Building Credibility Through Research

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Open Lending provides financial institutions with automated lending services that make loans more accessible to underserved communities. Originally founded in Austin in 2000, Open Lending was ranked among Austin’s fastest growing privately-held companies for years, before going public in 2020.  


Over its first two decades in business, Open Lending built a sterling reputation and robust customer base through its proprietary risk-based pricing platform, Lenders Protection™. Yet it struggled to establish credibility beyond its niche industry of automotive lenders.

Post-IPO, the company needed to elevate its profile and expand its reach among a wider audience of financial institutions. Additionally, Open Lending’s leadership team felt that its mission — to use cutting-edge technology to serve the underserved by expanding loan access — could be better articulated through its marketing materials.


After evaluating Open Lending’s existing marketing assets, the INK team recognized an untapped opportunity to use original research and a coordinated campaign as a way to highlight the company’s differentiating features. While Open Lending had produced a steady output of white papers, case studies, and blogs, it had never conducted original research as a strategy to build credibility and drive leads.

INK moved forward with a data study that posed the question, “What is the social and economic impact of not owning a vehicle?”, surveying a mix of 1,300 vehicle owners and non-vehicle owners. With this broad question, we generated insights with relevance to both financial institutions and more general readers — and which pointed to Open Lending’s value driver of empowering vehicle access at lower credit tiers. And by comparing owners and non-owners, we uncovered data points that revealed the far-reaching impact of not owning a vehicle — including missed job opportunities, limited time with family and friends, and a general feeling of reduced upward mobility. 

Interactive content from Open Lending

Using the survey’s results, INK delivered a cross-channel marketing campaign encompassing public relations, digital, creative and content that would drive awareness of Lenders Protection™ and introduce Open Lending’s value proposition to a wider audience. 

Our campaign’s primary asset was interactive content – microsite ​​that gave visitors an experiential look at key data points and insights uncovered by the survey. Beyond the microsite, we delivered supporting activities and materials to extend the reach and impact of the campaign. These included a webinar for industry and media attendees; an organic social media strategy promoting our research findings; a media relations strategy aimed at both trade and top-tier publications; and an interactive “Opportunity Calculator” that allowed Open Lending prospects to estimate the number of additional auto loans they’d be able to certify by using Lenders Protection™.


Our campaign fueled 27 conversions that Open Lending could vet for leads and generated interest from top-tier journalists. The report was picked up by several publications, including The Wall Street Journal and Automotive News. Our team also secured more detailed earned coverage in trade publications like Auto Finance News and WardsAuto, which highlighted some of the more striking findings from our research. 

These media relations efforts, alongside our campaign’s other activities to promote the report, drove notable engagement on the microsite. Visitors spent, on average, nearly two minutes exploring the page, and the microsite amassed nearly eight hours of total user time in less than two months following its release. 

Equally important, the campaign helped Open Lending reinforce its leadership in lending enablement and dedication to social impact.

The INK team helped us leverage original research to plant a flag in the ground as industry experts on vehicle accessibility.

Cody Gillund

VP of Marketing at Open Lending