Why B2C and B2B Marketers Both Watch the Automotive Industry


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General Motors made big news this week when they said – just ahead of Facebook’s big IPO – that they were taking their $10 million budget for Facebook ads elsewhere.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Ford captured the marketing world by surprise when it announced it would dump the Super Bowl for more social media.

Interestingly, these moves seem to capture the attention of both B2C and B2B marketers. Whether your trips to the water cooler are inside the walls of a consumer-oriented brand or a company that mainly sells to other businesses, there’s a good chance the marketing tactics of Ford, GM, Toyota and car-makers come up.

An obvious reason for this is the sheer size of the automakers budgets. (GM is the number three advertisers in the U.S., for instance.)

But there’s another reason the marketing whims of the automobile industry get attention: it serves as a microcosm for both the B2C and B2B marketing worlds. In fact, if there were a Venn diagram of how customers in both sectors shopped, the auto industry would sit near the middle.

That’s because the automobile industry and B2B industry involve a lot of the same challenges: lengthy research and sales cycles, multi-tier product offerings, contracts to sign, discounting and demoing, many marketing touches, multiple decision-makers…the list goes on.

Choosing an energy drink may not require a lot of research. But we expend a lot of time and energy selecting our next car. People spend between 18 to 19 hours doing research when selecting a used or new car, according to Polk & Co. That’s a lot of time in the consumer world, even if it’s still not as much as may be spent looking into a B2B solution.

And the same Internet revolution that changed the game for B2B is clearly impacting automotive advertisers. According to the Polk data, nearly 60% of the time spent researching cars is done online. Two-thirds of car shoppers rated the Web as the most helpful source for information, outranking even family and friends.

While there may not be an RFP involved, but it’s easy to see the similarities between the automotive and B2B purchasing process. That’s why when Ford goes whole hog into social and GM taps the breaks, the whole marketing world pays attention.

Do you pay attention to the car marketing? Do their decisions impact how you think about marketing strategy?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jesse Noyes
Jesse came to Eloqua from the newsroom trenches. As Managing Editor, it's his job to find the hot topics and compelling stories throughout the marketing world. He started his career at the Boston Herald and the Boston Business Journal before moving west of his native New England. When he's not sifting through data or conducting interviews, you can find him cycling around sunny Austin, TX.


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