Turning a trend on its head leads to major marketing win

  • Bucking a global trend saw AA Membership & Brand General Manager Dougal Swift recognised as the 2017 Marketer of the Year at the NZ Marketing Awards last night.

15 September 2017

Turning a trend on its head leads to major marketing win

Bucking a global trend saw AA Membership & Brand General Manager Dougal Swift recognised as the 2017 Marketer of the Year at the NZ Marketing Awards last night.

Award judges recognised Mr Swift as the winner off the back of the AA’s record breaking Membership growth which now sits at more than 1.62 million with an additional 1.1 million people signed up with AA Smartfuel.

It’s a growth that counters global trends. While motoring clubs in other countries struggle with declining Membership rates and rising subscription costs, Mr Swift says the AA has had the opposite experience.

“Many of our Members are looking for more than AA Roadservice, so a big driver of our growth is the many new Member benefits we’ve added over the last five years like Specsavers eye exams, free driving lessons for learner and senior drivers, plus new products like AA Health and the AA Drivers Town attraction at Rainbows End.”

“The effective use of AA’s partnerships means Members receive far greater value than the cost of their Membership, which hasn’t changed in well over a decade. That’s why 90% of our Members stay part of the club.”

He also attributes the upward swing in AA Membership to a significant brand transformation over several years.

“Back in 2004 the brand was described by research as the friendly uncle you wouldn't take to a party, but after a fair bit of work to reshape that image, our latest brand research shows we’ve made huge gains in leadership and momentum while retaining the trust and expertise that people rely on us for.”

With programmes like AA Ignition, which offers new learner drivers three free progressive driving lessons, the AA Drivers Town attraction at Rainbows End and AA Smartfuel, the AA is also now attracting a brand new generation of New Zealanders.

“It’s an exciting time in the AA’s history with plenty of new ventures on the horizon which will deliver Members even more value in years to come.”

By the numbers:

  • More than 1.62 million AA Members with an addition 1.1 million AA Smartfuel cardholders
  • More than $420 million worth of AA Smartfuel discounts issued
  • Nearly 600,000 free Specsavers eye exams for AA Members which equals more than $35 million in savings
  • Almost 150,000 free driving lessons issued to new learner drivers under AA Ignition

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