Conference Notebook: Toyota Motors Turns to Location Targeting on Mobile

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MMA-Gearing-Up-for-SM2-Every-Moment-is-Mobile-300x225It’s Advertising Week in New York, and that means the marketers from around the world come together to talk shop, make deals, and blow off some steam. At the Mobile Marketing Association’s 2014 SM2 Conference Tuesday, marketers from some of the nation’s largest brands talked about the evolving role of location in their marketing mix and the challenges in balancing an appetite for new technologies with the needs of an existing brand.

At Toyota, location matters more than ever
In the automotive industry, location has always mattered — and that’s as true as ever with mobile. During a presentation Tuesday,  Lisa Materazzo, Corporate Manager of Media Strategy and Digital Engagement at Toyota Motors, spoke about the ways that the company is using hyperlocal targeting on mobile to reach in-market shoppers or consumers who are actively looking for a new car.

For instance, she said that Toyota uses behavioral targeting across all of its initiatives to locate and target those consumers that are on the hunt for a new car. With mobile in particular, the company has gained the upper hand by leveraging location.

“We wanted to reach in-market consumers in an innovative way,” Materazzo said. “We used behavioral targeting across all of our initiatives. With mobile there’s this extra layer of complexity because you have another piece of data and that is geography.”

Once Toyota located its key audience, it could align messaging and creative to serve up relevant and specific ad units to the shopper. She said the targeted ads saw 45% jump in performance compared to the run-of-network inventory.

“We know that for in-market shoppers it’s all about relevancy,” she said. “For us going to this extra level in leveraging this data in a unique way was key to reaching these folks.”

Materazzo also touched on another audience that Toyota is targeting on mobile: millennials. In addition to basic behavioral and location targeting, Toyota has developed a new, voice-activated ad units to target millennials for its 2014 Toyota Corolla. The ads, which mimic Toyota’s in-vehicle voice system, allow a consumer to have a two-way conversation with Toyota on their phone.

By engaging millennials in a way that’s familiar to them, Toyota is hoping to attract the new generation of shoppers in a natural and native way. “Not only are they married to their mobile device but they’re married to voice activation, so we wanted to take advantage of that,” Materazzo said. But no matter how creative Toyota gets, they’re always thinking about the consumer experience on each device.

“You definitely have less real estate on that device so you need to be aware of that and design for that screen size,” Materazzo said. “You need to know how realistic it is for them to complete a task on that screen.”

Dunkin’ blends the old with the new
With all of the innovation happening in mobile, brands can easily run the risk of getting overwhelmed, taking on too much, and veering from their true identities. While embracing technology, brands need to remember to integrate and blend the innovation with its traditional principles to maintain brand recognition and authenticity.

During a presentation Tuesday, John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation at Dunkin’ Brands, spoke about the importance of strengthening a brand with technology through synergy and incorporating modern techniques with traditional ones to maintain brand consistency.

“Dunkin Donuts has been around 60 years, but it’s more relevant than ever before,” Costello said. “But if you’re in a brand that’s doing very well it’s more challenging to let go of the past. Today things are moving so fast that the past is almost irrelevant. It’s less analyzing the past as much as looking through the windshield to see what’s changing.”

As the fast food chain embraces innovation with emerging technologies, the company has made an effort to stay true to its original purpose of being the regular brand that helps everyday consumers run everyday.

“We’ve seen how easy it is for brands to get caught up in the technology that they lose sight of what their brand is and what they stand for,” Costello said. “It’s not about the technology; it’s about asking yourself who is your brand.”

To do that, Dunkin’ integrated technology into its traditional marketing efforts. For instance, Dunkin’ extended a traditional product integration on Top Chef to bring it into fans’ homes. The reality show contestants had to use Dunkin’ Coffee in their dish as a part of the episode’s challenge, and viewers could participate at home as well via Google Hangout.

During a live second-screen cooking competition, six fans who were chosen from a contest across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest were able to compete alongside the TV contestants. The campaign generated 30 million branded impressions across social media, and consumers watched the Hangout for an average of 9 minutes.

“There’s real synergy between traditional and new marketing,” Costello said. “As you’re moving in this mobile-centric world, you cant lose sight of the fact that there really is synergy.”

Rebecca Borison is a contributor at Street Fight.

 Hear more about how brands are targeting consumers on mobile devices at Street Fight Summit in NYC on November 4th!