When the nation’s leading automotive-research firm
needed to package its flagship product, we put the program on wheels.
For years the Syndicated Studies from Maritz Automotive Research were the Bible of the new-car industry.
A complete, totally unbiased survey of U.S. and Canadian car buyers in the first two quarters of the model year, the Studies asked respondents almost everything:
- What models they considered besides the one they bought.
- What features they were looking for.
- What model they traded in on the new vehicle.
Even lifestyle and demographic patterns:
- Their ages, regions and stages of life.
- What they do for a living and their approximate income.
- What they do for fun.
- And much more.
In short, the studies let automakers the world over see exactly who was driving what cars and trucks and what new models might appeal to whom.
The studies were the Maritz automotive group’s flagship product from 1993-2001. They sold for a lot of money. But they were worth even more in revenue, earnings – and future opportunities – to the manufacturers who relied on their insights.
Selling the studies.
With the help of a lovely young man named Tim Kill, Maritz asked me to develop the materials that would sell the subscriptions – and then design the packaging for the reports that would convey the results.
We kept production values high, in keeping with the investment manufacturers were making, and design concepts contemporary but not so cutting-edge as to alarm senior executives on both sides of the table.
Tim and I started by designing a full-color folder cover and writing sell copy for the prospectus, and producing that first set of folders in 1993 – back when digital print production was very new.
In fact, Photoshop didn’t even have layers! When we produced the high-resolution version, that first design – reused here on a piece for Ford – took 15 hours to execute, with a full hour between mouse clicks.
For the rest of the century, we designed new cover concepts every two years. From 1996 through 2001, we produced the whole booklet every year.
The Syndicated Studies represented the lion’s share of the Automotive group’s annual revenues. That group, in turn, produced one-third of Maritz Research’s annual $100 million in sales at the time.