Word of mouth on the Web is a powerful business tool for automakers. In an excellent interview with Mitch Lowe CEO of Jumpstart Digital Marketing, David Berkowitz presents on eMarketer a comprehensive picture of how strategic online communication is becoming for any offline business. In particular, it allows automotive companies to develop campaigns with a more specific and precise targeting than the ones diffused through TV advertising.
It seems like automakers believe in the Internet potentials to increase brand awareness and indirectly to generate more sales. In these days I’ve found two articles talking about Ford and General Motors efforts to take advantage of the Web to regain market share. On iMediaConnection Sara Wilson talks about “All new 2003 Ford Expedition” a new campaign created to draw attention and make people interact with the brand. The campaign has been run with different ads and features on the three world’s main portals: Yahoo! Msn.com and Aol.com because, as Kristen Bergmann, Digital Media Director and Senior Partner at J. Walter Thompson explains:“We felt that we would reach most of the Internet population if we were to choose these three [portals], and they all happened to be existing partners of ours that we knew could deliver”.
On the other side we have General Motors who has just launched an online banner campaign to drive qualified traffic to the newly relaunched GMBuyPower.com. As DMNews reports, Flash-enabled banners have been developed by Zentropy Partners, with skyscrapers, horizontals and standard formats in different sizes and 120 creative executions. And Steve Woolford, executive vice president and worldwide managing director at Zentropy explains:“The beauty of this advertising is that it links up that part of the BuyPower site that most people are interested in. If someone’s not considering a GM vehicle, it’s silly to give them the tool to shop. If they’re not aware, we must make them aware. If someone’s not considering, we must make them.”
Do you want to boost awareness and consideration and, by the chance, are you an automaker? Then advertise online! As Adage says today, the automobile industry is increasingly investing in online advertising. It’s the case of Toyota, but also of Volvo, Lexus, Audi and, of course, of BMW. A part from simply advertising, automakers and automarketers are focusing more and more on Web communication in general, by setting up Web site to appeal consumers engaging them in a unique experience with the brand and with the car. I believe cars can be considered to some extent an “experience good”, so it’s important for automakers to make people feel how a car is and how the driving experience could be. It’s an emotional approach to online communication, that more and more brands are trying to create, in a way, it’s a form of advertainment.
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