The U.S. auto industry is growing at an astonishing pace.
For car brands, this means lots of competition.
Google’s study states that an average car buyer visits about two dealerships before finding their desired vehicle.
Therefore, to grab people’s attention and get them to buy from you, you need to have a solid digital marketing strategy that will help you stand out in the sea of similar businesses.
Given that, it’s not surprising at all that the automotive industry is forecast to spend $14 billion on digital advertising.
Here are a few super-creative digital marketing campaigns used by businesses in the auto industry that may serve as your inspiration.
In 2015, Chevrolet decided to make April Fools’ Day the #BestDayEver. Namely, the company’s idea was to attract younger audiences and boost their interest in their new car models.
They partnered up with multiple influencers and prepared a plethora of multi-location surprises for their target audiences. For example, Kelly Clarkson performed a surprise concert for new moms in Los Angeles. Alec Baldwin and Olivia Wilde surprised college students as substitute teachers. All events were streamed in real-time on YouTube and were hosted by Jon Dore, who informed digital audiences about the most exciting moments.
The aim of the campaign was simple – to demonstrate unique surprises all across the country, engage people across multiple channels and locations, boost brand awareness, and above all, provide new opportunities for future relationships.
They used a popular holiday known for positive energy and pranks to delight customers in a unique way. This way, the good old Chevy sent the message that they’re shaking things up and positioned their brand as innovative, youthful, and positive.
#BestDayEver was an immense success, generating 1.4 billion social media impressions, 9.7 million video views, and the highest website traffic of the year. Above all, 98% of people’s perceptions of the campaign were positive.
Today’s customers are tech-savvy. Aware of the multitude of internet resources, online reviews, and customer testimonials, they’re performing solid research before making purchasing decisions.
And, Porsche is aware of that.
They decided to launch the Virtually Porsche campaign in 2016 in order to give customers an opportunity to be fully immersed in their brand. Namely, Porsche built a virtual reality app, allowing their prospective customers to experience their new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. Through the app, they documented the entire filming process and showcased the “making-of” experience with car enthusiasts.
Understanding that not everyone can afford innovative VR technologies, they also designed 5000 Porsche-branded Google Cardboard viewers that were wrapped into faux leather, similar to the soft leather used in their vehicles. By placing their phone on the cardboard viewer, users could instantly test drive the Panamera model in immersive and exciting VR surroundings.
Unsurprisingly, they gained 2.2x more virtual test drives, compared to physical ones.
Through the campaign, Porsche proved that smart technologies like AI and VR are helping us engage customers and build stronger relationships with them. This is immensely important in the automotive industry, where brand awareness and customer perceptions play an immensely important role in the buying process.
We’re living in the era of high transparency, where customers are not embarrassed to voice their opinions of brands publicly. Moreover, they rely on their peers’ comments, testimonials, and reviews when making buying decisions. Luckily, staying on top of customer conversations has never been simpler. Brands can now use social media monitoring tools and similar platforms to track brand mentions and turn them to our advantage.
This is exactly what Mini’s gorgeous Not Normal campaign proved.
As one of the most popular auto brands out there, Mini Cooper focuses on building a strong brand identity on social networks. Just look at their Instagram account and you will see that each post is backed by a great story, packed with excitement, authenticity, warmth and, above all, humor.
Namely, the idea behind the campaign was to identify Mini’s brand ambassadors and discover the user-generated content they share with the public. They later used their loyal customers’ photos and videos for the purposes of their campaign. Customers could also upload photos of their Mini Cooper cars to the brand’s Tumblr account or share a post publicly, with the #MININOTNORMAL hashtag.
By encouraging user-generated content, this popular brand triggered the feelings of loyalty and emphasized a strong relationship between a driver and their car models.
This is yet another campaign that generated a massive success. They earned 29,420 new followers and engaged 230,000 customers in their social media posts.
What you can learn from these three powerful digital marketing campaigns in the auto industry is that, today, it’s not enough to say that you’re the best. A new customer wants you to prove that through storytelling, new technologies, and user-generated content.
Sure, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to implement. Each of these three campaigns had completely different goals.
Chevrolet wanted to build buzz around their brand and attract younger audiences. Porsche’s idea was to attract wider audiences and boost their excitement through immersive VR technologies. Mini Cooper, on the other hand, focused on building customers’ trust and nurturing strong relationships through user-generated content.
Therefore, when marketing your brand online, you should keep experimenting and testing your campaigns to find out what resonates with your audiences.
Hope this helps!