Robert Pittman says automotive marketers believe they can target customers more efficiently using technology and multimedia packages. The co-COO of AOL Time Warner talked with Special Correspondent Laura Clark Geist about how the media giant will use its resources to help automotive manufacturers reach that goal.
AOL wants holistic bond with makers
What we've managed to do (since the AOL-Time Warner merger) is really begin to think about a much more holistic relationship with the auto industry.
Step one is you've got to get people's awareness. Typically, that's magazine ads and 30-second television commercials or pop-up ads on AOL. Secondly, you get to the shopping phase. In step two, online becomes critically important because the majority of people who are buying a car today are researching it or shopping online.
I think online plays a very big role here. How do we give dealers a more qualified buyer in the showroom? How does the company stay connected to that customer so he doesn't lose his brand preference and the company doesn't have to start all over again? You've got the capability to move a lot of that service online, which the customer would rather do online because it's easier, simpler and more convenient. They can do it 24-7.
We don't break out categories, but they are in the top one, two or three.
You are looking at some of the most sophisticated media buyers out there. They are always pushing the envelope. They feel the results quickly. That allows them to say "this is working; this isn't working."
Some auto executives complain that some multiplatform deals aren't worth it because you're getting the good with the bad. How do you manage the whole thing properly?
We have online, movies, records, TV, print and leadership positions in all those. Big companies are looking to do these very big coordinated marketing deals with multimedia. Companies who find themselves without these kinds of assets are beginning to dredge the bottom of the barrel to add something to it.
How can AOL Time Warner work with dealer groups?
We have consolidated all our local sales force into one group that works with our clients using AOL to target one single home if you want them to. Our cable company, Time Warner Cable, can do coordinated local TV, and we can localize versions of our magazines. We are not only talking about the national stuff, but how do we add on regional/local pieces and really enhance the horsepower of whatever project we're working on.
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