Hyundai's Super Mobile Sunday1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response
Eric d'Ablaing and Patricia Romero say the automaker's successful mobile DR campaign during Super Bowl XLII played an important role in seeding the $80 million marketing launch for the new Genesis sedan.
Mobile Answers the DR Call
The latest step to bolstering Hyundai's image is the new Genesis, which is designed to compete with models from such luxury brands as Lexus, BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes. The company has maximized its technology and innovation in this single car, which Romero says shouldn't be a surprise.
"It's interesting because when consumers think of the Hyundai brand, they may not always think of innovation and technology," she says. "Yet that's really what we're about — for everything from our product line up to the technology in our vehicles."
She contends that the company's marketing strategy mirrors those concepts. "One of the things we're trying to do from the marketing standpoint is to try to take this technology aspect that is prevalent throughout the company and the brand and take it to the marketing mix," Romero says.
That idea is what brought mobile marketing to the table as a crucial direct response tool. "We really wanted to be one of the innovators as far as mobile marketing," Romero avers. "Marketers are still tiptoeing their way through this mobile space, somewhat wary. The technology's not 100-percent there. The fragmentation of the carriers is an issue. But we really wanted to be at the forefront. It was really critical for us to delve that into the mix, make sure we were present and touching the consumer where they are at."
D'Ablaing points to the statistics when asked, "Why mobile?" He says, "There are about 3.5 billion mobile phone users. There are about 1.5 billion people that have access to a TV and about 1 billion to a computer for the Internet — mobile is the closest to instant gratification a consumer can have. "
Romero agrees. "Mobile penetration is much higher than Internet penetration," she adds. "To be able to work out the kinks of mobile technology and mobile marketing while everybody else is still in the exploration stage was crucial to us. We want to be the first to market in the space."
Still, while both Hyundai executives tout mobile, they are realistic about its current role in any campaign — and its drawbacks as a new medium. "The No. 1 thing is, as with any medium, it's still not a standalone," d'Ablaing says. "It complements all the avenues, which include the general market: TV, out-of-home and print ... you're going to have to find where that marketing mix is without turning off the consumer. You can't just send a text message blast. Instantly, you can turn off a lot of consumers to the brand."
Romero adds, "It really goes back to the true intent of direct response — to form a relationship with a consumer. And you're not going to do that by being intrusive or irrelevant, whether it's the media itself, or it's the message once you get to the correct media ... Integration is a very critical point because, these days, if you're not interfacing at every single touchpoint, a campaign can't be truly successful."
At the same time, d'Ablaing had to dovetail his work on the Genesis mobile campaign with Hyundai's customer relationship management (CRM) division, which is responsible for handling the direct consumer relationships created by any Hyundai campaign. It's a symbiotic relationship and one that helps build DR's importance across all marketing within HMA.
"What we do in the Internet and digital area is capture the audience," he says. "Once they've opted in, that information is handed off to the CRM group. They go about the strategy. It's hand-in-hand — what do we want to communicate? With the Super Bowl campaign, our goal was to get the hand-raisers, so that way we can communicate with them, get them into the vehicle as soon as it arrives at the showroom for a test drive. We are trying to change the perception of where Hyundai is really going."