Ford does not want to continue with the old approach to new vehicle launches and is planning to center on social media for their marketing of new vehicles worldwide.
They’re feeling the pressure in an industry where many brands are maneuvering for domination of the social media space. To pull away from the crowd, it is changing the way it builds excitement for its new vehicles.
Ford is indicating that they want to shift from using primary media and shift to storytelling through social media like Face book and Twitter. The traditional style for most auto companies has been advertisements for new vehicles in primary media like car magazines, newspapers, television and radio commercials.
Now Ford believes that social media will support that excitement over a longer period of time for a larger group of people. Word of mouth is Ford’s focus and so influencers rather than paid media or ads are how it wants to get its story in front of the buyers.
Working with social media is easier said than done; with traditional media you have control over the content and pretty much know who will be seeing your story. Readerships and viewers are mostly known but with social media you can still control the content but have no way of controlling who views or reads your story.
Ford have had some success and recently and racked up 1.7 million views on Twitter of a stunt driver demonstrating the new Ford Focus RS racing around one of Ford’s factories.
The traditional media spend in most cases was a fairly straightforward formula, you worked out what costs would be and balanced that against the orders that came in. This was your return on your marketing dollar.
With social media Ford are saying it’s a bit like putting your finger in the air and trying to figure out which way the wind’s blowing, therefore it’s not always about how many orders you produce. Working with social media is more about creating early awareness and people thinking that this Ford could be a vehicle for somebody like me. Ford sees that as the challenge.
Ford has made a decision to shift more of its marketing budget into digital channels and come up with more visually arresting content that does not take a long time to digest. Ford will use social media later this year to show a six-part documentary series that demonstrates how the Focus RS came together.
Ford is committed to working on developing its vehicles around specific social networks, complete with their own content calendars. Too bad if you own a newspaper, magazine or TV network.