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  • Writer's pictureLisa Williams

What Marketers Can Learn from Transportation

One of the biggest issues of our time is the issue of transportation and mobility. Technology in a crowded planet hopes to change how we get from point A to point B. Just as digital marketing is highly fragmented and siloed, there is little integration between different transportation assets (planes, trains, cars, bikes) and the infrastructure that supports those assets.

Robin Chase, Founder of ZipCar, believes the future of cars is shared cars. The flexibility of shared cars allows people to use a vehicle that is most appropriate for a specific need, it greatly reduces cost, doesn't require maintenance. "All of the good stuff and none of the bad". According to AAA data average cost of owning a car is $9000 a year. Shared ownership doesn't just reduce the cost of car ownership but also encourages people to make better decisions about how and when to use their cars. She also launched BuzzCar in France. People rent out their own cars to their friends and neighbors. "If you live in a city and you don't have to drive a car you're crazy to own one."

As the Former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says cities can tackle the challenges of tomorrow by completely re-imagining transportation today. She is creating ways to integrate transportation to improve mobility and advocates looking at transportation as one integrated system rather than several siloed systems leads to big efficiencies. She made it easier to get around. "For the first time in history most people live in cities," says Sadik-Khan. She worked with Mayor Bloomberg to create efficiencies in New York's transportation infrastructure. Her efforts focused on creating an interconnected cycling lanes, developing a bike sharing system and creating pedestrian-only spaces. Not only did these efforts work very effectively, but it was enormously cost-effective.

Who better to learn innovation from than the Ford family? Henry Ford's great grandson Bill Ford Chairman of Ford Motor company envisions a world where people are enabled by integrated transportation to ensure mobility. "I used to worry about what would happen if we couldn't sell more cars and trucks? Now I worry about what will happen if all we do is sell cars and trucks." Population growth in terms of cars is staggering, there are 800 million cars on the road now. That number will grow to between 2 and 4 billion by mid-century. Average American spends about a week a year in traffic jams. Average commute time for those living in Beijing is 5 hours. "The option of doing nothing is not an option." He points out that his great grandfather would say that if he had asked people what they wanted when he set out to invent the car they would have answered "faster horses". The answer to more cars isn't to have more roads. "When we moved west we didn't add more wagon trains, we added railroads. "Today we need that same leap in thinking for us to create a viable future." He advocates the building of smart cars, but not just that. He advocates building of smart roads, smart parking, smart public transportation and an integrated system to optimize personal mobility on a massive scale without hassles or compromises. Hong Kong has a system that ties together all transportation assets on a same integrated payment system. Smart solutions are emerging to solve these problems. What are digital marketings' smart solutions? Integrated dashboards created jointly by multiple partners or long-term project plans that can be seen by all vendors would help pave the way to a reduction of silos, gaining time and cost efficiencies. Aggregating digital marketing assets in one location or repository is another example of a smart solution.

Bertrand Piccard flew around the world in a hot air balloon. He flew much higher with twice the speed If you fly too fast in a couple of hours you will turn left and end up at the North Pole "What do you really want? Do you want to go really fast the wrong direction or more slowly the good direction." Leadership with long-term vision is essential to moving agencies from places that go really fast but not always in the right direction.

How can we reimagine with great innovation and build less around siloed strategies and more around integrated strategies and systems to create more viable digital marketing relationships?

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