It seems everyone and his/her mom knows about the General Motors ignition switch recall, but that doesn’t mean everyone is running to his/her local dealership to get the fix. Hence, GM hopes a new, unconventional marketing campaign on Facebook and other pertinent sites will have owners click on the ad to encourage them to have their ignition switches replaced.
Over 2.2 million U.S. cars have been recalled, but about 1 million still need to be fixed. The challenge to get the “unengaged audience” engaged led GM to use its marketers to create a campaign to reach out to these folks.
But, truth be told, GM has already spoken to make of them. According to Automotive News, some owners “have only one car and busy schedules with children,” while others merely have followed GM’s instructions to remove all extraneous items from the key chain and think that’s good enough. In order to create more urgency and persuasion to get the cars fixed, GM hooked up with analytics company Acxiom Corp. to place recall ads on popular websites.
But they’re not your usual ads: GM gave Acxiom a list of the “unengaged audience,” then acts as a go-between due to privacy laws, matching car owners with accounts on Facebook, MSN, AOL, and other sites. The ads magically appear on the users’ home pages with a link to a site that explains how to get their recalled GM products repaired. This method isn’t new, however − The New York Times has reported that political campaigns have used the same method to reach their audience.
According to GM’s executive director of global marketing operations, Megan Stooke, this manner of reaching out to people is “quite groundbreaking in terms of digital marketing.”
“It gives us this safe environment where we can match our owners and serve up that message one by one,” Stooke added.
Mike Rozembajgier, the vice president at Stericycle Inc. (a consulting company that advises automotive and other companies on managing recalls), said the large scope of the recalls has made it difficult for the message to get to consumers and for them to act on it − he calls it “recall fatigue.”
“Eventually it all just becomes noise,” Rozembajgier said. GM’s effort to reach out to the 1 million “is a great way to battle that fatigue with a laser focus that delivers the message to them in an environment where they’re already spending time.”
In addition, GM is reaching out to about 100,000 owners who are less likely to be active online by opening a dedicated call center in New York with 72 advisers.