A few years ago, when the chips were down for the U.S. automobile industry, Ford remained solvent while GM and Chrysler sought assistance. Ford credited this fact to their pursuit of new technology and smarter designs.
Communication Is Key
In order to capitalize on this industry lead Ford has been making good use of social media, both in the United States and over seas, where they are connecting with consumers in ways they never could before.
This is good news for Ford and the people who buy their cars.
First, it opens the pathways of communication between consumers and the corporation. Secondly, it gives Ford a leg-up on the competition when it comes to delivering products and services that consumers want.
This is a lesson which transfers easily among companies and industries. Ford learned that the best way to see cars was to listen to their customers. With hundreds of millions of social media users around the world, communicating with end-users is now easier than ever.
Farley discussed these and other marketing issues with Industry Editor James B. Treece and Staff Reporter Jamie LaReau.
Q: What have you learned about social media, and what’s next?
Farley: We have some very interesting launches coming up, like the global Ranger pickup launch. For these vehicles and a few others that I can’t talk about, we have learned that starting early using social media is OK. You don’t have to start a month before you wholesale a vehicle. You can allocate budget as long as you’re smart and you activate the people that are interested in the newest products.
Also, it should be done regionally. A global approach to social media doesn’t really have as much traction as those programs like the Fiesta Movement in the United States executed locally.
We are investing more and more of our resources not only in digital, but in social within digital. Now social media and our investments are right up there with search and other digital banner advertising.
Does social media spending match your digital spending?
Farley: No, but depending on the phase of launch and prelaunch, it can.
In addition, we are more and more integrating mobile advertising into this pre-launch period of time, integrating mobile advertising into our print ads and using mobile advertising in point-of-sale. If you come into a Ford dealership and you want to learn about a feature, you click on a tag and it downloads a video online for you to play in the dealership.
We found that marketing on a smartphone is very different than marketing on a computer. A smartphone is a personal device. You have to add value to people’s life if you’re going to market on there.
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