- Marketing is digital science
The marketing profession has changed more in the past two years than over the past four decades. And it is digital marketing technology that is responsible for it. In whatever marketing discipline you are, the pace of change in technology and marketing will continue to increase. There were days, when marketing executives of car brands handed over some money to an advertising / media agency and then went back to playing golf in anticipation of great marketing and sales success. If that was your style, I have news for you: Those days are gone forever. However, for those marketers who love their job, there could not be a better time. The role of the CMO is bigger and better than ever. Whether it is in mobile, social, analytics, site development or agile planning, the new digital marketing developments propel an accelerating clock speed in marketing. It is the new normal. In 2013 we covered for instance the changing medialandscape and how digital marketing tool can help you save up to 20% of budget. We also found that you were all highly interested in our question if Snapchat (November 29th and October 23rd) is a suitable social media platform for marketing cars. Honda USA rose up to the challenge and was the first car brand to embrace the platform with a small scale test.
- Final breakthrough of electric vehicles
What developments will we see in propulsion technology? In 2013 it became clear that electric engines are here to stay. Whether they are powered by abattery, by a
fossil fuel range extender or even by a hydrogen fuel cell, an electric motor has many advantages over a conventional drivetrain. Such as fewer parts, smaller size and seemingly limitless torque. Journalists gave the Porsche 918 Spyder plug in hybrid and the McLaren P1, also a plug in hybrid, a warm welcome. Including those were writing previously that there is no alternative for the raw power of for instance a supercharged high volume V8. They had to admit that electricity with its high torque can provide a sports car experience. The BMW i8, electric sports car,
was definitely one of the major revelations of the IAA motor show in September. Every major manufacturer now has an electric or a plug in electric car in its line up or has it at least announced something electric.
Here is our overview of the EV news.
- Autonomous driving
As an automotive marketer it could not go unnoticed for you this year: autonomous driving was on the agendas everywhere. Will Google step into the car business or not? And in the summer, normally a somewhat lame period in the car industry for making big announcements, the PR departments of a.o. Volvo, Nissan, BMW, Tesla and Mercedes, were battling for the claim that their brand will be the first to bring autonomous driving to the market. VW draw some attention to itself with US CEO Jonathan Browning announcing that autonomous will remain something for a minority. Click here for all our articles on autonomous driving, covering the problems in legislation, the impact on cities, the human factor and
the disruption autonomous cars might bring to society in autonomous vehicles will steal your job, but that is ok.
- New mobility concepts
Compared to previous generations, Millennials seem to have some different habits. One of these is that Generation Y (Millennials) doesn’t seem to enjoy purchasing and owning things. Now this “ownership shift” is not restricted to Millennials. We favor the huge choice in Spotify and a monthly subscription fee over owning a CD album collection. 2013 was the year in which we saw some tipping point for this trend in the automotive industry. For Millennials it is not the ultimate thing to own a vehicle anymore. They are not anti-car, but they just love cars for their functionality. I.e. bring them to different location. 2013 saw the rise of car sharing platforms. For instance Snapp car expanded fast, Greenwheels was bought by a VW importer and is expenading to the rest of Europe, Daimler has it stake in the succesful Car2go, Toyota announced a car specially designed for car sharing – the i-road. Nissan experimented with the proposition that if you buy a Leaf EV, you can use an SUV for your vacation. BMW made a similar offer for the i3.
- The rise of brand stores
Automotive manufacturers traditionally rely on dealers to sell their cars. The vast
majority of the dealers are independent of the car brand, whether they are a large chain or a mom & pop business. Dealerships owned by the manufacturer do exist, but they are an exception to the rule. The independency of the dealers, the nature of the car business, the many variants in dealer locations result in most brands not having a hard-franchising strategy when it comes to the looks of their dealerships. The consistency in branding and looks of a location found at retail chains, for instance H&M, McDonalds, Apple Store is simply not present in automotive. Car
brands often try, but the execution seldomly has the consistency found elsewhere.
Skoda announced this week a new brand identity for their dealers, maybe they can get it right. Some car brands do take control however. The solution for consistent branding seems to be in opening brand owned innercity stores. In 2012 we saw the opening of Audi and Mercedes stores in London. In 2013 Tesla opened stores in major cities in Norway, in London, Brussels, and Frankfurt. The consistency in branding is unprecedented in automotive. In April we posted some photos of the Tesla store in San José, CA. Now compare those to their premises in London.
Without a doubt the trends in this top 5 of 2013 are a part of tendencies, that will continue in 2014. Therefor, stay tuned: Also in the new year we will bring you regular updates. Season’s greetings and a wonderful 2014!