Video I shot and edited for @Ford Online covering the Cobra Jet preview event. Video was shot with a Sony HDR-SR12 and was edited using Final Cut Pro.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about the 57 million users using their mobile phone to connect to the internet and asked what people were doing about making sure their website was usable in a mobile version to help increase their conversion rates. My question now is, will your mobile marketing plan also include consideration for integration within a vehicle?
Some marketers know that one component to add into a mobile marketing plan is the creation of a mobile app to run on devices like iPhones, Blackberrys, Palm phones, or Android equipped phones. Having an app is just one way to give a consumer increased access to a company’s services as well as increase a company’s brand recognition. According to studies, apps are also in high demand by consumers. Nielson reported that in the second quarter of 2009, there were 40 million app downloads and the industry as a whole has had approximately 3 billion downloads altogether. Looking at this surge of use, where is the app for your company?
After asking that, my next question is what happens to your app and mobile marketing plan when technology shakes things up again? Ford did this earlier this week at the 2010 CES. They announced that the next generation of SYNC and their new MyFord Touch or MyLincoln Touch technology would allow mobile apps running the new SYNC API to be used by the system. As a quick backgrounder, SYNC allows drivers to use voice control access different services and features such as navigation, traffic, and hands-free calling by the system tapping into driver’s smartphone. With the upgrade of SYNC and the addition of MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch, a driver’s favorite apps that are equipped with the SYNC API are now able to enjoy the same hands-free control. The first apps to take advantage of this are Pandora, Stitcher, and OpenBeak. That’s right, Internet radio and Twitter right in your car via voice-control while you’re driving.
So now I ask, how does this change your app strategy? Knowing that a mobile user would be able to use your app safely while driving around, would you create something for this? As a grocery store, would you create a SYNC enabled app that allows a customer to create a shopping list while they drove to your store? As an electronics store, would you create an app that allowed them to compare the different specs on TVs while they headed over to get one? For language training software, would you create an app that allows a customer to access all of their lessons during their morning commute? The possibilities are literally limitless for application of this technology. The question, though, is what are you going to do with it and your mobile marketing campaign?
In case you would like to view more information about the new SYNC API, the video below is a portion of the 2010 CES Keynote presentation where Ford introduces it.
Full disclosure: While Internet marketing and social media are his hobbies and potential future career field, Brad currently works for Ford as the Video Coordinator for Employee Communications, Broadcast Operations, and Public Affairs.
As social media and social networking have grown dramatically over the past few years, it seems that many businesses are falling behind the trend and finding it terribly difficult to figure out how to use these new tools to reach customers. One of the main reasons for this, I believe, is because social media requires a very dramatic shift in how they communicate to their customers and even their employees.
In the past, previous versions of marketing tools and plans required only that the company come up with a catchy jingle or entertaining commercial. This information was directed to consumers, and even employees, in a one way direction. The company makes the message. The company then sends the message to a distribution tool such as TV or radio. Then consumers receive the messages. There was not much they could do to communicate back to the company or even look for advice outside of their close circle of friends. Sure there were the sales people, but could you really trust them since they were trying to sell you a product? Employee communications were not that different in that a company would have a message or idea it wanted its employees to think/feel, and so it gave it to them.
With the increased use of the Internet and invention of social networking, a review of a company or product is just a few clicks away. A consumer can read reviews, commentary, blogs, or even Tweets from people they may never have met from all over the world and make a decision based on what everyone is saying. Employees can communicate the love or disgust of their company with friends and countless others. Seeing this, businesses have begun to see that this is an area that they need to be involved with. However, if the interaction is done poorly, within hours the attempt can sometimes end up needing brand damage control.
Say, for example, that you have a company that has decided to embrace this new format for communication because you deem it important to be apart of it. So you setup a Twitter account and begin broadcasting all the great things about your company to the world. People message you or make comments, but you ignore them because they are not directly related to the ad you’re about to post. After a few weeks, you’re wondering why it isn’t working, why you have so few followers, and sales haven’t increased. Why did this happen? Because even though you were using the new tools, your communication habits never changed and you were still using one-way communication.
In their book Trust Agents, authors Chris Brogen and Jukien Smith talk about Robert Scoble. In case you are not familiar with Robert, he was an employee at Microsoft back in 2004. What made him so different is that on his blog he not only talked about the good things that were going on, he offered open commentary that would often put competitive companies and products in a better light than Microsoft. He also freely requested people’s comments and even posted his personal cell for people to call if the had questions. This kind of openness and transparency led people to openly trust him and just about everything that he said. Why? Because he wasn’t just promoting the company he worked for. He was giving honest opinions, both good and bad. This is what developed the trust of all the people following his blog. How transparent is your company?
As you may or may not know, I currently work for Ford Motor Company in the Employee Communications area coordinating all of the video production and video scheduling. One thing that has really impressed me during my time at Ford has been their openness to honestly communicate what is going on with the company and how we are all doing to both employees and customers. This type of transparency, I believe, goes a really long way in not only keeping employee morale high, but also develops that all important trust with employees and customers. In a recent interview I recorded with Mark Fields, President of The Americas for Ford, he talked about the importance of being transparent and authentic with your employees and customers to build trust.
So how is your business doing? Has it openly embraced social networking and pursuing that active, two-way communication/relationship with its employees and customers? Or is it still trying to dictate a message that may be falling on deaf ears?