Over the past few years, the automobile industry has really discovered the power of mobile marketing. It's not uncommon to see companies such as Ford using everything from text message campaigns to developing their own mobile app in order to generate leads, convert customers, and build brand awareness. But how does all of it work? And more importantly, how can you begin to use mobile marketing for your own business? Here are three of the techniques used by major automobile manufacturers, along with why such strategies resonate well with the modern customer.
One of the most practical applications for automobile marketing is the use of QR codes. By placing QR code stickers on the front windshields of vehicles at a dealership, automobile manufacturers empower customers to scan the code with their smartphone and discover more information. This information is usually delivered via a website with all of the pertinent details about the vehicle. As a form of mobile marketing, this works well because customers appreciate that the company has saved them time. The company has also removed some of the perceived pressure of asking a salesman for details about the vehicle. Instead, the customer can research this potential purchase at their own pace. Finally, it makes the customer an active part of the process: rather than just passively listening to a sales pitch, the customer is invited to play an active part of this research and discovery, which builds excitement and sets the dealership apart from its competition.
Ford experienced great success when they attempted a very novel SMS campaign. They took out a series of print advertisements imploring customers to text "FORD" to a certain number to receive additional information about Ford's different vehicles. The autoresponder then asked the customer what kind of vehicle he was interested in and what his ZIP code was. Customers who did not complete this process received follow-up texts to provide the missing information and to visit their local dealer to discover additional deals regarding the vehicle they are interested in. They offered to provide information about even more deals so long as customers provided the rest of their information. Ultimately, the campaign was a success, as it led to a conversion rate of 15.4%. This was a successful way of using text message as a form of remarketing and converting those customers who initially expressed interest in the product but, for whatever reason, did not initially provide all of their information.
The smartphone is a crucial part of users' daily lives. According to interesting research by Google, the average person will only visit a car dealership twice in their lifetime. Nonethless, "one in four purchasers use mobile every day to research vehicles." Many automobile manufacturers have attempted to create different means of mobile marketing to lure customers in. One of the most engaging ways to do so is to actually create a custom app. The app provides a number of advantages: the experience is deeper and more engaging for the customer, and it gives your company an additional marketing channel. Most importantly, it offers an opportunity to provide demonstrable value to customers. While customers may be wary of something they see as "only" selling a product, the app is an opportunity to provide them relevant information about the vehicles and offers they are interested in. Continuously providing this kind of useful content helps keep the customer aware of your brand and makes you likelier to be their first choice when it comes to purchasing an automobile.