True confession: Paul is a Dunkin’ Donuts fan and I’m a Starbucks uber-P1. It’s just another one of the differences between brothers.
He think Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is better (and cheaper). And I believe everything about Starbucks is superior – the vibe, the experience, the food, the clientele, and yes, the baristas.
But as much as it pains me to admit it, Dunkin’ Donuts has just leapfrogged Starbucks in the technology department – at least for a few months. Dunkin’ is joining a small but adventurous group of retailers – Shell, TGI Friday’s, Exxon/Mobil, Applebee’s and others – in a bold car/app/retail experience that could turn several industries on their sides.
It’s an app called Marketplace from General Motors, and it will soon be available on nearly 2 million of their new cars – and by the end of 2018, more than 4 million GM vehicles will be activated. The embedded app allows drivers to seamlessly order and purchase a variety of goods and services through the dashboard screen.
This video provides a simple and persuasive demo of why this concept of connecting cars to stores – to drivers – is so compelling and powerful:
By eliminating the “middle man” – yes, radio – GM finally gets to monetize its reach and regularity, achieving instant scale. And “windshield advertisers” – restaurants, gas stations, and ultimately, jewelry stores, mattress stores, and others – may think they can work around most media, including radio, TV, outdoor, and even social media. When you’re directly reaching an audience on-the-go with cars, cash, and credit cards, you can potentially do a lot of damage.
And that’s all the more reason why the radio industry devoting research, marketing, and its human resources in the automotive space is so important. And it goes well beyond radio’s placement in the dashboard. An advertiser solution in the car ought to be on the list as well.
As we’ve discussed in this blog in the past, that solution may be closer than we think. Most know about Xperi (the former DTS and iBiquity) and the HD Radio “Artist Experience.” That’s where album art shows up on car touchscreens whenever a song’s metadata triggers it. But beyond displaying “Dark Side of the Moon” or “Lemonade,” the system has other smart and attractive capabilities:
It can display advertiser logos and information whenever commercials play. Xperi notes hundreds of stations are already deploying this feature. But my anecdotal conversations with many radio broadcasters gives me the sense that most sales managers don’t have a clue this feature exists.
Aside from the fact it provides advertiser visibility in the coveted car dashboard, it’s better than what most of radio’s in-car competitors can do. SiriusXM displays text for advertiser websites and phone numbers. But radio can go well beyond that, providing its clients with attractive real estate on screens in the center stack.
So, it looks good. But does it work?
Xperi has found there’s better recall for brands displayed on the Advertiser Experience. And consumers remember more brands in this in-car ad environment. Those are the kind of on-the-street war stories that radio needs to reassert its value in cars especially as tech innovations like Marketplace continue to proliferate.
You have to give GM credit. They’re innovating, they’re hacking away, and trying new things. Marketplace is just one of the apps being readied by the nation’s top automaker. And this activity sends the radio broadcast industry an important message.
Support the NAB’s automotive initiatives, focus more of your company’s energies and resources on automotive, and immerse yourself in the space. Let the RAB know that automotive is important to your station, and work with them to develop more in-car radio success stories.
All of this goes back to the motivation behind why we created our DASH Conference in 2012 – to build awareness in the radio industry of both the threat and the opportunities of automotive for radio.
We’ll be looking for more of these trends next month at CES. But the die is most definitely being cast. Automakers are rethinking the ways in which they’ll interface with consumers and advertisers.
The radio industry should be forging those same trails.
And the good news? Starbucks will be part of the Marketplace platform in early ’18. Take that, Dunkin’ Donuts.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
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