How did the domestic automakers manage to survive the 2008 economic recession?

It wasn’t easy for any industry and the automobile industry was no exception. Domestic automakers scrambled to make the necessary and sometimes painful adjustments in order to survive the financial repercussions of the mortgage crisis.

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The auto industry like all the other industries scrambled to make the adjustments in order to survive the economic recession.

Embracing Online Marketing
Bold moves were made by industry players such as embracing online marketing. The auto industry was one of the early pioneers in online advertising and it has been successful in spreading their marketing message across the digital marketplace.

There are important lessons, resulting from such bold moves, which other industries can learn from and utilize in their own strategies.  Five important things marketing people can learn from the automakers include:

Utilize Online Platform To Provide Consumers With Solutions
As domestic automakers turned to online marketing, they took advantage of the platform in providing online users with answers to their inquiries and questions. As most of the online users are consumers who seek answers to their problems, the auto industry has targeted those inquiries and provided them with convenient solutions. An online user who starts browsing the World Wide Web to research on what to do after a car accident is a perfect opportunity for the auto industry to place targeted ads that will give the online user the answer to their queries and at the same time suggest a replacement vehicle.

As consumers tend to stick with their first search result, the automakers made sure that their online platform appears on the first page of that search result. This way, the online users would feed on the information and solutions they provided and not feel the need to browse other sites. By targeting consumers with the need for an immediate solution, the domestic automakers were able to capture a responsive market.

By being innovative and responsive to consumer needs, the auto industry embraced the power of Internet and online ads for survival.

Use Web Analytics To Drive Your Approach
Not everyone with an online presence is able to hit their targeted market. Those who specialized in online marketing would tell you the tons of time and effort they invested in order to reach the screens of their targeted users. The auto industry has made use of web analytics and informational connectivity to successfully get to their targeted market.

By understanding their audience and the communities they are involved in, the automakers were able to connect to them through the informational content they provide. Automakers learned the importance of using marketing assumptions based on data from web traffic.

By assuming that an online user who is browsing the Web for spare parts which could be anything from a windshield to thin plastic washers, may have been involved in a recent accident and whose car is in a shop for repairs, the automakers can place their ads alongside car parts suppliers to provide an easy path for the user from repair to car replacement.

Use Multiple Platforms For Ad Campaigns
Some industries make the mistake of just sticking to one platform to reach their targeted customers. The Internet offers a vast collection of space for product advertisements and informative online content. The automakers have had incredible success in market saturation as they invested their time and efforts in reaching their audiences in non-traditional ways. The auto industry has recognized the importance of having efficient advertising using multiple platforms to roll out those ad campaigns. The use of photos and videos had proven to be such powerful platforms to reach to the target market.

Embrace The Power Of Social Marketing
In traditional advertising, automakers are consistent in their branding. They relied heavily on instant recognition of their brand which translates in their logos, style of car models and unique brand identity. With their established brand, automakers count on consumers to see their value. And domestic automakers have extended that branding on to various social media sites successfully. The industry penetrated all major social media platforms such as:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
With their presence in social media sites, automakers were able to replicate their brand influence with consumer interaction, images and promotions.

The Important 5 Seconds
Online users are almost always in search of solutions to their queries urgently. They are impatient and don’t want to waste time waiting for response. The auto industry is cognizant of this reality and has adjusted their marketing to meet and satisfy such demand. One of the most successful strategies that the industry has employed is the use of engaging video ads. Online users may skip YouTube videos if they are too lengthy. Studies have shown that viewers only need to watch the first 5 to 14 seconds of the video in order to make a decision if skipping or continuing with viewing the video. Hence, automakers have launched video ads that engage their audience in those important 5 seconds which would lead to more click-throughs and ultimately full viewing of the video.

Fast forward to today, post-recession, the auto industry is in a place where other industries folded.

What made them survive?

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