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How OPIS Used Video – and Story – to Sell Their RetailSuite

“Gas station owner Mike is struggling to keep up with the times, and not just in his wardrobe.”

Thus begins one of the many OPIS animated videos featuring Mike, here wearing a psychedelic shirt and headband. “Because Mike is comfortable doing things the way he’s always done them, he’s falling behind retail fuel price trends… Mike needs to understand how his direct competitors and the stations with the top brands in his region change their prices. Then use that data to capture market share during periods of price volatility.

“That’s when Mike’s assistant manager Mary had a suggestion. She recommended AnalyticsPro, one of the five components of the OPIS Retail Suite.”

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This 98-second marketing video is one of many in the OPIS RetailSuite Video Series starring the buyer persona (but not Oscar-nominated) “Mike the station manager.” Joining Mike on his journeys toward discovery are Bob his boss, rival station manager Matt (boo) and assistant manager Mary. It took all of about 20 seconds for me to fall in deep like with Mike and Mary, and apparently OPIS customers felt the same. This campaign helped produce 600+ closed sales in 2018, and drove a 17% YOY increase in sales revenue for the retail segment of OPIS business.

The video series also won a 2019 SIPAward for Best Use of Video in Marketing.

“In late 2017, OPIS (Oil Price Information Service) launched RetailSuite, an online platform with five tools to help convenience store operators and gas station owners sell more fuel and increase profits,” wrote Rick Wilkes, executive director of marketing for OPIS, in their winning entry. “To introduce this breakthrough product to the retail fuel market, we implemented a multi-channel marketing campaign to establish a product brand, build awareness of it and generate demo requests.

Video proved pivotal to the success of this campaign, and provided inspiration for spin-off activity in other channels. They created a series six “explainer” videos, including one overview and separate versions for each product module or tool.

“We used animation as the format, with ‘Mike the station manager’ as the main character and continuing thread connecting the series,” Wilkes wrote. “Each video showed in just 1-2 minutes how the individual components of RetailSuite helped Mike improve his business in an entertaining and easy-to-understand way.”

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In another video, Mike trains for a marathon and starts thinking about competition. That leads to “How to Grade Your Gas Station’s Profit Margin Performance With OPIS MarginPro. In another, Mike wants to expand his business and looks to “How to Increase Your Retail Gas Station’s Market Share With OPIS MarketShare Pro.”

“We posted these videos on the OPIS YouTube channel, and on the OPIS website (both product pages and the video library),” Wilkes continued.  “We promoted them via email (8 blasts) and social media (48 posts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). All of this activity combined to generate 5K+ views.”

In an age where all the editorial and marketing experts promote storytelling, Mike’s adventures and travails resonate strongly. In fact, in a previous talk at a SIPA conference, Wilkes spoke about where their authenticity comes from.

“We talked to our sales director and asked, ‘When one of your customers comes to our site, what are they going to want to know right away?’ ” he said. “What commodities we cover? Are they going to want to know about our market segments? He said, ‘No, they’re going to look for who they are. They’re going to say, I’m a retailer, I sell gas. What do you have for me?’ So what we tried to do is immediately show buyer personas, and a who-we-help section. You can see all these fuel chain personas and there are a lot of them.”

OPIS also showcased video in what Wilkes called “the single most offbeat—and lucrative—effort of the RetailSuite campaign”: a printed brochure with the overview video embedded inside. They mailed this piece to 91 high-potential prospects chosen by sales, providing reps with a memorable context for follow-up calls and emails. Early last year, that promotion had already generated 15 leads and four conversions with very little expense.

I can’t wait to see what Mike is up to next.