Q&A with Go Compare marketing director Nick Hall

Go Compare, the comparison brand famous for its warbling opera singer ads, reported its 2010 full-year pre-tax profits increased 35%to £29.9m earlier this week.

The company’s head of marketing Nick Hall talks about last year’s success and how the campaign will be evolved to keep in tune with the fiercly competitive comparison market.

MW To what do you attribute last year’s substantial profits?

NH It is all down to the advertising. We launched our Gio Compario campaign in 2009, which saw our customer numbers increase by 60%. 2009 was the first year we posted profit [of £12.1m]. That growth continued into 2010 where we got a greater share of the price comparison market.

MW Has running a campaign that some consumers have described as “annoying” worked against you or in your favour?

NH

We call it a bit of a “Marmite” campaign, some people love it, some hate it. The campaign itself has built up quite a big cult following. It has lead to Wynne Evans, the actor who plays Gio, getting a record deal with Warner Music. His new album went straight number one in the classical charts and has been there ever since.

It’s all down to the success of character based advertising and the love hate relationship with the audience is always part of our campaigns and has always worked well for our brand.

MW What other constituents play a part in your marketing strategy?

NH We run a full through-the-line marketing campaign. TV and radio is supported by active online campaigns through search, affiliate networks, online display, social and email. We also operate in the mobile space; our main site has traffic coming through mobile devices and we also have search campaigns active in the mobile arena.

MW How do you continue your marketing success without it plateauing?

NH We are really happy with the campaign itself, it works really well and creates so much brand awareness and longevity and we are currently leading the field in brand awareness. We are filming new ads as we speak, so you will be seeing more of Gio in 2011. We are looking for the campaign to grow year on year

MW Would Go Compare look at further product extensions beyond insurance and money comparison?

NH We already offer a wide range of services. We are looking to get to best in market, so we are constantly evolving our offer. Our core business is financial services, but we would never say no to further oppourtunities as we look to develop and expand the business over time. But we would make sure it is the right product or service for our brand to move in to.

MW Will the price comparison market remain as competitive a sector as it has been?

NH It is very competitive and will continue to be. From the start of this year we’ve already seen four campaigns launch from our competitors. We have a strong position and strong brand awareness but the market dictates that we can’t rest on our laurels.

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