AUSTIN, TX: Targeted audio ads and voice-based "personal assistants" will be among the main opportunities for in-car marketing in the future, according to a leading executive from Ford.

Scott Burnell, Ford's Global Lead/Business Development and Partner Management, discussed this subject at the 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference. And he argued the in-car environment is a "battleground" for audio content.

When coupled with the diverse mix of audio-streaming services now available in connected vehicles, solutions like geofencing, real-time updates about the local weather and details about the exact model of car someone drives can help finesse ads.

"[It's the] ability to deliver a message that is meaningful to that driver and meaningful at that time and space where they are, based on whether it's a geofence, whether it's the type of vehicle they're driving, whether it's weather that's going on during the day, so the impact is greater," said Burnell. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Ford's roadmap for in-car marketing.)

Such an approach will be supported by the linking together of different connected devices like cars and smartphones – a trend that can yield complementary inputs.

More specifically, that type of granular knowledge could provide significant opportunities for messaging premised on data like "targeted demographics".

"There's a lot of cool ways to be able to deliver [messages]. If you think about it in marketing terms, there is the ability to know that a person is in the vehicle; know the phone is connected to the vehicle; know that the person in there: It's their phone," he said.

"You can then pull from ad inventory. Instead of pulling from regular ad inventory, you pull from vehicle-centric ad inventory and send that message then … It doesn't exist today. It's what we're working on for the next section of content delivery."

Voice-based "personal assistants" also promise to play a greater role in cars, with Ford recently announcing a tie-up with Amazon's Alexa that will let customers access a slate of services from behind the wheel via simple oral commands.

"Instead of having to pick up your device and tap something or push something, now you can just say it to your device; you can say it to your home; you can say it to your car," said Burnell.

"That's really where you should be looking: towards audio and the personal-assistant side of audio for content delivery."

Data sourced from Warc