The rules of the road are getting easier with a variety of purchase options now available for marketers readying mobile tours. With prices for 53-foot tractor trailers starting around $250 000 these days purchasing a truck for a mobile marketing program can be an expensive affair—or it could be one of the best long-term investments your marketing team makes. And if buying isn’t for you leasing is becoming a workable option for a growing legion of brand marketers. There are even hyper-rentals—fully tricked-out trucks available on four- to six-week leases.
Sometimes the choice is clear; sometimes it isn’t. EM asked mobile mavens from Javelin St. Louis; Marketing Werks Chicago; Mobility Resource Associates St. Clair Shores MI; and Pierce Promotions Portland ME; for a road map to choosing the best option for your marketing plan.
BUYING’S BEST WHEN…
You’re Planning A Multiyear Campaign
Generally speaking buying makes the most sense if you plan to run a program for more than one or two years—or if you plan to use the vehicle for a year and then refurbish it for another event program. That’s also when it makes the most financial sense; by buying brands can amortize the cost of the vehicle over multiple years and enjoy tax benefits.
You’re Going Custom
With big rigs come big dreams—the kind of dreams that mean intensive complicated and fancy build-outs. Those projects can be difficult with rented vehicles so if your mobile environment requires gutting a vehicle and starting from scratch buying is the best option.
You’re Ready For The Commitment
In addition to the obvious—maintenance—there are a barrage of issues with buying that just aren’t part of the equation when renting a vehicle. License title and insurance are just a few things companies have to contend with. In addition brands have to determine where the vehicle will be stored when the tour is dark (although that’s usually a decision that the brand’s mobile agency can help with). Buyers need the wherewithal the staff and the time to handle the decisions and paperwork that come with ownership.
LEASING’S BEST WHEN…
You Aren’t In It For The Long Haul
If it’s a shorter program—think two years or less—it may make more financial sense to rent. If the mobile program is a one-time event and not part of a long-term strategy leasing from a company that offers a turnkey service will likely provide the most bang for the buck.
You Can Work With A Simple Interior Design
Renting might be the best bet if your buildout doesn’t call for major customization. It doesn’t mean that all of your high-design dreams are dashed; if a program is only going to be on the road for a few weeks or months brands can split the difference and go semi-custom. Rental companies and fabricators can help customize a vehicle to suit a brand’s marketing campaign without totally refitting the truck and making it unusable for the next renter.
You’re Looking For A Specialty Vehicle
Specialty vehicles are usually available for rental or lease only. Turner Classic Movies used a video truck with a 16-foot-by-nine-foot LED video wall mounted on top for a mobile tour last summer and the network chose to rent instead of buy (Agency: Javelin St. Louis). The technical support required for each tour stop—and the potential problems that could arise—were beyond the typical maintenance needs for a mobile marketing tour. By renting the vehicle TCM could take advantage of the rental company’s technical support; an engineer was on board throughout the tour and could make minor repairs when needed.