Ford Credit’s first campaign – is that enough?
Published: April 04, 2023
Ford has a new digital-only campaign, with the lines, “The best Ford ever. Is the one you call yours” And it is not a campaign that aims to sell Ford cars. But Ford Credit that finances the purchase of Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
Ford Credit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company founded way back in 1959. This is its first direct-to-consumer ad campaign in direct response to the changing times. Getting financing when buying a car used to be something everyone did – you buy a car and also pick up a loan at the car dealership itself. But things have changed.
We now have online car shopping, and the car-financing and the car sales marketplace has become a lot more competitive – there are banks, credit unions and automaker-controlled lenders who target customers sooner in the buying process. About 40% of customers, who buy Ford or Lincoln cars, opt for Ford Credit.
The goal of this direct-to-consumer campaign is to increase this percentage by creating awareness and ward off the competition.
Ford Credit positions itself as a
Frictionless finance provider that offers ease, clarity and flexibility.
Ford Credit’s head of global marketing in a press release.
Earlier, people who shop for cars and sign up for loans at the dealership. Now with even car sales happening online, the evolved customer does his research first – regardless of whether he shops for a car or a car loan. To be able to keep up with this, it is great for brands to create awareness among its audiences.
This digital only campaign will primarily operate on paid spots on Instagram and Google Search.
What we think about this –
Ford Credit operates in what is called a ‘captive financing’ space – now these are financing companies that are owned by automobile manufacturers. So wherever there is an outlet that sells these automobiles, you can be pretty sure that the financier is also present. So a consumer can buy a car, and take a loan from the captive financier. This is the reason why 40% of Ford owners have auto loans from Ford Credit. Not being satisfied with this, Ford Credit gets into action mode and does a campaign (its first since 1959) to increase its customer-base.
This is a very smart move – as McKinsey predicts that a varied and ever-growing set of lenders that include large banks, regional banks, online retailers, and fintechs are considering moving to this asset class. The primary reason being the low delinquency rates in the auto loans sector. So businesses that are complacent about their market share might take a beating.
But this will not be enough. It is important to take things a step further. The auto-loans market is on the edge of massive growth and expansion. Conventionally-strong brands just can’t take it easy in a scenario with new-comers jumping in to the ring, and old-timers starting to hone their wares and strut their stuff. You have to do what it takes to get the attention of your customers. You have to do some magic – digitally.
For example, Capital One has developed a tool which allows customers to shop around for cars and to see if they pre-qualify for an auto loan without letting it affect their credit score in any way.
AutoFi is a company that supplies digital retail systems to car dealers, banks, OEMs, and online marketplaces. They now have a cloud-based pricing platform called Real Payments. Real Payments allows customers to prequalify for financing, see costs, prices and monthly payout amounts across various vehicles in a matter of seconds.
That is kind of the place where brands need to be at. That’s where Ford needs to be as well. The cars are great! Car financing is great! But the brand needs to make use of all the advances in technology and apply it to the process of getting a loan to own a car as well. Be it metaverse or Generative AI, it is all there to create magic for the discerning marketer. It just needs a strategist to take things forward.
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