NEW YORK: Ford, the car manufacturer, believes the rise of connected and autonomous vehicles could potentially yield meaningful marketing opportunities for brands in the future.

Shel Kimen, Global User Experience Practice Manger at the Ford Motor Co., discussed the subject of next-generation automotive mobility during the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) 2017 SM2 Innovation Summit.

“The opportunities for great, powerful, meaningful experiences, for revenue, for marketing and advertising are unbelievable,” she said. (For more details, read WARC’s report: Ford maps the road ahead for in-vehicle marketing.)

One example may involve leveraging the growing number of screens that will likely become available in vehicles, “presumably for intelligence, entertainment, advertising, content,” said Kimen. “The screen is still very valuable.”

Contextual marketing – that takes into account, for instance, a consumer’s personal preferences and geographical location – is another intriguing possibility for brands.

“You could be driving along, you could pass a theater, and your vehicle or your phone or Alexa – or all of these things working together – could somehow know that you like the actor that’s performing tomorrow night; could give you that information; could let you purchase the tickets; could manage to drive you there; and pick up one of your friends or your children on the way,” said Kimen.

Elaborating on a similar theme, she suggested that partnerships could be a useful way for marketers to explore the evolving terrain of in-car marketing. “Co-branded experiences seem to provide value,” Kimen said.

As a demonstration, Ford allied with Domino’s, the restaurant chain, to investigate how next-generation pizza delivery might function in practice in terms of customer experience.

While the pilot was not completely autonomous from a driving or delivery standpoint, the aim of this program was more granular.

“That’s not what we’re trying to test right now. We’re trying to test the technology; we’re trying to test the experience,” Kimen said.

And as Ford seeks to press forward into the innovative future, adopting a test-and-learn approach could be vital. “You have to make things, put them out in the world, see how it’s working,” Kimen said.

“Is it actually going to generate some revenue? Is it actually going to delight some people? Is it actually going to make the world better? That’s how we do it.”

Data sourced from WARC