Automotive Digital Marketing

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Automotive Social Media Marketing Provides Opportunities to Influence Decision Makers

Automotive Marketers Gain Valuable Influence with Social Networks, but Still Struggle with ROI Measurements and Reputation Management Policies

Automotive Digital Marketers at all levels of the car business may be gaining influence within the vertical and within their own organizations, thanks to their early adoption and continued use of social media. A new survey by the Creative Group found that more than six in 10 (61%) U.S. automotive marketing and advertising executives believes that marketing teams within supplier, OEM and dealer organizations have greater influence on business decisions now than they did three years ago, in part because of their leading-edge use of social media.

Two-thirds of automotive marketers have used social media in 2009 and half have used viral videos, making these two formats the fastest-growing tactics in marketing, according to a survey from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), BtoB Magazine and ‘mktg’.

Despite the growing adoption throughout the auto industry's various Tier 1, 2 and 3 organizations, automotive marketers do not think they are using these media in the most effective ways and are still struggling with measurement and media budget allocation issues. The top concerns for marketers when considering newer media platforms are the inability to prove ROI (45%) and worries about not having metrics to properly allocate the mix of traditional and digital media (43%).

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is one of the latest brands to use social media in a major campaign. Hoping to expand its brand perception by many consumers as being primarily a "Truck Company", the car company is preparing the market for its launch of the new 2011 Ford Fiesta B segment compact car under a social marketing initiative named "Fiesta Movement". Campaigns include a Facebook presence which invites users to create their own Fiesta content and upload it to the site. And Google has released several gadgets, similar in look and feel to the types of apps found on Facebook, to further enhance the iGoogle homepage experience. Choices range from Fiesta Movement "Agent" blog feeds to what's playing on Youtube.

What are Fiesta Movement Agents? Last spring, Ford selected 100 bloggers to each receive an advance release of the 2011 Ford Fiesta in exchange for their bi-weekly execution of "Fiesta Movement Missions". Each blogger who received a new Fiesta in exchange for their execution of these Fiesta Movement Missions is known as a "Fiesta Movement Agent".

according to a study by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, more than 70% of automotive marketing, management and advertising executives plan to increase the use of social media within their company and its affiliates. This same study goes on to report that more than 80% say they are concerned about reputation management and branding risks, and that their company and distribution and sales partners (read as "dealers") do not have policies or training in place to avert reputation management mishaps, .

There is little doubt that the use of social media in automotive marketing and advertising campaigns will be increasing rapidly during the next 24 months. However, in similar fashion to the Internet Sales training initiatives first launched by AutoByTel's use of the iNet training organization in 1997 and then led by car companies, such as Ford's partnership with the HAC Group's Cyber Car Internet Sales Management consulting team in 1999, there will be a lengthy learning curve for car dealers. What remains to be seen is which car company will take the lead in providing their dealers with the training and resources that could become a competitive advantage by leveraging the incredible growth in consumer use of social medias and User Generated Content, such as web based dealership reviews and ratings posted by consumers.

Most auto industry observers and social marketing experts have identified Ford as the leading car company in the use of social media marketing and online reputation management. Led by Ford's social marketing "Czar", Scott Monty, Ford has taken an early lead in the use of Social Marketing and Reputation Management. Several Ford dealers have reported seeing a recent report prepared by the Ogilvy Agency which researched and identified ten Ford dealers who are leading their Tier 3 segment in effective use of social media. However, there has yet to be a national training program to educate any brand of dealers from any car company in respect to automotive social marketing and reputation management.

Obviously, this situation will be changing in the near future... The only question is which car company will take the lead by being the first to announce such a dealer training initiative... Will it be Ford? Or will Ford allow another car company such as Toyota, Honda or Nissan to snatch away its early lead in social media by deploying thousands of dealership based online agents to blog and comment their way into social media leadership? Or, will General Motors use some of their5 billions in taxpayer funded cash reserves to create an army of social marketers from the ranks of over 3,000 GM brand car dealerships? Or... Will Ford secure their current leadership position established through the vision, leadership and strategies of Scott Monty to provide their 3,000 plus dealers with the know-how, tools and resources to become a legion of social marketing agents connected to their respective local communities through social networks and UGC sites?

