Posted by Marketing Team | 8 Minutes

A New Lease on Experiential Marketing: The Advantages of Leasing Your Next Specialty Vehicle

As we look ahead to how experiential marketing events may change once pandemic restrictions ease, we know that many marketers are taking a wait-and-see approach to planning their events. Understandable. Brands have put so much of their activations on hold. And for many the investment in creating a custom specialty vehicle from the ground up is more of a risk than they are willing to take.

However, considering the value of mobile events in engaging audiences and generating leads, it is good to know that you have options that can help you be ready to hit the road when mobile events are appropriate again. One of those options is leasing your experiential marketing vehicle instead of building it.

Leasing can be one of the most cost-efficient and potentially quickest options for brands, allowing you to put together an experiential marketing roadshow without long production lead times or build costs. And if you do it the right way, you can get a relatively high degree of customization and operational efficiency at the same time. In this article, we’ll look at the advantages of leasing and give you a few things to watch out for when you’re considering a leasing partner. Let’s start with the basics.

Save time and money

The obvious advantages to leasing that we’ve already touched on are time and cost. Although it can take several weeks to get a vehicle branded and upfit to meet the need of a specific marketer, that’s much less time than the months-long production process of building one from scratch. Plus, you get to choose the length of the lease, which doesn’t lock you in for the long-term. For instance, at the end of a six-month lease you can walk away and shift your resources to other activities — an appealing feature in our current environment. In contrast, this also means you don’t get the additional return on your investment of being able to repeat successful mobile tours (without negotiating a new lease) or leveraging the vehicle for other needs like you would for a bespoke specialty vehicle that your business owns. But it’s about what’s best for your organization as we move forward.

Customize, with the right partner

While you may think leasing would limit you in the type of vehicles and the degree of customization, there are ways to do custom leasing with a higher degree of branding and incorporating unique content if you choose the right partner.

For instance, we have several types of vehicles available that are clean slates from a content and branding perspective. That is, the core format and structure of the vehicles are built. When we lease one of the vehicles to a client, we work with them to incorporate their branding throughout the vehicle and, depending on the lease and their needs, upfit the vehicle to include interactive components and displays to customize the experience to fit their brand and objectives. So a leased vehicle becomes a more unique experiential mobile environment, but can be developed and deployed in more of a quick-turn timeframe.

Need to incorporate a simulator or virtual reality gaming space? Want to have a fully functioning teaching kitchen along with a giant flat screen? Need product demonstration areas with handwashing stations at entry and exit points? There are options for customization that can make it happen.

Want to see what we mean? Contact us to request examples of our quick-turn vehicles available for lease.

Now, we’ve talked at length in prior articles about how we build our vehicles and the potential perils of pre-fabricated trailers or other vehicles not originally built for roadshows. Just to be clear, our leased vehicles are designed, built and maintained entirely by SPEVCO. They are built for the rigors of roadshow duty. And any customization is done to this same standard. That way, you know it will work when it is supposed to work, which brings us to another set of advantages of choosing to lease from a custom specialty vehicle company…

Warranty and operations

Our lease vehicles come with the same warranty as our custom-built vehicles, meaning it works or we move the sun and earth to fix it. Regardless of where you lease your vehicle, you should at least look for written guarantees that your tour won’t get stranded by the side of the road or stuck at an event with broken equipment.

But the advantage here really kicks in when you lease from a company that can also handle the logistics and operations of a mobile marketing tour.

For example, we offer turnkey planning and operations in 10, 20, or 40-week tour packages, as well as custom ops packages. This covers professional operators, fuel, taxes, tolls and site fees, DOT inspections, set up and tear down, along with no-fault, no-cost maintenance. Take it a few steps further and we can take care of comprehensive tour support. This means we handle route planning, brand ambassadors, data capture, tracking and reporting, and more — even catering, if needed.

The point is that it makes sense to include at least some level of operations and logistics support in your lease. And a warranty, in writing, is an absolute must.

Of course, you could handle all of this yourself. But why? Having turnkey operations and support built into your lease ensures that all the details get taken care of (that is, as long as you’re leasing from a company that is accustomed to handling everything). Even if you choose to just have us handle vehicle transportation, set up and maintenance, we recommend working with an experiential marketing firm to handle brand ambassadors, sales leads and other event-day details.

Already have a specialty vehicle sitting idle?

Before we wrap things up, we should address the elephant in the room. Or rather, the white elephant that might already be parked in your lot. If you have an existing marketing vehicle that is sitting idle because of cancelled events and tours due to the ongoing pandemic, you’re not alone.

In addition to thinking about how your vehicle can be used to support your community (which we covered in another article), it’s also important to consider how this vehicle can be modified for the smaller events and various social distancing measures that will be in place as lockdown measures gradually relax. In most cases, it is possible to retool your program in order to get at least a portion of your investment back on your experiential marketing vehicle.

Rolling forward

We’ve covered some basic advantages of leasing your next experiential marketing vehicle. The next step is seeing for yourself the different types of vehicles that are available. But keep in mind, just like the vehicle, the lease can and should be customizable to fit the needs of your brand and the objectives of your tour.

We invite you to contact us to learn more and to ask us questions about leasing versus buying a specialty vehicle for your next tour. Our experts will be happy to talk with you about what mobile marketing events will work in the coming months, and whether leasing makes sense for your brand.