What better way to inform the public about your product than through event marketing? For John Quick, founder and president of American Van Rental (AVR) in Atlanta, the marketing technique has helped grow his enterprise into a multi-million dollar business. AVR, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, is one of the largest minority-owned car rental businesses in the region.
“An event would be an occasion where one entity takes a large number of our vehicles,” says Quick. “A major golf tournament, for example. We may have 15 to 25 vehicles assigned to that one event for seven to 10 days.”
AVR employs an event marketing coordinator whose sole purpose is to nurture corporate relationships that bring in volumes of repeat business. These relationships can include perks that are mutually beneficial to AVR and its customers.
Event producers will often promote AVR in their program ads, or they may travel with AVR’s name prominently displayed on the rented vehicles. Radio or television stations may provide ad spots in exchange for transportation.
“We have developed relationships so that every year we know that as long as we properly serve our client, we have that business,” Quick says. “And we don’t limit ourselves to Atlanta. We do business throughout the Southeast.”
Nonprofit, corporate and government organizations make up 50% of AVR’s active market. Leisure, which tends to be seasonal, makes up the other half. Fortune 500 companies are segments of AVR’s market and represent a significant portion of its repeat business.
With event marketing, AVR employs other effective strategies to draw clientele.
Yellow Pages ads account for approximately 60% to 70% of AVR’s marketing and advertising budget. Radio and cable TV ads are also used on a limited basis. Then there’s direct mail.
“We have such a targeted audience, direct mail tends to be very effective. We probably do 10% to 15% using direct mail. It works,” Quick says.
Creative marketing techniques were instrumental to AVR’s growth, but meticulous personnel screening and risk management were just as important.