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Marketing in the automotive industry – during and after the pandemic

Interview with Stephan Reyer

The automotive sector is an exciting industry and, not least, an enormously important one. Based on our experience with clients in the automotive segment – VW and Škoda, for example – we asked Stephan Reyer, Head of Marketing Support at Porsche Media & Creative in Austria, what the current and future marketing situation is in his industry.


Mr. Reyer, if you look ahead for a moment: What does marketing in the automotive industry look like after the pandemic? Do you see a marketing push or rather a restrained marketing?

Originally, we had expected a marketing push after the pandemic had subsided, but the situation on the supplier market is currently difficult to assess. Important parts, such as semiconductors, cannot be supplied in sufficient quantities. In addition, raw materials such as steel, aluminum, etc. have become significantly more expensive and in some cases are also not available in the required quantities. As a result, some manufacturers have had to go on short-time working. This situation also affects marketing activities. It would be bad for a manufacturer’s image to advertise its products heavily and then be unable to supply them in response to demand, or only with long delivery times.


The last years it was quite quiet concerning the marketing activities within the automotive industry. Now we (Audio Logo GmbH) are again receiving smaller orders. Do you think that custom production of promotional materials in short runs (or even very short runs) is the future?

The trend in marketing activities such as printed matter or advertising materials is certainly moving in the direction of smaller print runs. These will be very targeted and, above all, personalized.


Where will the large marketing budgets go this year and next: into pure product marketing or into image advertising?

I think it will be a combination of both. The best way to see this is with e-mobility. New models are being developed, ranges are being increased, faster charging performance is becoming possible and the charging infrastructure is being expanded. However, customers interested in e-mobility don’t just see the product – the e-car – but are very interested in how sustainable the production is, what materials are used, how high the recycling rate of the entire vehicle is, especially that of the batteries, and so on.

In any case, image advertising is important for this. However, as the competition is getting bigger, more and more manufacturers are entering the market with new e-models, product promotion is also necessary.


2020 has turned the world upside down a bit. How has the pandemic affected your marketing efforts, or what is now the relationship between digital and analog marketing?

Marketing budgets were greatly reduced during the pandemic, especially in the 1st lockdown of spring 2020. Analog marketing went to almost zero. But digital marketing was also greatly reduced. No one knew how long the lockdown would last, how it would affect the labor market, how consumers would react to the loss of income due to short-time work. In the meantime, analog marketing has recovered and is almost at pre-pandemic levels. However, the trend is moving more and more toward digital marketing.

But the advantage of print products – such as haptics or the three-dimensional (e.g., an elaborate, personalized mailing) – will never reach digital marketing. Numerous studies have shown that content from analog, printed advertising materials is much better received and accepted than content from digital advertising materials. Many consumers are overwhelmed by the flood of digital advertising materials and delete them unopened. In some cases, they even react angrily when unwanted ads pop up on the screen and close them without paying attention. In the future, it will certainly become increasingly important to tailor marketing activities to the target groups.


Mr. Reyer, thank you very much for the interesting interview!


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