Agile Marketing In The Automotive Aftermarket
There are a ton of great use cases for agile marketing campaigns in the automotive aftermarket. Earlier this year our product development team identified cabin air filters as a critical product category for IPC’s business growth. This is a product type that had really been underachieving in the aftermarket and we saw a huge opportunity for growth.
Being a very high-value project that needed to address multiple audiences across different channels, we felt that this was a good opportunity to implement an agile approach. Going agile would give us the ability to align all team members with leadership and set clear expectations. With that, we were able to get moving quickly, make changes on the fly, and communicate effectively.
Assemble the Team
The first thing we had to do was assemble a war room team.We ended up with a relatively small team consisting of Marketing Communications Manager, VP of Sales and Ops, Product Manager, Product Engineer, and Designer. In our case, it made the most sense to go heavier on project management and user experience design than analytics because we needed to run multiple optimization tests of smaller conversion rates. With insights from various industry data sources, we were able to quickly analyze data and identify opportunities where our efforts would have a significant impact. What followed was 4 weeks of daily virtual meetings via Slack where we identified pain points, issues with design/development, and opportunities with specific distribution channels. With the constant reporting, we were able to make all team members accountable for the tasks they were assigned.
One of our goals with this project was to improve the experience and performance of our installer customers in selling and marketing cabin air filters. We had the benefit of the season and an ideal release schedule on our side, but we still needed to design and prioritize ways to accomplish this goal. In the end, we had to choose a method that maximized sales with fairly easy implementation and minimal financial impact on the business.
We started with a few email announcements via our weekly newsletter, adjusted for certain audiences depending on which mailing list we addressed. Customers typically see much different content compared with prospects, website sign-ups, sales reps, or influencers. These announcements and the opportunity to change content from one mailing to the next offered a good opportunity to see which had the most significant impact.
In order to be successful in this phase of the sprint, we had to make sure we had very effective UTM’s (unique tracking mechanisms) in place. With the UTM’s I created in Airtable, we were able to run quick reports on specific performance tests. We would then go over findings during our morning shootaround and decide how scalable our most promising results were. From there we consolidated the best ideas and killed off those that weren’t performing as well.
Debriefing of each sprint would happen during our weekly CSC meetings and Monthly marketing reports with senior management. This gave management an opportunity to comment and help prioritize based on opportunities for the next sprint.
Product development had already highlighted cabin air filters as being vital to business growth for our company, but it wasn’t until we reached this point that we had built up enough credibility to begin the process of scaling the campaign throughout the entire business. After defining KPIs, testing, and iterating, it was finally time to scale throughout the entire organization. This meant moving production down to our warehouse, streamlining assembly, sourcing materials for long term/low-cost investment, and integrating with our other business functions.
What we went through was an amazing learning experience that I was able to document and will try to reproduce for other campaigns we have planned for the coming year. We have 7 product categories and a seasonal release schedule that is very favorable for us — so I’m really looking forward to it!