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Mobile & The Automotive Industry

AppleI recently spoke at an IAB NZ Mobile Marketing seminar on our learnings around mobile in the automotive industry and thought I’d write a post on the points I talked to.

Vehicles are a high value purchase and as such the research phase of the purchase is quite drawn out, with people consulting many different sources. Online platforms are becoming a large part of this, whether it’s Google, manufacturers websites or various auction sites, people do their research before stepping onto the dealers lot. These platforms are great as they allow us to serve up a depth of information on the cars in a visual and engaging way and deliver experiences that can’t be had anywhere else.

Now there is no doubt that people are adapting to living in a more connected and mobile world and changing their behaviours as such. The old context of someone leaning forward in front of a computer is changing as the new context sees mobile connectivity and a wide variety of devices allowing people to delve in and out of content when and where they want. This is especially prevelant in the automotive industry, as our brands are omnipresent. People are constantly exposed to vehicles driving by, billboards and our above the line advertising, so for people with a keen interest such as influencers and early adopters, any brand exposure could cause them to want to search for information. The mobile is the only device that will always be with them when this occurs. In short, it’s that theory of always on retail – we want people to have a positive experience of the brand when & where they want it.

As expected we have been seeing a marked increase in traffic to our website via mobile over the last 12 months and it’s important to deliver these people the key information they want in an easy to use way that is optimised for the device they are experiencing it on. Whilst mobile is still a fractured market both in terms of hardware and software, there are clearly two stars at this point in iOS and Android, followed by the rest. In terms of development this means you can narrow your focus for crucial platform support. It will be interesting to see how the market evolves and consolidates over time. Much like when the internet was in it’s infancy, once a few players gain scale it will be easier to manage delivering content.

So once we’d identified we needed to be in the mobile space, we began by looking at what were the most important functions for a potential vehicle buyer whilst on the go and identified:

-model information

-booking a test drive

-finding a dealer

-roadside assist

-special deals

We wanted to ensure we were delivering the most important features whilst maintaining a rich experience & depth of information in a mobile optimised format.

To help with conversion even further we can use them to connect people with Mazda and our dealer networks to drive enquiries and test drives.

The recession has caused an increased trend in price competitiveness through incentivised pricing, which has bred a new value conscious shopper who is careful to compare prices to make sure they are getting the best deal. This has meant that people are increasingly comparing prices at the pointing end of the path to purchase and the mobile is the most convenient and ever present device to do this with. This extends to instore comparisons at a dealer level, people may be checking out a car and want to compare another or simply find out further information on the car they are looking at.

Finally, it’s become clear that using digital and mobile platforms we can extend the content available to people across all our other media for qualified leads.

Alex

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