Principio Marketing

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Not all promotion methods are online. The fascination with the Internet, social media, and the various advertising options should not be at the expense of other more traditional methods which are still excellent.

One of these is to use your vehicle as a billboard. When I walk in my neighborhood more and more, I see cars with wrapping. Sometimes, it can be quite simple (the website at the top of the rear window) or very elaborate (complete covering of the vehicle).

Does your business sell internationally? This strategy is not for you. But for many, local clients are a good amount of their business if not all. If this is your case, think about wrapping your vehicle.

To be an advertising option for your business, you need to have a vehicle. If you are in Quebec, to advertise your business on your vehicle, it should be commercially registered. Confirm this information if you are from another region. You might have different regulations.

You have a commercial licensed vehicle, where should you start?

These are two main aspects to consider:

  • What to announce, and
  • What extent.
  • What to announce

    This aspect has more to do with your marketing and advertising strategy than the medium as such, but here are considerations:

  • Grab attention. People, eyes, smiles attract people. If your budget allows it, have an eye-catching visual with photos of people.
  • Be concise, your vehicle is not always stationary. If you are on the move, it should be easy to write down your call to action (website, phone number, social media, etc.). Keep your domain name short and easy to remember. Same thing with your phone number.
  • Be readable. Having a lot of text means that the size of the text is reduced. Be concise. Are you a law firm? The text could be: legal problems? Call (514) XXX-XXXX or visit Let your website explain more about your focus.
  • What extent

    Here, your budget will be an important factor. The amount of lettering on your vehicle can make your strategy go from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. So, set up a meeting with your VP of finance first.

    How do you use your vehicle? If you are going downtown and parking near office towers, when they have people, having a message on the roof is a good idea.

    Not so much if you are only on the road (delivery trucks for example).

    There is also the size of your vehicle. If you have a subcompact, the amount of information you can put on it will be more limited than if you have an SUV or a minivan.

    The other aspect to consider, do you have a single or a fleet of vehicles? If you are a home improvement center and deliver with your vehicles, it would be worthwhile to do this for all your units. But do the math.

    Other factors to consider

    Are you in the equipment renting industry? This strategy also applies to you. On each large enough machine that can be seen from the neighborhood, your information should appear.

    Are you a delivery company that uses bike messengers? Use the delivery bags as a billboard. This is one of the strategies used by DoorDash to get seen.

    You do not have a vehicle yet, but you like the idea? Be careful what you buy. The message is also in the vehicle type.

    For example, I have a professional in my area who regularly has his Mercedes-Benz SUV parked in front of his business door. Even though the vehicle does not have lettering, the message remains important. If your income is performance-based, this is a great message to give to your customers: I am successful for you! But if the service you provide is considered a cost, the message maybe a little less positive. You might be perceived as someone who charges a lot. Nothing prevents you from having this vehicle but pay attention to the message you communicate. Possibly, keep your luxury vehicle to yourself, and use a vehicle more in line with your operations, your image, and your values for your advertising.

    Interestingly, also in my area, another company is advertising on their Ford-150s. Without being an expert in cars, I believe that the price of some Ford-150 can compete with that of some Mercedes-Benz. However, what makes this vehicle acceptable (the Ford-150) is not the price, but the relationship to the company's operations; they are in the field of construction/renovation.

    How to use it

    Now that you have wrapped your vehicle, how should you use it? Of course, do your normal commuting. That is why you have the vehicle.

    But the thing to avoid: underground parking lots. You have invested in having lettering on your vehicle, put it in sight. Even at the risk of having to put cash in the parking meters every two hours. Some applications allow you to do this remotely, without having to leave your office/client. If you are from Montreal, see: If you are from some other region, check online. The technology exists.

    If you are not a delivery company, think about where you park. If you are going to the same customers/office, try to park in different places to increase your visibility. Remember; your vehicle is a billboard. Sometimes parking a little further on a busy street can give you better visibility than being right next to your meeting spot. Walk the difference.

    There is also the idea of having business cards around the windows of your car. Although distributing them often requires a permit, having them on your vehicle in plain sight and letting people help themselves is possibly a permitted activity in your area. However, you are responsible for the cards that are on the ground. So be careful, but this is an option to consider.

    Not all advertising activities are online. If you are a local business, this advertisement may be for you.

    If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate in contacting me.


    Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
    Marketing consultant