In 2021, for the first time in decades, North Americans felt the frustrations of a global supply chain crisis. Everything from cars and computer chips to home appliances suddenly became out-of-stock, and consumers needed to plan their purchases more carefully than ever before.
As a result, buying cycles became longer and more complex. This was particularly problematic for Sea-Doo, which sells specialist watercrafts like jet-skis and pontoons. When its products became out of stock in the summer of 2021, we had to quickly switch from driving sales of current models, to focus on driving pre-sales of the 2022 models.
How could we adapt to the longer and more complex buying cycles? How could we sustain consumers’ interest until the 2022 models became available?
Our consumer insight: By analyzing Sea-Doo’s consumer journey, we found that product personalization is one of the only strategies that can sustain consumers’ interest - consumers are willing to wait for the next year’s model if it is perfectly suited to their needs and preferences.
Our solution focused heavily on Search Engine Marketing (SEM), as research had shown it was our most efficient channel to capture consumers’ intent. Moreover, we couldn’t let our competitors steal our traffic, especially in an industry counting only 3 active players.
However, we needed to adapt our SEM strategies to consumer buying cycles that were getting longer and more complex. Within a few days, we would turn our SEM strategy upside down and completely reinvent it! Instead of aiming for sales conversion at the cheapest cost, we would optimize against user engagement with the Sea-Doo customization tool.
Search would now be our key channel for client nurturing and consideration, instead of short-term sales conversion.
Step 1: Capture demand when potential buyers are actively in market.
Step 2: Drive traffic towards our customization tool
Step 3: Maintain interest until the 2022 models are available for sale
The customization tools captured consumers' personal information and allowed us to build a strong time-relevant database of in-market consumers. We sustained their interest through CRM communications, such as newsletters and social campaigns, fuelled by the captured first-party data. As soon as the new models became available, we switched back to our usual SEM campaign strategy and we updated our retargeting pool with all the new leads generated by the customization tool.