Bob Garfield

What marketers need to know about connected cars

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The car of the future has finally arrived. Here are five ways to prepare.

Everyday, the things we use to conduct daily life become more integrated with the cloud. Cars are no exception. Unlike smartphones, which can be upgraded frequently, consumers tend to hold on to their cars until they absolutely need a new one. Perhaps this is why connected cars have sat on the sidelines as a novelty item. However, with the rise of Telsa and older cars becoming obsolete, consumers are now entering the era of the connected automobile. Here's what marketers need to know to prepare for this massive shift.

You will be able to tailor a message to a consumer in their car

The main thing to remember as a marketer is that your options for reaching consumers digitally out of home are about to get a lot broader. Prior to connected cars and smartphones, marketers were fairly limited to billboards, radio ads, and bus-stop posters to attempt to advertise to commuters. Connected cars are going to change all of this. These cars are connected to wireless, 3G, and to a consumer's smartphone. Start thinking of strategies today. Make partnerships with these manufactures and begin to mold a plan for incorporating your brand seamlessly into the connected car and mobile experience.

Being omni-channel is key

The days of separate campaigns for every screen are over. You need to have an omni-channel strategy for your marketing efforts, and connected cars will only feed the fire for having a single, easy way to reach consumers on every device at once. When a consumer is in their car traveling, they are with their smartphone and usually one or two other devices. Imagine if you could send push notifications via your branded app at the same time your commercial airs on the radio? How many consumers could you turn into customers with a smart omni-channel campaign? The possibilities are exciting and seemingly endless.

It will all be opt-in

Another important thing to remember is to structure your connected car marketing efforts to be opt-in. You'll need to incise consumers to want your brand apart of their commute. Start thinking about how you will attract consumers. What will you offer? What real value will you be providing that is so attractive that a consumer cannot resist? Put yourself in the commuters shoes, identify their problems, and think of ways your brand can help solve their issues.

iMedia traveled to Dreamforce 2013 to discover how the cloud is evolving and how marketers can get ahead. In this interview, iMedia's Bethany Simpson speaks with ExactTarget's Jim Eup about the main things marketers need to keep in mind about the connected car revolution.