Porsche’s social media is the backbone of its digital strategy (but it's yet to come up with a definitive measurement)

Porsche is bringing a social media mindset to its digital marketing to develop a strategy that simultaneously benefits both the business and its customers’ social interactions.

The adage that people see their car as a reflection of their personality has propelled social media to the peak of the German marque’s media mix. It’s a potent dynamic for a brand built on aspiration and luxury, one it hopes underpins its efforts to deliver an online experience that covers all facets of vehicle ownership and connects the virtual world to the physical one in a seamless way.

Consequently, Porsche is mining the always-on sensibilities of social media to encourage fans to share and consume content from one integrated platform, which is porsche.com. Porsche is using content curation tool Storystream to steer this efforts, building microsites that give fans a holistic view of what’s being said about certain car launches of campaigns worldwide.

“We do not believe in a linear progression through a virtual funnel, but recognise that each customer chooses their individual path to form a purchase decision. We thus believe that Porsche must understand the specific needs of the customer in his individual situation and listen to signals he/she is sending in order to cater the right content at the right point in time. In order to work in this context, every bit of content needs to be responsive,” Porche’s digital marketing and dialogue manager and Deniz Keskin told The Drum.

To accelerate the plan, Porsche is encouraging its agencies and ad tech vendors to get tighter to companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter in order to create content that fuels business goals. It’s an approach the car maker tries to balance with what it hopes are more agile ways of working directly with its marketing partners so that it can respond to communication challenges.

“Social media is more than an efficient and speedy way of communicating to a (primarily) younger target group. As a luxury manufacturer, we see more and more of our actual customers in that space,” said Keskin. The discipline is used to hit three key goals; building additional awareness for Porsche’s communications, amplifying the conversation around through brand ambassadors and listening to conversations that could become early signals for business issues.

“This is why we regard Social Media not only as an additional tool in order to connect to online-savvy audiences, but as the backbone of our online strategy,” said Keskin.

Despite social media’s pivotal role to Porsche’s digital endeavours, Keskin conceded it has yet to come up with a definitive way of measuring its contribution to business objectives.

“In terms of measurement, we have to be honest and say that the industry is still converging around a decent set of indicators,” she added. “We are currently investigating and testing a lot of new vendors that help us to understand in more detail what aspects of Social Media content fuel its sharing and who the key influencers are.”

Porsche’s push to give its customers more control over the brand experience has also spawned what it claimed is the recent launch of the world’s first fully responsive Car Configurator. This will be bolstered by recommendations on additional equipment informed by other user's configurations. Furthermore, the car marque is refining its customer care offering online to adapt to customers expectations of greater convenience and ease of use.

Bigger bets on it’s below-the-line work, particularly in specialist forums, alongside sharper uses of outdoor advertising are likely from Porsche moving forward. Keskin said the business will continue to spread its media spend across different channels to match how its “sophisticated target group” are using a wide array of channels.

“In reality, we are receiving a good ROI in various placements, including traditional print advertising,” she added. “Our customers are looking for this "convenience" factor more and more, and our challenge will be to deliver an online experience that covers all facets of vehicle ownership and connects the virtual world to the physical one in a seamless way.”

On programmatic, Porsche plans to invest more after early results around product launches were encouraging. The company sees it as a way to identify specific car target groups for its campaigns as well as minimise wastage.

“However, we are also mindful of the fact that this technology is not perfect yet,” said Keskin. “Questions around data privacy remain and the range of advertising formats – especially for someone like us, who wants to create a lasting emotional impact – is still limited.”

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