Digital, Social Media Take Center Stage at Auto Show

Brands are beginning to see “real” money come from interacting with their consumers in digital (web, mobile, etc.) and social ways. They’re slower to move than digital-native brands and are carefully watching all the mistakes made. I’ve pulled out some comments that I found illuminating below.


Digital, Social Media Take Center Stage at Auto Show

Marketing Execs from Ford, Audi, Mazda Shoot Down Marketing Myths

Mr. Farley called the idea that digital marketing reached only young people a “complete myth.” There are “800 million people on Facebook, and the fastest-growing group is women in their 50s,” he said. Reaching them via conventional TV advertising or even search engines is passe, he said. The aim is to get to their mobile devices.

“This is not a bunch of teenagers hanging out in Starbucks but real people spending real money to buy expensive cars,” Mr. Keogh said. “Since we’re all paranoid … isn’t social media just a place where people are going to say bad things? You have to remember the key word: social. People don’t go to a restaurant saying, ‘I’m going to hate this restaurant,’ that’s not what people inherently do when they’re social. … Its actually an optimistic, positive environment.”

One notable success story recounted by Matt VanDyke, director-U.S. marketing communications for Ford Motor Co., at the marketing panel yesterday was its initiative three years ago around the subcompact Fiesta. The car was put in the hands of 100 “social agents” before it went on sale in the U.S., an effort that generated millions of views on YouTube and Twitter impressions.

“At Ford , social media is bigger than advertising,” Mr. VanDyke said. “We just as easily could have had a product development person up here, or from HR, which is using social media for recruiting, or for labor affairs.”

At the end of the panel session, Jason Stein, editor of Automotive News, asked Messrs. Keogh, Romano and VanDyke if they themselves tweeted. They all said no.


– Randall Noval


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