At their fundamental level, Google and Facebook are engines for serving ads to users. The technology they develop is being used by older companies as a gateway to marketing in the 21st century. Ford discussed its use of Facebook and Google tools for advertising with John Stoll of The Wall Street Journal. In a Q&A with Stoll, here’s how Ford’s president of global markets, Jim Farley, explained the automaker’s use of the new advertising tools.
WSJ: How do you change the way you sell in a business that is more than 100 years old?
MR. FARLEY: Digital advertising. And talking to people. We went to Google and Facebook. They have software, targeting, to serve up ads to specific audiences using their platforms. At Facebook we would say, for example, please show a Ford Expedition ad to someone who lives in Birmingham, Mich., who has family sports in their news feed, has a picture of a GMC Yukon or Chevy Tahoe in their pictures, and has googled new SUVs in the last week.
You have to ask yourself: Who is your best customer? Who is your most difficult customer? Who is the customer that uses most of your software tools? Who is the most data-analytics-driven customer? Then go talk to them on the platforms where they are. It’s just the process of being curious about the right things and getting out of Detroit.
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