General Motors' GMC division is rolling out a smartphone application that allows people who own Droids and iPhones to get the GMC experience while on the move. The app allows users to shop, research and configure the division's lineup of crossovers and trucks. The GMC Showroom Mobile App, which is a free download, also has photos, videos, and competitive comparisons. It also enables users to get local dealer inventories, get price quotes and current offers and schedule a dealer test drive.
Janet Keller, GMC advertising manager for digital and social media, tells Marketing Daily that the app is not intended solely for people at the bottom of the purchase funnel, who are actively running from showroom to showroom putting together their consideration lists. If anything, she says, the app is a digital testament to the fact that the purchase funnel metaphor may have run its course, at least when it comes to using it as a template for building a media plan. "The purchase funnel is inverted and media use [among auto consumers] is not sequential," she says. "People are not using their computers [at one place in the funnel] and then going to mobile devices [at another]."
She says the app was therefore designed as kind of a "GMC-lite" version of the GMC.com site. "It has a lot of really good high-level information," she says, explaining that the app is intended for a range of consumers, from those currently shopping to those who may be as much as three to six months from purchase. "If I'm driving my car -- maybe I'm not even in market, and I see a GMC vehicle on the road -- I can download the app and use it to look at current models, highlights, and key features." She says the app also has videos featuring owners and GMC engineers and designers.
About 25% of shoppers use their smartphones to cross-shop, get more information and the like when they are on dealer lots, and 39% use their smartphones to window-shop vehicles at home. The rest shop with the devices while on the run, according to Keller.
GMC is getting the word out about the app via direct-marketing efforts to its database of hand raisers, says Keller -- and to the 1.7 million people who visit GMC.com each month. "With the app people don't want a lot of heavy experiences; it's easier to navigate, there's not too much content and it's an easy interface to use. It's also not about one-dimensional data -- there's rich media but it's very nicely organized."
As for the larger marketing plan for GMC, Keller says this is a relatively quiet year because there aren't any big GMC launches on deck for 2011. She says the major activity this year will be around NFL sponsorship in the fourth quarter, culminating with next year's Super Bowl. "We aren't doing heavy advertising right now. We typically do that around a big launch, but this year is more about maintaining the brand and a big chunk of that will be our status as official vehicle of the NFL, so a big portion will be supporting that relationship during the NFL Draft, kickoff of the season in the fall and the Super Bowl."