This past week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) provided more proof that the lines are blurring between automakers and technology companies.
The show had several big automaker debuts including: BMW’s i Vision Dee, featuring a windshield that’s also a giant display, Chrysler’s Synthesis interior, which uses AI to learn user preferences, and Volvo / Polsetar models displayed Google’s new version of HD Maps. From the tech side, Sony debuted their concept EV called Afeela that expands entertainment options. LG presented their interface technology that boosts productivity. Nvidia revealed their autonomous driving platform. And so on.
The common theme among these presentations is that the vehicle interior space will be transformed, so that drive time is not wasted time. New technology will help people be more productive with work, socialize, immerse in entertainment, or just relax.
As these technologies are adopted, the impact on automotive marketing will be huge. The days of marketing vehicles based on model year improvements will eventually fade away. Instead, marketing will focus on vehicle software, improved periodically, via over-the-air (OTA) updates.
Automotive market research projects are already changing. Traditional studies that focus on exterior styling, reliability and performance are no longer the top priority. Automakers are hyper-focused on agile, iterative market research projects that address software and user interfaces.
So, if you have these skills, you're in luck. Automotive might be an interesting next chapter for many of you.
For a deeper dive into the current best practices in automotive qualitative market research, please check out the recent article I wrote for VIEWS magazine, titled: The Implications for Qualitative Researchers as Tesla Disrupts the Automotive Industry. I could not have written it without the inspiring conversations and generous contributions from several automotive marketing experts, including @Dan Teeter, @Michael Francesco Alioto, @Eric Johnston, @Natalia Tafur, @Bob Naik, and @Jeremiah Eberhardt.
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