade old, and positioning the Quill Automobiles brand as a leading player for BMW distribution.