The Global Head of Auto Strategy at Facebook has told B&T Facebook is not the alternative to TV, and “the majority of an automaker’s eggs should remain firmly in that basket”.
However Thomais Zaremba added “I do think a realisation needs to happen of can that medium deliver what it used to deliver and at the same level it used to before?”
Facebook’s Head of Automobile in Australia, Ted Bergeron, also added changing consumer trends meant the “spray and pray method of yesteryear no longer kept up with consumer and technology trends. One of the most major trends was marketing to women.
“In my time working for an automaker [Ford], I knew we weren’t connecting well with women as consumers. We hadn’t cracked the code. When I came out to Facebook I quickly realised it wasn’t her former employer but every motor manufacturer around the world,” Zaremba said.
This comes off the back of the traditional in-dealership sales experience being highly geared towards men.
Zaremba added it’s not only the dealerships, but it’s the whole communications process.
“There’s no contention I think this is the year of, if not the decade of, the woman. Women are digitally savvy consumers who are coming out of law school or medical school more so than men and they want to be communicated with on their terms,” she added.
Bergeron added automakers are still very much mass marketers and so there’s a lot of work to be done to win over female consumers.
He added it’s not just women but every cohort of possible car buyers, young people, old people, high net worth individuals or people who’ve just joined the workforce, who want to be addressed personally.
“We spend a lot of time of talking to car sellers about increasing the personalisation of the message and therefore increasing the propensity for that person to find your message interesting and therefore more likely to take the next step that you want,” he said.
He said relevance of messaging was the key ingredient for getting cut-through.
“The broad brush stroke we talk about the industry who are struggling to connect with women historically. Show the women driving some time, not just men driving. And not just mothers in shopping centre car parks.
“Boomers are completely changing as well. People in the 55-60 year old range they’re very comfortable with who they are, they love their life. They’re not going to connect when you show me a 25-year-old woman,” Bergeron said.
Roughly 5% of the Australian market will be in market for a new car at any time. Talking to the other 95% about current deals is real wastage.
When people are exhibiting behaviours, which Facebook can track, that they’re in market “we can then switch the message to retail activations down and dirty discounting. Everyone else can have more brand building executions,” he said.
“People on Facebook are their real selves, which means you can get really targeted,” he added.
Zaremba also added it was an inevitability dealerships would also become a pick up point for cars and the whole purchase would occur on websites even though Facebook would have nothing to do with this process.
Finally she said it’s interesting to partner with car comparison website companies such as carsales.com.au because many of them are digital natives.
“They tend to be pretty progressive in their approach as opposed to car owners and OEMs.”