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Nissan believes carmakers are falling behind on digital and social marketing

Carmakers are not keeping pace with other mainstream brands when using social media as a marketing tool because there is “a fear of moving beyond the traditional”, according to Nissan.

David Parkinson, the Japanese brand’s general manager for social media and digital engagement in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India told Marketing Week: “You shouldn’t underestimate the community.

“Even though we are the expert engineers, there are great ideas that we wouldn’t think of because we’re too close to it and some ideas could only come from the PlayStation generation.”

He said carmakers were behind brands like Starbucks, Nike and Adidas because these companies have more of a “test and learn” process.

Parkinson highlighted Ford’s Fiesta Movement project which started in 2009 as a good example of how to launch a good social campaign. Fiesta Movement is still running in the US and it provides cars to prolific bloggers and invites them to complete and film video missions with the Fiesta.

Parkinson believes social marketing activity currently supplements traditional methods, but there will be a tipping point where car manufacturer marketing spend relies more heavily on digital.

He told Marketing Week: “That basic dealership model works and it sells cars so are afraid to mess with that model, but we’re trying to look to the future.

"That’s why we’re still doing traditional but we’re doing social in parallel. Eventually there will be slightly less traditional and more social. If you look at Nike, they do very little traditional and nearly all social.”

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