DaimlerChrysler is enthusiastic about its use of the Internet and plans to pursue a web strategy aggressively, Bonita Stewart, director of Chrysler brand communications, told the eTail 2004 East conference on Wednesday. “The Internet is the glue, the integrator, that allows us to provide a richer brand experience for the consumer,” she said. “The more we can do online, the more we believe we can increase customer satisfaction.”
Chrysler is using the web to launch vehicle models, market the brand and generate sales leads for dealers.
In the category of lead generation, Chrysler’s web sites provide a vehicle configurator, a dealer locator, a request for a quote and the ability to schedule a test drive. “They have been quite successful,” Stewart said. Chrysler also uses third-party automotive sites, such as Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com, AOL, Yahoo Autos and MSN Autos. Chrysler has partnered with those sites to host the lead generation tools as well, Stewart said.
Chrysler also has employed Internet roadblocks to launch vehicles. Under that strategy, Chrysler’s ads appear prominently at major portals simultaneously so no matter how a user is navigating the web, he is likely to run to a Chrysler ad. “They have been very successful in launching products,” Stewart said.
Chrysler also uses ads in other media to drive shoppers to the web, including print and radio advertising. It also is increasing its direct buys of online advertising at double-digit rates, Stewart said. “The Internet provides a way to integrate all channels,” she said.
Chrysler also uses the information it gains on the web site-especially from the vehicle configurator-to help manufacturing by reporting the features that customers are interested in. “The web is the best thing that has happened to this industry,” she said.