Ford draws insights from pizzas and smartphones

Geoffrey Precourt

In a marketing ecosystem where the rules of engagement are uncertain, what better way to discover insights about automotive sales than to compare mobile phones and fast food?

So reasoned San Diego-based Luth Research on an insights-discovery mission undertaken for Ford Motor Co.

At the Advertising Research Foundation's 2014 Re:Think conference in New York City, Dennis Gonier, a digital strategist at Luth, described the circumstances leading to this new twist on the apples-and-oranges comparison: digital data is more ominous. It's threatening. It's intimidating. And no one is sure what it's going to mean for the science, or the industry, of marketing.

"In reality, the truth is it's our job. We are the ones behind the curtain, turning the dials, figuring out the methodologies [and] the tuning of metrics. And, usually, this type of stuff begins with pilot tasks."