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Driving Success Digitally

18 Oct, 2010 By: Jackie Jones Response

It doesn’t take a trip to the dealership for consumers to test out a new car anymore — a fact manufacturers are keenly aware of. By embracing direct response, auto marketers are engaging more consumers through the digital space and seeing the results in-store.


The Road Ahead

Like many in the DR space, mobile is becoming an increasingly important factor for future auto marketing efforts. To reach consumers in an ever-changing technological culture that is always on the go, mobile is gaining traction.

“The obvious and dramatic expansion of smart phones has allowed people to have access to Internet content and information on the go more than ever, and you’re going to see that trend accelerate as the networks get faster. You have to be where your customers are, and as those mobile capabilities get better, we want to be there,” says Schoonover of Kia, which is planning to release a mobile app next year giving consumers the ability to schedule maintenance appointments with dealerships and stay involved in Kia-centered social events.

BMW also plans to release enhanced capabilities for the iPhone and Blackberry in the near future, and Buick continues to push mobile advertising and applications.

“It’s important for us to pursue digital and other emerging avenues of marketing so that people think of Buick in a more progressive manner,” Bierley says. “We think there’s a value in leading in things like the iPod and other mobile computing avenues and handheld devices. We’ve got a number of things in the works, and we’ll continue to pursue new ideas.”

Walker of J.D. Power and Associates says consumers will continue to seek out the same information from auto manufacturers in the future. But as digital technology advances, marketers must stay up to date on how they deliver that content.

“Those four categories (content, navigation, appearance and speed) haven’t changed much in the last few years even if Web sites have changed a lot,” she says. “However, consumer expectations of these categories have changed. Auto manufacturers need to continue to raise the bar on how to deliver certain content, and how quickly.” n

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