Volvo Canada

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Volvo Cars Of Canada; Marketing Initiatives/Efforts

Volvo Car Canada's recent advertising campaigns with LinkedIn and Extraordinary Man highlight the auto retailer's efforts to create brand awareness and generate new leads by targeting specific customer groups through the strategic deployment of marketing messages.

Targeted Advertising through LinkedIn

  • As early as 2018, Volvo Car Canada partnered with LinkedIn to launch a targeted advertising campaign through the social media site's variety of marketing tools, including Video Ads, Sponsored Content, and Carousel Ads.
  • Specifically, Volvo Car Canada worked with LinkedIn to deliver ads to potentially desirable customers, who Volvo and the social media site identified through geography and career attributes, such as job seniority.
  • Notably, the primary objective for the advertising campaign was to create engagement and awareness around the brand, as well as to drive onsite lead conversion in certain cases.
  • In particular, Volvo Car Canada relied heavily on the circulation of positive articles from third-parties, which helped validate Volvo's features, technology and design.
  • Additionally, the advertising campaign emphasized the use of LinkedIn's Carousel Ads, given that this tool allowed Volvo Car Canada to tell a more visual story about its brand.
  • Ultimately, the marketing effort was deemed a success, which delivered on Volvo Car Canada's objectives of creating awareness as well as generating new onsite leads.
  • In particular, Volvo Car Canada asserted that response rates from the campaign were "three times higher" than standard media approaches, in some cases, and that the Carousel Ads achieved a 75% increase in click-through rate versus more traditional static posts.

Partnership with Extraordinary Man

  • This past June of 2019, Volvo Car Canada launched a regional promotion program in partnership with Extraordinary Man, a British Columbia-based subscription box company under parent company Simply Beautiful Box.
  • Notably, the advertising campaign followed Volvo's international launch of its new Care by Volvo car subscription product last year.
  • Specifically, Volvo Car Canada announced a more market-specific promotional effort that would advertise the Care by Volvo product in Canada, first by using the Extraordinary Man sales channel, and second by launching social and influencer promotions in partnership with Simply Beautiful.
  • In particular, Volvo Car Canada looked to use this partnership with Extraordinary Man to target customers who were already participating in subscription-type services, and thereby generate both awareness and leads for the new Care by Volvo subscription product.
  • Additionally, the auto retailer looked to capitalize on the fact that Extraordinary Man is "extremely popular," essentially transferring brand appeal to the Care by Volvo service.
  • However, this marketing campaign has appeared to yield little in terms of concrete or measurable results to date, with only two notable media outlets covering the new product partnership, both via online and social channels.
  • However, a review of Volvo Car Canada's social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as a similar analysis of Simply Beautiful's online presence (e.g., website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) highlights no significant mentions of the new Extraordinary Man partnership with Volvo, and suggests that outcomes from the marketing campaign have yet to benefit from the full suite of planned influencer and social media investments.
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Volvo Cars Of Canada; Marketing Channels

Volvo Canada eschewed traditional marketing channels in favor of digital and experiential marketing. In its digital marketing campaigns, Volvo Canada prefers to showcase the driving experience and to provoke the audience's emotions through story-telling. Below is an overview of our findings.

Core Marketing Channels

  • According to the Managing Director of Volvo Canada, the company is one of the smallest players in the luxury automotive market and, therefore, its marketing budget is comparably smaller than its competitors'. This makes it necessary for Volvo Canada's marketing efforts to be more targeted.
  • In the few years before 2018, Volvo Canada shifted from traditional marketing channels (because results cannot be easily measured) and, instead, focused more on digital and experiential marketing.
  • Since 2017, Volvo Canada's digital marketing has consumed over 60% of its media budget.

I. Digital Channels

  • When it comes to digital/online content, Volvo Canada chooses to showcase "the experience of driving a Volvo rather than the specific features the cars contain." One example is this video promoting the Volvo S60.
  • Volvo also uses story-telling to provoke the audience's emotional reaction, which in turn drives discussion.
  • One such example of story-telling content is a video ad titled "Moments" that the company shared on YouTube to launch the Volvo XC60 in 2017.
  • Additionally, Volvo Canada uses social/professional platforms such as LinkedIn for marketing. According to a LinkedIn case study, Volvo used multiple digital advertisement models including carousel ads, video ads, and sponsored content to drive conversation and awareness on the platform. In this particular marketing effort, Volvo Canada relied mostly on carousel ads to "communicate their brand story."

II. Experiential Marketing

  • When it comes experiential marketing, Volvo Canada focuses more on out-of-home marketing efforts. In 2016, Volvo Canada became the first company to install a "promotional wrap on one of the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC’s)" streetcars. The almost 30-m (100-ft) long wrap was used to advertise the Volvo XC90.
  • The Volvo dealership in New Brunswick uses a pop-up store to move around and market its products in sparsely-populated rural areas.

Additional Marketing Insights

  • Volvo Canada markets its offerings through strategic and targeted partnerships. A notable example is Volvo Canada's recent partnership with Extraordinary Man, a direct-to-consumer subscription service that offers premium men's products.
  • Volvo Canada is use the subscription service to promote "Care by Volvo," a newly-launched car rental service. Volvo targets Extraordinary Man's customers through Volvo-branded packages.
  • According to the Sales and Marketing Director at Volvo Canada, "this partnership allows Volvo Canada to target customers who are already inclined and interested in subscription-type services and present them with a subscription-based car service."