Road Reflections: Auto Marketers' Need for Purposeful Sharing
In San Francisco recently for a conference, I added a two day visit up the coast to Mendocino to create travel content on the area. Simpler to say “to write a travel story” you say? Sure, but as seasoned freelance journalists know, re-purposing the same content for different outlets is one key to financial survival.
It’s a mirror of the content marketing model: with Mendocino and its tourism assets serving as the “client” and common content, the more channels I could find for delivering that content the better. In this case, the channels were two magazines and one major newspaper—and now this blog. That’s quadruple the income opportunity for me and four-for-one ROI for my hosts—working synergistically with marketing goals and outcomes, content journalism must serve a shared purpose.
In fact, accomplished blogger Nilofer Merchant talks about how for marketers, “shared purpose” is a key norm in the social era.
Reflecting on my exhilarating drive up the swooping, cliff-hugging Pacific Coast Highway to Mendocino, I thought about how auto marketers meet the multi-channel branding challenge by creating experiences for consumers.
For example, there are the over-the-top interactive displays, promotions and experiences at auto shows. Costing millions, how do these industry staples work? Do they work? Since cars are not directly sold at shows, this effort is all about inspiring and influencing future sales (and capturing consumer data). But is it good ROI, especially in these post-recovery times? The answer appears to be yes.
“The formula for increasing Auto Show Return on Investment is straightforward; increase prospect attendance and provide an engaging display experience at the show,” states Steve Bruyn, CEO of Foresight Research. Bruyn was commenting on Foresight’s 2012 Automotive Marketing Communications Study, which contained the following key finding. Of 7,851 new vehicle buyers in the U.S. that attended an auto show, 40 percent stated that “the show significantly or completely influenced their vehicle purchase.”
Bentley Motors has found an elite way to share purpose by partnering with St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. As described in a release from Bentley U.K., the just-announced partnership creates “signature experiences for guests, residents and customers with driving programmes, special events, brand initiatives and house fleets at flagship hotels around the world.”
The ultimate in “taking your brand mobile,” of course, is the world of telematics, or the integration of computing, wireless communications and GPS to deliver hands-free audio and visual entertainment and experiences directly into the car. In an interview last summer with Telematics Update, Larry Haddad, Nissan International SA’s general manager for cross carline product strategy and planning, spoke about his team’s focus on “merging the vehicle environment into the information ecosystem.” His role? “I am responsible for delighting the customer,” Haddad said.
More details on telematics in future postings—but for all content marketers, keeping your eyes on the marketing purpose is as important as keeping your eyes on the road—and the customer happy.
Jeff Heilman covers business, marketing, law and travel for a range of custom and trade publications. Also an award-winning photographer and copywriter, he ghostwrote Courageous Counsel, a book on the history of women general counsel in the Fortune 500, published September 2011.