Facebook VP Of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson Discusses The Auto Industry

By David Cohen 

Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson spoke with Detroit Free Press Business Columnist Tom Walsh prior to speaking at a luncheon hosted at Cobo Center by women’s leadership group Inforum, and their conversation focused on the social network’s relationship with the auto industry.

Everson and Walsh spoke about Facebook’s interaction with Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, the latter of which pulled $10 million worth of advertising off the social network in May. Highlights follow:

Think about a new car launch and the need to tell about all of the new features. Each brand has fan pages where people share photos and stories. Now the focus is not to just speak to consumers — it’s to speak with them. Especially now with mobile devices and 1 billion Facebook users, people go to Facebook first thing in the morning, check it several times a day, and it’s often the last thing they look at, at night. It’s a huge opportunity.

Jim Farley of Ford (group VP of global marketing) is on my client council, one of 16 people across the world, and Jim represents the automotive industry. He has really rethought the pre-launch process for an automobile. He looks at the movie and gaming industries as great inspiration for that.

I’m also impressed with Dean Evans, the chief marketing officer of Subaru.

Chrysler’s another excellent client. If you take the spot they did for the Super Bowl with Eminem, that’s an example of content that is so engaging, and it answers two questions I always ask the creative chiefs, which are: “Why will somebody care?” and “Why will somebody share?”

That spot pulled on the heartstrings, and that was something. If you missed the Super Bowl, you wanted to make sure you got that in front of your friends.

We have continued to partner with GM to work on what’s possible going forward. I personally remain 100 percent committed to getting it right for them. I want to get it right for every marketer that’s on Facebook. I don’t want anyone to spend money that is not getting terrific ROI (return on investment).

I’m really enthusiastic about what the potential is, because I see what we’re doing with the other auto companies. My main goal is that we get the relationship in a place where we’ve outlined a really great strategy. It needs to be a really well-thought-out strategy around: Who are my fans? What is my content and strategy? How often am I communicating with them? How engaged are they? How much paid media should I put behind it? How should my Facebook strategy influence what I do on TV, print, outdoor, sponsorships? Just a very well-thought-out-strategy. I don’t think we had that with GM, and I think that’s really what caused the issue that happened right before the initial public offering. But we’ll get it right. I feel good about it.

Readers: Do you think Facebook and GM will eventually rekindle their relationship?