DETROIT -- Ford Division is spending 30 percent of its $1 billion-plus marketing budget this year on what it calls targeted media. The category includes Internet marketing, direct marketing, video on demand and advertisements on mobile phones.
That share of budget was 20 percent last year, Ford Division says. This year's projection for targeted media would be more than three times what the division spent five years ago.
Half of the targeted spending will go to Internet ventures, says Martin Collins, Ford Division's general marketing manager. "It creates more business for fordvehicles.com," the division's Web site, Collins says.
For some Ford dealers, one of every five sales begins with online contacts. Yet Collins says about 40 percent of the industry's Internet leads don't get responses within 24 hours.
Ford is monitoring how long its dealers take to respond to leads from its Web site. "Leads acted on more quickly close at a rate four times higher" than slower responses, Collins says.
Between February and mid-June, more than 115,000 consumers who visited fordvehicles.com picked options and priced the 2006 Ford Fusion. The mid-sized sedan is arriving in showrooms. Ford used the Web data to fine-tune the vehicle's launch.
Ford Division's ad agency, JWT, of Detroit, created a viral marketing campaign for the Fusion that includes word-of-mouth testimonials.
The campaign also placed ads in phone booths, subway systems and alternative newspapers. The ads share the Fusion tag line "Break Free."
Ford Motor Co. is reorganizing its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury marketing and sales organizations in the United States. The changes eliminate a layer of marketing. They consolidate teams that each brand operated separately for such things as incentives, special events and auto shows.
Collins says the Accenture consulting company is studying the relationship of Ford Motor's sales to its investment in marketing and advertising. Accenture will advise the automaker on how best to spend its media dollars.