Case Study

90-Year-Old Marketing Gets A Digital Makeover

Automotive, Consulting, Marketing

Kelley Blue Book logo



Kelley Blue Book has been a staple of the automotive sales industry for years. Based in Irvine, just down the freeway from our digital agency in Los Angeles, KBB serves both car sales professionals and their research.

The company faced increasing competition with online competitors. They needed a creative marketing company to promote their experience and the superiority of their offerings.

Because of our digital agency’s expertise in corporate training and business e-learning solutions, Kelley Blue Book engaged with us to retool their car sales training product for the 21st century. A full-service marketing push — digital, collateral, point of sale, and more.


Training people in the sale of new and used cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles is an art — based on the numbers of the marketplace. As auto dealers and customers across the U.S. transact, though, prices can change, often in real time.

Because car shoppers can look up car values for themselves, it’s crucial for car salespeople to have the best tools available for evaluating other market conditions that affect them.


For new automobiles, KBB provides information on a car’s Fair Purchase Price within a Fair Market Range that reflects their local market. For used cars, KBB provides retail value, certified pre-owned value, trade-in value, and private-party value. And auto sales professionals need that information at their fingertips.

Comprehensive research of the brand and the automobile sales industry told us Kelley Blue Book indeed had the most data — and the best data — in the car valuation space. And those car buyers who did use KBB trusted the brand and the assistance it provided.


We identified three main marketing challenges for the project: lack of dealerships’ auto sales training for salespeople about KBB products and their brand, low traffic on car dealership websites and social media, and low trust scores for dealers themselves.

Our analysis of KBB’s brand messaging told us they needed a new direction, in both B2C and B2B marketing. And because of our successes in mobile media marketing, we knew making their weak mobile marketing presence a priority of the campaign would pay off big.

Kelley Blue Book logo



The public considers people who sell cars less trustworthy than people in Congress (source: Gallup). Because a tool is only as useful as the person using it, our digital agency’s integrated marketing approach — including our own work with the KBB product itself — would build the brand of Kelley Blue Book as well as the auto sales professionals who use it.


Association with clear, colorful, credible Point Of Sales materials in the showroom helps chip away that initial distrust. Leveraging Kelley Blue Book’s stellar reputation was a direct benefit to auto sales professionals and thus a road to buy-in.


We designed a Kelley Blue Book certified dealer logo as a literal seal of approval for dealerships and car salespeople. A bold new look utilized co-branding opportunities and aspirational imagery for KBB’s Point Of Sale materials and banners for dealer websites.

point of sale materials for Kelley Blue Book by digital marketing agency Upper Diamond for web advertising, social media, web design



Dealers struggle to keep traffic on their websites. While it makes sense — you buy a car once and then you’re gone — our agency saw lack of returning traffic a major lost marketing opportunity.


Car shoppers spend an average 13 hours — nearly an entire waking day — reviewing automobile makes, models, and prices online. Auto dealerships could benefit from content that potential customers could revisit and share, like up-to-date, peer-reviewed research by car sales experts.

Auto salespeople thought Kelley Blue Book’s product line was overly complex. It was difficult for dealers to see what impact KBB would have on their websites. And younger car buyers — who haven’t settled into a car-brand association — respond best to visual learning in a context that’s easy to understand.


We identified key opportunities that focused on a car-shopper-friendly syndication strategy including ratings (peer and expert), reviews, and video content.

To demonstrate, we built and launched a prototype dealership website that demonstrated how Kelley Blue Book & Autotrader’s new flagship syndicated products can deliver a sticky online digital retailing solution for dealer websites.

desktop and mobile websites for Kelley Blue Book by digital marketing agency Upper Diamond for advertising, social media, web design



Kelley Blue Book had no existing B2C web identity that connected with car shoppers. They needed aspirational imagery and clear benefit statements wrapped in a relatable, story-based buying context.


Car shoppers didn’t understand the benefit of better data from dealerships using KBB’s most popular products. The tone was not Millennial-friendly.


We created a B2C-focused website that reflected an updated KBB voice with impactful imagery, compelling copy, and custom graphics. Branding refocused KBB’s messaging on Millennials.

car buyers learning online for Kelley Blue Book by digital marketing agency Upper Diamond for advertising, social media



With the automotive landscape changing rapidly, KBB’s reliance on their network of in-person relationships was causing them to lose market share.


Kelley Blue Book didn’t differentiate how they communicated their product benefits and features to different dealers across the country. Increasingly dealers were differentiating in terms of their approaches to operations, sales, and marketing.


Changing targeting and increasing the number of profiles, we took the message wider in the industry. We focused on the value of the brand and the power of its valuation story through videos, pitch decks, and new brand positioning with Autotrader. And we produced an animated video to support sales of an entire program of products.

instant cash offers for car dealers for Kelley Blue Book by digital marketing agency Upper Diamond for advertising, social media



Because their mobile app hadn’t been updated in quite some time, it reflected an older perspective on a market driven by only a few of their current products. Few car shoppers used it — especially Millennials.


We developed the first B2C working app prototype that integrated a majority of KBB products, many of which had yet to be officially launched. The app presented all of them in a single, simple interface powered by their industry-leading data and their #1 online brand trust. It’s expected to go live in 2018.

mobile app for car buyers for Kelley Blue Book by digital marketing agency Upper Diamond for advertising, social media, web design
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