15 April 2008
Promoting rental is one of the more long-term tasks that ERA has set itself. Communicating the rental message can be accomplished in many ways, and the Promotion's committee, chaired by Jorg Bachmann, marketing manager with MVS Zeppelin in Germany, is now carrying out the initial work to create a full promotional campaign.
The committee, which met for the second time on 17 January, has set itself some initial goals for the upcoming convention in June. These include the creation of a 'Good Reasons to Rent' document, providing ERA with the best arguments in favour of rental. These arguments, coupled to detailed case studies and other materials, will also form the basis of a rental promotions pack – or 'tool box' – that all ERA members will be able to use when developing their own rental businesses. It is hoped that it will be ready by Autumn this year.
The committee has also carried out a benchmarking exercise with other equipment rental associations worldwide. ERA was keen to establish what techniques to promote rental were used by other associations, and which had proven most effective.
This work is underway, with good contributions having been received by 10 associations worldwide giving some valuable information, such as the importance of websites as a promotional tool. ERA's own website has now been vastly improved on the bare initial pages launched last year, and work continues to provide more information and to make it a useful resource for members and potential rental customers alike. Already there is a searchable database of ERA members, including details. (See www.erarental.org)
Other activities for the committee include a study on market segmentation and on common definitions/product codings. The segmentation study – which has some overlap with the activities of the statistics committee – will help ERA establish priorities in targeting its promotional message.
Common definitions and product codings, meanwhile, is another task that will have benefits beyond promotion. Rental companies will benefit from there being a standard way to describe products Europe-wide. Initial work has included a review of the Swedish equipment classification system.
Any promotional campaign will, of course, contain many elements, including attending exhibitions, organizing events, creating links with customer trade associations, advertising, press relations and materials – like the tool box referred to above – for ERA members to use in the field. It is a major task, but a start has been made.
If you feel you have something to offer the promotions committee – ideas, experience, or case study material that could be useful – then please contact the ERA secretariat.