Lessons from other industries: Automotive social marketing

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Tom Kaiser
April 22, 2013
Filed under Features, Top Stories

We in the marine industry lift a lot from the automotive market, with its titanic budgets for research, product development and supply chain — but we can also learn a lot from its efforts at social media promotion.

Ford is one company that really gets it. Check out The Ford Story (social.ford.com) for a look at how the company humanizes its employees, explains current vehicle projects and environmental efforts, and all the ways that user comments and social media is brought into the package.

This is total integration, with a strong focus on involving the end users. Just look at the top navigation bar of the site: our article, your stories, your ideas, images and videos. It’s simple, effective, clear and a clear difference from the way promotional sites usually appear – not just visually, but in tone as well.

Audi is another example of an automaker that’s intelligently deployed social marketing tactics to its benefits. After R8 supercar fan Julie McCoy said on Twitter “I want an R8” the company caught wind of it, and decided to make her dream come true by loaning McCoy an R8 to use for a day, then asked other Twitter users if they’d like one, too. The eventual campaign involved engaged more than 75,000 people — and how much did this cost Audi? Not much at all – guerilla marketing at its finest made possible by social media.

While it may be a stretch picturing this working for a customer’s next boat, Chrysler tried something truly innovative in launching its Dodge Dart compact car. Talking a cue from Kickstarter, where many people band together to fund (sometimes) worthy projects, Chrysler created the Dodge Dart Registry where family, friends or even total strangers can chip in to help users pay for their new Dart. Like the old saying goes, it can’t hurt to ask.

These are just a few small examples that led to a big impact, proving once again that the best way to leverage social media is to get creative. Think your customers will like a new boat model? Take a page from Audi and give them that chance. If you do it right, you’ll get a massive bang for your marketing buck and show your customers that your organization is engaged and fun.

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