When Henry Ford launched his first car, Model A, in 1903, he probably had no idea what he was unleashing on the world. Since that modest beginning, Ford went on to become one of the giants of the motor industry. They now make different car brands, sports utility vehicles, trucks and luxury vehicles. The auto industry has grown exponentially since Henry Ford’s time. The company faces stiff competition from other big brands such as General Motors, Fiat, Volkswagen and Nissan. 

To stay relevant and in demand, Ford has constantly updated its technology, launched successful marketing campaigns and cemented their reputation as one of the biggest car companies in the world. They have powered ahead in the digital age as well, turning to digital marketing to win over a new generation of customers. 

Their notable digital marketing case study is the Ford Fiesta. That car has been riding a wave of popularity since its launch in 1976. To date, over 22 million Ford Fiestas have been sold around the world.

In 2010, Ford decided to launch a new version of the Fiesta for US customers after a gap of 13 years. Around this time, the market was already saturated with multiple car brands. How can they revive interest in an old classic that has been reinvented as a modern standard? Let’s find out as we analyse their tactics through a digital marketing case study of the Ford Fiesta. 

The Story So Far

Back in 1976, the Fiesta was launched to meet the rising demands of the American public, who wanted a modestly priced, compact vehicle. After a few years in development, the car went on sale and became an instant hit. A second version was launched in 1983 with better features. The newer model outsold the VW Polo and became the highest-selling small car of the ’80s.

Every few years, Ford would release a new version with advanced qualities. However, by 2010, there hadn’t been an upgrade in over a decade. Plans to relaunch the Fiesta were in full swing, but given the competitive climate and short attention spans of the spoilt-for-choice US consumers, the marketing team at Ford needed to pull up their socks. Their goal was to get over 10,000 people in America and Canada to sign up for a test drive. So they needed an effective strategy to achieve their targets. There was one slight hitch. They were now speaking to Millennials. So they needed to find a way to connect with this digitally-adept community. 

The final product was called the Ford Fiesta Movement, a brilliant idea that eventually became a much-talked-about digital marketing case study.

The Big Digital Marketing Idea 

Ford was looking to appeal to a younger generation of drivers. Which meant they needed to find them at their most popular hangout place – online. They were not the only brand trying to reach Millennials. There were many campaigns online aimed at this audience. Ford needed a genius idea to break through the digital clutter. The think tank at Ford came up with a creative and innovative campaign that combined social media with viral marketing to generate a high level of interest. 

It was called The Fiesta Movement. Ford announced that they would choose 100 people, also called ‘agents’, out of over 4,000 applicants to use the new Ford Fiesta for six months. They were selected due to their high number of followers and subscribers on social media. Most of them had over 1000 followers on Twitter or Facebook, while some participants had over 2.2 million YouTube video views. This ensured that Ford was tapping into a large audience of existing viewers. It’s no big surprise that many companies have tried to replicate Ford’s success by analysing this digital marketing case study.

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How Did They Execute The Fiesta Movement?

All agents receive free fuel, car insurance and video cameras to record their experiences. The videos were authentic and untampered. Ford did not have any involvement in producing any of the content. 

Every month, these agents were sent on exciting missions such as a hike in the mountains, training with Navy Seals, visiting famous landmarks and even finding a celebrity impersonator. The experiences were documented online through videos, blogs and social media platforms. The agents would give meticulous details about their journey, including how the Fiesta held up during each adventure. The videos were entertaining and informative, allowing potential customers to learn about the Fiesta in the real world. The Fiesta Movement was so widely acclaimed that many experts often refer to this digital marketing case study as a breakthrough campaign for Ford. 

The Endgame 

The Fiesta Movement went viral across America. It generated a lot of content that was extensively viewed online and even used in Ford’s TV and print advertisements. They managed to forge a connection with the elusive millennial crowd and drive up considerable interest in the Fiesta. The campaign exploded across America and chalked up so much attention across all digital platforms, yet it was much cheaper to execute than traditional marketing tactics. 

Here are some of the statistics of this exceptional digital marketing case study:

  • Content generated: 4000 videos and 5000 photos 
  • Youtube views: 4.3 million+
  • Facebook followers: 1.8 million 
  • Twitter followers: 206,000 
  • Blog posts: 27,000
  • Fiesta sales in 2010 and 2011: 92,000+

How To Mimic Ford’s Digital Marketing Case Study 

Ford’s marketing team used a strategic, creative approach to execute the Fiesta Movement. Here’s what they did:

  • They got a part of the target audience to represent the brand. 
  • The 100 agents generated creative content that appealed to their viewers and went viral. 
  • The entire campaign felt like an adventure series that kept the audience engaged for the entire six months. 
  • The company did not get involved with the final product, so it did not feel like a marketing gimmick or scheme.
  • The campaign went viral because all digital platforms were aptly used 
  • The Fiesta Movement was executed before the actual car launch. By the time the Fiesta hit the market, thousands of potential buyers were ready to test drive the car. 

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What You Can Learn From This Digital Marketing Case Study

  • Know your target audience well. Find out what their likes and interests are, so you can incorporate them into your campaign.
  • Get key members of your target audience to become brand ambassadors 
  • Avoid advertising or marketing jargon when you speak to your potential customers. Showcase your product without actively ‘selling’ it to them.
  • Never underestimate the power of social media. It can be your greatest resource when you launch a digital marketing campaign 
  • User-generated content is always better received by the audience than company-led promotions 
  • Well-structured and creative content can help to build a good reputation for the brand 

Read – An iconic digital marketing case study – Coca Cola

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If you are impressed with Ford’s digital marketing case study and want to learn more about the industry, check out Proschool’s comprehensive PG Digital Marketing course.

The post-graduate certificate in management covers important concepts, industry knowledge and technical skills that transform students into digital marketing specialists. The syllabus includes training in the latest technology and digital platforms. Proschool’s faculty contains digital marketing experts who are renowned in the field. The teachers use their experience and acumen to create active learning methods that enhance the learning experience. They also use prominent digital marketing case studies to help students understand the industry better. 

About the course:

  • The PGCM course is for one year 
  • Students are taught about various digital marketing case studies 
  • The syllabus contains essential subjects such as SEM, SEO, business statistics, data analysis in Excel and marketing management, etc.
  • You work on platforms such as Google Analytics, LinkTree and Facebook Ads
  • You can attend coaching centres near you or take online classes
  • You receive an AICTE-approved and AIMA-backed PGCM qualification along with an NSDC certificate
  • Proschool’s placement program helps students to master their interview skills and land entry-level jobs at some of the leading companies.

The Conclusion:

Ford’s digital marketing case study shows us that innovative strategies mixed with viral marketing can lead to tremendous results. Brands are now moving away from traditional promotional advertising and instead opting for more interactive and engaging campaigns. Digital marketing is the way forward. It shows you can achieve a high level of success without breaking the bank. As new technology develops and digital platforms get more sophisticated, it is an exciting time to be in the digital marketing industry.

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