Commentary—No Return from “Online Buzz?”

Jeremy Detgen_v

Jeremy Detjen

Coca-Cola created a large debate about a week ago, with their conclusion that “online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales,” according to an Ad Age article.

Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola’s vice president of integrated marketing communications and capabilities, expanded on this finding by stating that in isolation it is true, but should not “obscure the role that social media plays.” This statement was based on an internal Coca-Cola study that shows social media alone does not add much value to short-term sales, but when combined with other channels is more effective than any one channel on its own.

It is important to note that online buzz is only one metric of social media success, and at best it is a measure of high-level engagement or brand recognition. So it makes sense that it does not impact sales directly. Clark goes on to clarify that “in beta testing with Facebook, [they]’ve been able to track closed-loop sales from site exposure to in-store purchase with very promising initial results that are above norms for what [they] see with other media.” Continue reading ›

Automakers Post Robust March US Sales Gains; Compacts in Demand

An improving economy helped spur US buyers to purchase or lease 12.6% more new vehicles in March than in the same month of 2010. In addition, higher gasoline prices* may have encouraged buyers to consider smaller, more fuel-efficient new vehicles. In March, demand for compacts increased significantly. Last month, J.D. Power projected that nearly one-fourth of new vehicles purchased or leased in March 2011 would be compacts—the highest percentage of compacts in the total light-vehicle sales mix since the CARS program was in effect (summer of 2009).

Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, told the Associated Press today that some buyers who were in the market for a smaller vehicle made by a Japanese automaker went ahead with their purchase following the country’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Buyers may have been concerned that supplies of cars such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit could run low in the coming weeks.

Early J.D. Power results indicate that US delivery totals in March rose to 1.244 million units—equal to an average annual selling rate (SAAR) of 13.1 million units, up from 11.7 million units a year ago. March 2011 had 27 selling days vs. 26 selling days in March 2010. Continue reading ›