Everyone love to knock Craigslist for disintermediating the newspaper classified business, but according to Jose Puente, director of product strategy-mobile/affinity brands, Autotrader.com they were their first. Speaking at MediaPost’s Mobile Insider Summit in Key Largo this morning, Puente reminder attendees that Autotrader began as a print medium by “a guy” who thought newspapers were an inefficient way to service the marketplace of people looking to buy and sell cars. So he created a magazine to focus on that, and “got rid of the rest of the newspaper.”
That was in the 1970s. A few decades later, Puente said Autotrader has made the transition from print to online, but now must deal with the shift to mobile media. Ironically, he noted, the brand is actually going back to its roots.
“It could be argued that the brand was mobile brand in the first place. It was a magazine,” he said, noting that magazines could be carried around by their users and brought into dealerships, or anywhere someone was researching the decision to buy or sell a car.
But that’s about where the analogy ends, he said, noting, “What happens if people prefer to use their phones to start searching for cars, instead of our website?”
And that’s where the mobility really begins, he said, noting how Autotrader took everything, even its printed “mobile” magazine, into an electronic mobile medium, including – you guessed it – QR codes and links to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.