LAS VEGAS, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Rapidly evolving mobile phone technology, including smartphone applications, provide an opportunity for automotive marketers to establish a valuable online presence that customers believe they can't live without, according to industry experts at the 2009 J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Internet Roundtable.
A large and growing proportion of consumers in the U.S. have smartphone devices. Smartphone users tend to keep their devices in close proximity at all times and utilize them primarily as an extension of PC Internet usage. The uniquely interactive and portable nature of mobile devices provides marketers with new challenges and opportunities. While keeping pace with evolving mobile device technology requires ongoing investment, developing an engaging mobile Web presence may also bring considerable benefits.
"Mobile gives marketers the chance to reach more shoppers, more often, in more places and to push specific information to shoppers right up to the point of sale," said Jason Ezell, founder and national account director of Dealerskins. "If you can get into their circle of trust that is their mobile device, you have much more of a direct link to prospective customers from day one of shopping all the way to the day of purchase."
Experts at the conference offered the following strategies for optimizing mobile device marketing:
- Information offered to consumers on their mobile devices needs to be both relevant and respectful. For vehicle shoppers with mobile devices, ad listings, payment calculators, maps and directions and dealer contact information are particularly useful.
- The development of rich media allows use of video and scalable banner ads, which are particularly engaging to viewers.
- To increase the chances that users will return to a mobile Web site, use consumer feedback to continually improve the mobile experience.
- When integrated into an overall campaign, text messaging is a particularly effective as a reminder medium and for eliciting responses from mobile device users. For example, through using text messaging, automotive brands and dealers may be able to bring shoppers in for test drives at 15 percent of the cost of using traditional media.
- When collecting e-mail addresses from vehicle shoppers, ask if the address is for a mobile device, in order to extend mobile-only offers and otherwise target mobile device users.
"Mobile is the connector that allows OEMs to take viewers from being passive to active," said Charlie Taylor, general manager, digital marketing and motorsports, at Volkswagen of America. "As the mobile device experience becomes richer, people decide they don't want to live without certain features or content from a brand, which creates a barrier to exit. We may see the development of more in-dash features that interface with mobile apps that keep owners engaged beyond the point of purchase."
The 2009 Automotive Internet Round Table is the most highly attended J.D. Power and Associates conferences since the event was first initiated in 1984, with nearly 900 automotive dealers and industry professionals registered.
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