I predict that 2010 will be a break through year for the automotive Tier 3 segment and its use of Social Marketing and Reputation Management. My team at ADP Digital Marketing has been piloting and partnering with several progressive dealership organization to develop a "Hub and Spoke" strategy. Through our partnerships with these dealers, we have seen positive and encouraging results. It is my intent to follow the lead of visionaries such as Scott Monty to develop the resources and tools that ADP Digital Marketing can supply to dealers and car companies which will help implement, manage and report on their progress in utilizing a whole new set of marketing strategies that address Social Marketing and Reputation Management.


About the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

The Automotive Digital Marketing (ADM) Professional Community website is built on a perpetually growing"Viral Expansion Loop" Networking Platform and serves Car Dealers, Dealership General Managers and their management teams, including Internet Sales Managers, BDC Managers, Marketing Managers, Sales Managers, Service Managers, Service Advisers, Parts Managers, Fixed Operations Directors and their teams. Launched at the beginning of January 2008, ADM has emerged as a valuable and proven resource for the entire spectrum of automotive marketing and Internet sales related professionals. Interactive Media and eCommerce Professionals at car companies (OEM) and tier 1 and 2 advertising agencies who want to see, hear and read what the best Digital and Interactive Marketing professionals in the automotive industry have to say about relevant and timely topics visit ADM on a regular basis or subscribe to the many RSS feeds and content syndication services available within the ADM community.

Did you know there are now over 2,100 members on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you reached out to connect with important ADM member contacts by asking them to be your Friend?

Did you know that there are over 4,000 photos listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
And, do you know that many of these images are actually charts and graphs of the latest marketing trends and research? Did you know that many of these photos are actual ads used by dealers that worked exceptionally well? There have been over 4,000 photos uploaded and made available for use by all ADM members.

Did you know that there are more than 750 videos on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you seen how many of those videos are actual examples of marketing campaigns and business processes used successfully by some of the leading and most successful dealers in America?

Did you know that there are over 500 blog posts on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
When was the last time you posted a blog entry and let important ADM industry professionals know what you are up to? Have you checked ADM for the latest articles published by writers who walk the talk? Members have created more than 500 blog posts within their ADM provided websites that feature online file storage and personalized blog hosting at no cost to ADM members.

Did you know that there are over 500 forum topics on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you checked the forum lately to see what your associates, clients and colleagues are saying?
Have you posted a forum discussion to see what other professionals have to say about the topic?

There have been over 500 discussions started and still active with ongoing comments and information being published daily within the ADM Forum.

Did you know that there are more than 25 professional groups on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you joined any groups so that you can send messages to all other group members?

Did you know that there are Important Upcoming Automotive Digital Marketing Events listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you posted what you or your organization considers to be important upcoming events on the ADM calendar so that other professionals will know about them, consider attending and register their intent? ADM members can create calendar events using the ADM site application that allows image and logos, links to registration pages, location maps that integrate with Google Maps, Outlook Calendar integration, invitation mailings using uploaded email lists, RSVP tracking and event management features and a whole lot more.

Did you know that there are more than 500 MP3 audio files on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you checked out what other automotive professionals are listening to?
Did you know that many of these MP3 files are automotive marketing and Internet sales best practice Podcasts, and examples of highly effective radio spots, along with powerful and engaging dealer website soundtracks?

If you are interested in visiting and perhaps joining the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community, go to:

ADM was created to serve as a resource for Automotive Internet Sales and Marketing Professionals working in the digital and interactive media space for dealers with automotive franchises, car companies and the associated suppliers and technology providers serving the auto industry. Both OEM and Dealer associates are among ADM's most prolific members.

To learn more about the Automotive Social Marketing and Reputation Management Solutions from Ralph Paglia and the ADP Digital Marketing Team, please copy and paste this sentence into the text box at the bottom of your completed online form available by clicking on the image below:

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Tags: Automotive Marketers, Automotive Social Media, Social Marketing, automotive Decision Makers, car dealer social marketing


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