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Target Audience:
Paint Shop and Plant Managers at various automotive manufacturing facilities throughout the US.

Description of Product Advertised:
Advanced software and hardware system for monitoring and analyzing paint shop operations, inventory, emissions, etc. Depending on the options purchased, an initial sale may exceed $100,000, and is followed by on-going maintenance and updating fees.

Single Most Important Marketing Communication Objective:
To make the automotive painting industry aware of this new product, and to plant the seed that it is going to change the industry and will be required to stay competitive.

Background:
This software and hardware system represents a totally new concept for the automotive painting industry, and requires a lot of education to thoroughly grasp what it does, how it works, and how it affects paint shop operations.

Approach:
To get this educational message delivered to the industry in a credible form, we knew we needed the assistance of the main industry publication. But to get them interested, they had to be educated as well. With that in mind, and while the software was being developed, we worked on the publication's editors for approx 18 months through continual updates on the product's development process, how the beta tests were coming along, early successes we were experiencing, etc. Then, as we got closer to the product's release, we invited the publication to visit us and learn more about it first hand (which they did). Then, since they still lacked the full understanding to write a good article on the subject, we wrote it for them, provided the photographs, included a sidebar story explaining the bigger concept, etc. It was a long, labor-intensive process, but the results were worth it.

Results:
We received the cover and feature article position in the automotive industry issue of Industrial Paint and Powder. This is the primary publication for reaching the automotive painting market, and being on the cover of the automotive issue, their most important issue of the year, was the ultimate success we had hoped for. In addition to the cover, and a big mention on the table of contents page, the article and side bar story covered 5 full pages in this important issue. Industrial Paint and Powder has a qualified circulation of over 36,000. 77% (over 28,000) of that circulation is classified as "users of paint and/or coatings", and over 16,000 of those are in the areas of administration, production, engineering, and quality control. This last group described (16,132 subscribers) is the broadest possible market we could ever reach in regards to marketing this paint shop monitoring product. It is estimated that the majority of this market saw at least some portion of this article and received some part of the marketing message. Putting a value on exposure like this is very difficult, but obviously it is in the tens of thousands of dollars. More importantly, it may have taken years off of the marketing timeline as we work towards market acceptance. Leads were not a critical goal for this PR effort, but many leads were received and multiple companies are in various stages of sales discussions. Since adopting this concept requires the business to make many other changes within their paint shop and possibly within their supply chain in order to receive its maximum benefits, it is not expected that many sales will close in the near future, but the road to market acceptance and millions of dollars in sales is being paved. This article added the much needed credibility to the product and shortened that road to acceptance significantly.




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