Road Ahead 04.2008

Jean Halliday reported in Advertising Age that GM, bell cow of the auto industry’s annual advertising expenditure ($9.42 billion in 2007) is shifting fully half of its $3 billion budget into digital and one-to-one marketing within the next three years. She notes: “…a pattern is developing among automakers whereby TV and print are deployed for launches in order to raise awareness, while more of the continuous branding and sales activity shifts online — as automakers and many of their dealers accept that the purchase process increasingly begins, and sometimes even effectively ends, on the internet.”

However, as Gavin O’Malley reported in Online Media Daily, a Canadian research firm found social media users put far more trust in friends and family than popular bloggers.  Overall, the study concluded: ”social media remains chiefly a mode of communication and personal expression, rather than a source of credible information.”

In another Advertising Age report, Tom Neveril stresses the importance of communicating within the consumers’  “story” (his or her interests).   And, as Jeff Welch blogged “Consumers Don’t Care About the New Media-Old Media Battle.   Authenticity is our only hope. …I’d spend a lot less time (as a communicator) listening to coastal big shots talk about how they can reach your audience with the latest technology or the biggest green idea and a lot more time talking to insiders at the local coffee shop on Main Street.”  A reasonable conclusion: Auto writers who succeed in developing a friendly relation with their readers will prevail in any medium.