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How Can Auto Industry Tap in to Mobile-Device Marketing?

Source: Auto Remarketing
LAS VEGASThe ever-growing presence of mobile phone technology — and many consumers' penchant to stay connected at all times — presents auto marketers with unique opportunities to expand their reach of potential customers, connect with shoppers more quickly and often, and deliver more specific information throughout the purchasing process, according to a presentation at the recently held 2009 J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Internet Roundtable.

One of these advancements in mobile-phone technology has been smartphone devices, whose popularity continues to build in the U.S.

Officials noted that many smartphone users are likely to keep their devices close by at all times, viewing them as an extension of their Internet use on personal computers.

This type of technology brings both challenges and opportunities to the auto industry, officials said. For instance, although tapping into this communication avenue requires a continuous investment on the part of auto marketers, it also allows them the opportunity to become part of mobile-device users' "circle of trust" by building an engaging mobile-Web presence.

"Mobile gives marketers the chance to reach more shoppers, more often, in more places and to push specific information to shoppers right up to the point of sale," explained Jason Ezell, founder and national account director of Dealerskins.

"If you can get into their circle of trust that is their mobile device, you have much more of a direct link to prospective customers from day one of shopping all the way to the day of purchase," he added.

To help auto industry professionals maximize mobile-device marketing, experts at the conference offered key tips.

For instance, they emphasized that the information sent to consumers on their mobile devices must be respectful and relevant. This may include ad listings, payment calculators, maps, directions and dealer contact information, all of which could be particular useful to shoppers.

Also, video and scalable banner ads are "particularly engaging" to mobile users. Paying attention to consumer feedback can be especially useful in increasing return visits to mobile Web sites.

Additionally, text messaging — when built into an overall campaign — can be helpful in sending out reminders as well as gaining responses from mobile users.

Experts noted that text messaging can be used to help motivate shoppers to stop by for a test drive, and is typically only 15 percent of what it costs to use more traditional media.

They also advised that when auto marketers gather e-mail addresses from shoppers, it is important to ask if the address is for a mobile address. That way, marketers can send them mobile-only offers and keep track of their mobile-device audience.

"Mobile is the connector that allows OEMs to take viewers from being passive to active," shared Charlie Taylor, general manager of digital marketing and motorsports at Volkswagen of America.

"As the mobile device experience becomes richer, people decide they don't want to live without certain features or content from a brand, which creates a barrier to exit," he continued. "We may see the development of more in-dash features that interface with mobile apps that keep owners engaged beyond the point of purchase."

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Comment by James Easter on January 5, 2011 at 4:40pm
I use my iPhone just as much or more than my iPad or other computer. Mobi sites & mobile marketing are becoming more & more critical as the months go by. Thanks for the article.
Comment by Ron Harber on October 23, 2009 at 8:31am
Agreed, I appreciate your comments. Kelley has placed a termendous amount of emphasis on this technology. Personally I use the browser and GPS in my BlackBerry more than my PC...Have a great weekend Steven!

Comment by Steven Moore on October 23, 2009 at 5:36am
This is the going to be the fastest growing area of search. Google and Microsoft are all over it. This area has already affect my household. My wife walks into the mall and uses her I-phone and see what stores in the mall are having on sale. She says this is saving us money. HA It maybe a while but maybe she will think this is the way to get her next car. Very Cool area for marketing for sure- add in Augmented Reality, hyperlocal, social recommendations, even social game play into the mix... Nice post enjoyed it...

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