Smart Billboards Pick You Out of a Crowd

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To the most drivers, it might look like a standard billboard advertisement, displaying ads for things such as the Porsche 911. But as soon as a Porsche approaches, the messaging changes to something a bit more “ego stroking” (to quote the article). Cameras, placed several hundred yards before the billboard use “car recognition technology” to scan the approaching cars and, based on the type of car it identifies, adjusts what messaging should be shown.

We’re not too blown away by the technology itself - it reminds us a bit of online display ad targeting, which is where the ads you see are based on your previous browsing history. Have you visited Carnival Cruise’s website recently? You’re much more likely to see ads and specials for cruises as you continue browse even unrelated websites. It also hearkens back to FourSquare’s “future technology” pitches of pushing specials or coupons to someone’s phone when it detects them walking into a specific retail location. What’s interesting here, to us, is how Porsche is using this technology to build brand loyalty with it’s current customers.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in focusing your marketing strategy on acquiring new customers - it’s the most common way to think you will make sales. But Porsche has always been sure to spend an equal, if not a greater, amount of their marketing budget aimed towards current customers. In most cases, it can be easier and more cost effective to promote additional sales from current customers, than to try to acquire new ones. Porsche has always built it’s brand on the idea of exclusivity, drawing their advertisement viewers to imagine a world where the viewer belonged to a very exclusive club of speed and luxury. But the pitch has never ended at the sale. Once you’re an owner, Porsche wants to remind you of the club you’re now in. They throw new owner parties and send out hand address invitations. They send hand signed Christmas cards and thank you notes. They keep track of your maintenance and lease schedules, and follow up with sales and promotions when it comes time that you may be thinking about purchasing a new car.

In the case of these billboards, Porsche gets the best of both worlds. It’s showing current owners how valued they are (by adjusting the display to be directed specifically at them), but it also has a trickle down affect by showing all of those around the Porsche owner that they could be in this “special club” too. It’s building brand loyalty and “driving” (no pun intended) brand awareness through our natural desire to be feel included.

How are you making your customers feel appreciated?

Photo courtesy of Road and Track.