The Internet expands marketing options for automakers but raises new questions: How much money should be diverted to new media? Which media offer the best returns? How does a new approach change a marketer's message?
John Middlebrook of General Motors, Jim Schroer of Ford Motor Co., and M. Kayne Lanahan of News Corp. One will address such challenges at the Automotive News World Congress next month in Detroit. They will be participating in a Jan. 17 panel entitled 'Marketing, Media and the Internet: Who Loses?'
In April, GM named Middlebrook vice president and general manager of vehicle brand marketing and corporate advertising. He oversees the ad budget for the industry's largest spender.
GM spent $4 billion on U.S. advertising in 1999, twice as much as its closest competitor, according to Advertising Age. It spent $25.1 million on Internet advertising, far more than any other automaker.
During a 41-year GM career, Middlebrook has held various management positions, such as Saturn Corp.'s first vice president of sales, service and marketing, as well as general manager of Pontiac Division and of Chevrolet Division. Most recently, he headed vehicle brand marketing for North American Operations.
Schroer, who has been Ford's vice president of global marketing since June 1999, is working to integrate eight brands into Ford's overall strategy. Ford also is exploring Internet options, such as FordDirect, Ford.com and CarPoint, in an effort to create a 'clicks and mortar' operation on all fronts, including sales and marketing.
Before joining Ford in 1996 as executive director of marketing strategy and brand management, Schroer worked at RJR Nabisco; Booz, Allen & Hamilton; and Studebaker-Worthington Inc.
Lanahan has been the senior vice president of News Corp.'s integrated marketing group, News Corp. One, since its inception in 1998. Her objective is to offer advertisers an integrated approach through a diverse group of media outlets.
News Corp. has 42 print, broadcast and Internet media divisions. Holdings include the Fox Entertainment Group and Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.
Before her current post, Lanahan was media director at Merkley Newman Harty, a New York ad agency.
Bud Liebler, DaimlerChrysler's senior vice president of global brand marketing, and Jim Press, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., also are on the panel, as previously reported by Automotive News.