Ford exec: Bigger focus on CRM will lead to more apps

Ford

Ford boosts mobile Web functionality

NEW YORK A Ford executive at the Mobile Women to Watch 2014 Summit said that although the company has not been particularly active with mobile applications so far, a bigger emphasis on car owners for CRM purposes will likely change the companys focus.

During the Ford Motor Co.: Driving Mobile, Both On and Off Road session, the Ford executive gave attendees a roadmap of what the automaker is doing with mobile and where the medium is going for the brand. The executive also gave attendees specific examples of mobile campaigns that Ford has run.

The next thing I think thats going to be for Ford with mobile is CRM, said Trisha Habucke, digital marketing manager at Ford, Detroit.

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Its going to be all about the right message at the right time, and thats really important because we have so many customers, she said.

Were finding the right message at the right time is with our owners because our system grows across shoppers, buyers and owners, and owners is going to be the new frontier for us.”

Mobile Women to Watch 2014 Summit was organized by Mobile Marketer.

Mobile car shopping
According to Ms. Habucke, a bigger focus on mobile as a key part of the brands relationship with owners will mean that Ford will be pushing harder into the app market.

To date, Ford has not significantly had a strong play in the app market because it is not successful for shoppers and buyers and is likely hard to get a consumer to download an app.

With owners though, Ford has a closer way to talk to owners directly about their vehicles.

Since launching mobile sites for the Ford and Lincoln brands in 2009, Ford has used a variety of different mobile tactics and technologies to engage with car buyers.

However, measurement is still an issue for Ford with mobile compared to other marketing mediums. 

For example, direct mail includes control and test groups and helps marketers prove a marketing medium is working, which is not possible with mobile.

Additionally, tablets are still tough for Ford to figure out. As consumers move down the purchase funnel, that is where mobile comes into play when consumers are choosing between multiple brands.

Connected vehicle
The newest interest of mobile for Ford is around the connected car with its in-car Sync and AppLink technology since statistics show that there will be 20 billion and eight million consumers in the world by 2020.

The AppLink technology allows consumers to navigate apps such as Pandora and Major League Baseball handless since it syncs with a digital in-car system.

Additionally, the brand has scrubbed its mobile leads, which has shown that the medium can be effective in driving sales of cars.

Last year Ford launched a responsive design for its http://support.ford.comsite, which helps consumers manage Fords Sync technology.

One of the main perks of using responsive design for the site is that Ford is able to create one site that renders the same across desktops, smartphones and tablets.

Since launching the site, mobile usage has increased 50 percent.

With a mobile-first design of the site, the brand has more in the works with the site.

What were doing right now is we are doing a lot of work with product development and bringing the car [to be] closer integrated with the mobile device, Ms. Habucke said.

Sync was the basis for that, but again I think Sync is going to be the dinosaur a few years down the road when you start looking at these things, she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York


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