A Trial In Digital Marketing
Each day automakers search for innovative ways to influence buyers. Marketers continue to improve their ability to coordinate digital into their traditional campaigns. Why is digital important? Simply put – today’s technology allows marketers to be flexible, accurate, engaging and measurable. The average American has an incredible array of tech constantly at their fingertips, each of which create a new challenges (losing viewers) and new opportunities (gaining new viewers)
Below are two concepts I had combining technology and automotive marketing.
This weekend I looked over Ford’s in-house social media platform – dubbed Ford Social. Much like its title, it’s a platform that allows people to share their stories, experiences and ideas with the brand. Users can also opt to select from an assortment of Ford-branded badges to represent their lifestyle or passion as it relates to Ford’s product offerings. Everything you do on Ford Social can be easily shared with your online friends through traditional social media, such as Facebook or Twitter.
While Ford has built a strikingly good looking and user-friendly platform, it lacks a bond to the real world. As good as it is, at some point users will revert back to both real-life and their traditional social media platforms where their friends and family live.
Badge, Move Over. Meet Money
While virtual badges are fun and expressive, free stuff is considerably cooler!
Brands like Ford should take it a step further and consider creating a compensation system with tangible benefits to contributors. Think about it like a Best Buy reward zone card. Rather than gaining points for making purchases you gain Brand Money by meeting certain interactive thresholds (100 posts, 100 comments liked, resolve 10 user-generated questions, share a story with 25 friends, etc.)
This not only increases the time and frequency of members on the brands social platforms, but also creates a bridge between digital and real life. Real life being the place where influence is unrivalled.
So the next time SexyCars4Life is out with her girlfriends, instead of talking about badges from Brand X (a strange topic for real life) her Brand Racing t-shirt bought using Brand Money will do all the talking necessary.
Hey! Take the Wheel
My second idea came to me while watching TV on my Xbox via the Verizon FIOS app.
As additional content agreements are reached for the Xbox and as more users adopt Kinect, Microsoft’s hands free motion and voice activated Xbox controller, advertisers should begin to explore more creative ways to engage viewers.
Here is what I had in mind: You’re watching your favorite show. It cuts to an ad. But this isn’t your standard ad. Instead the service detects your Xbox is Kinect-equipped and displays an “in-car view” of a vehicle.
On the screen flashing before you is a set of ghosted hands appearing to grasp at the steering wheel. The tachometer revs and a countdown displays. You extend your hands as if to grab the steering wheel and the car revs again. It launches forward. A turn approaches. You move your hands turning the wheel, nearly missing a stack of tires. The sound of the car’s engine fills the room through your sound system.
The possibilities really are limitless when you combine physical devices, well thought-out gamification strategies and creative advertising. Whether it’s piloting a virtual car around the infamous Nürburgring or throwing virtual balls at stacks of motor oil bottles, both are examples of the creative possibilities advanced technology can bring to the world of digital advertising. Just so long as marketers are willing to think outside of the box. Or in this case, inside ‘the box’ (get it? Xbox).
I’m a dreamer. Not an engineer. So I don’t know if this will or even can happen. But as a consumer I want my experience with brands to be awe-inspiring. I think wildly creative ideas, even if unrealistic, are important during any CMO-driven strategy session.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how brands can work to bridge the gap between digital and real life.