Chrysler group is trying to think beyond the showroom.
The automaker is delving heavily into experiential marketing with its Ride & Drive program, in which the company takes vehicles to such nontraditional places as malls, schools and music concerts, offering consumers a chance to experience the vehicles in a less stressful environment than a dealership.
Chrysler funnels those potential customers to its social-media applications for more information, which it hopes leads to a dealership visit for a purchase discussion.
"We're trying to look at this as a physical-to-virtual experience," said George Neill, Chrysler Group's head of marketing strategy and operations. "You connect with them in person and they take that online. We don't look at Ride & Drive as an isolated experience. We want to link it to our other marketing activities, social included."
Said Casey Hurbis, head of Fiat brand advertising and communications: "Back in the day, you just threw the car in the mall with some brochures. The [evolution] is when you look at the digital and social play."