“You don’t necessarily want to be diving into the deep end on something as murky as social media,” says Ehrich Marx, Nissan’s director of interactive and social media marketing. “We’re going to play in a responsible, reasonable way.”
That’s why Nissan is keeping its social media budget relatively modest for a major automaker—less than $500,000—while remaining aware of what Marx calls the “COI,” or cost of ignoring. The company’s approach, which includes unveiling five new car models over the next year in a campaign that includes a strong social component, is working well so far.
At the moment, Nissan’s top brass is more interested in “interaction, not transaction” from its social media efforts, Marx says. They know that the connection between social media and sales numbers is not as direct as the old way of communicating.
“The business model for 100 years has been for big corporations to talk at the customers,” Marx says. “If the brands are ignoring the fact that they are being talked about and evaluated, you lose control of your brand at a much faster rate.”