Marketers should enter auto infotainment quickly and carefully

At CES 2018, cutting-edge marketers are starting to see the automobile infotainment system as their newest playground. How they can use wireless technology to deliver advertising messages to a captive audience. However, I want to warn that this new revolution is a double-edged sword. Companies must enter this space, but if they don’t do so correctly, they will hurt themselves.

In-car infotainment systems are an exciting new rapidly growing area. However, advertising, marketing and brand building messages must be carefully thought through and delivered. You must start carefully. It must not be intrusive. Remember, this has traditionally been a private space for the user and many of them will push-back if not done correctly.

Remember when the screen on your dashboard used to be to tune the radio only. Now it’s becoming a full featured computer screen for navigation, entertainment, web surfing, emailing, texting, games, movies, live TV and so much more.

Think of this like the old story of putting a frog in a pot of boiling water on the stove. It will simply jump out. But if you put that same frog in a pot of room temperature water it will stay put. Then if you turn the heat up one degree at a time, it will eventually cook.

Automobile infotainment system next step in marketing

The automobile infotainment system is the next step for advertising, marketing and brand building. However, you need to be cautious on this new path. Move into this next step carefully. The good news is, this is a huge and new opportunity and you are reaching a captive audience. The danger zone is users see their car as their private place. If it gets ripped away from them, many will push-back, hard.

Looking forward, it will eventually become commonplace. Just like watching TV. Users will get used to the idea of in-vehicle marketing. Especially if it brings them information they want or need and is not only for obtrusive advertising. Then inch by inch we can learn more and more about advertising and marketing this way as we turn the heat up.

In these early days, you must tread carefully. Users need to be brought along into this new world. Companies must win over the audience. It will be quick for some users, but take some time with others, but should only be increased at a pace the customer wants.

Auto infotainment is next big advertising, marketing playground

With that warning in place, the in-car, infotainment system experience will be a new playground for the marketer. The good and bad news is there are no rules yet. Companies will try many different ways to deliver messages to the user. Some will be successful, and some will fail.

In this early stage, the innovators will rule the roost. Customers won’t know what to expect. Marketers won’t know what to deliver and at what pace. And as technology continues to advance, new ideas will be developed every year going forward.

The early mover advantage will go to gutsy advertising agencies and company marketing teams who enter this space. They have the biggest potential win, but they also face the biggest challenge and the steepest learning curve as they blaze new trails. They will take the arrows for mistakes. Followers, will enter the scene on already paved roads, so they won’t create the direction of this market, but they won’t take arrows either.

Both leaders and followers will win. The companies who don’t participate will be the losers. As with every other technological advancement, the marketplace changes and you must catch the new growth wave or it will pass you by leaving you just treading water.

Dashboard distraction on auto infotainment systems

There is another area to be careful of. Dashboard distraction. This has to do with safety. Drivers assume that if it’s on the dashboard, it must be safe. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We all see how driving badly results when the driver is distracted with their wireless phone, texting and emailing. However, there are more distractions than just the smartphone. Advanced technology available on the dash is an even bigger problem and risk to users and then companies which supply them.

When we use the navigation system or other features, we take our eyes off the road for too long and that’s where accidents occur. According to AAA, programming GPS is a very high distraction. Texting is a high distraction. Calling is a moderate distraction. Listening to radio is a low distraction.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says danger with infotainment systems

In their latest study called the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, they say infotainment systems of 23 out of 30 vehicles tested demanded a “very high” or “high” level of attention from the driver. Seven rated “moderate”. None of them scored a “low” amount of attention.

And this is with our current level of technology. Now add advertising, marketing and brand building messages to the mix and you can see how this is a potential safety disaster ready to play out on our roads. This needs to be part of our thinking and planning as we expand into this new area.

The self-driving car will not be with us as quickly as this new danger. This new world sounds promising and is coming on strong. However, we must keep safety and privacy in mind as well as we move ahead. We don’t want to stop the evolution and growth of infotainment systems, but we must be careful at the same time to protect user’s privacy and safety.