The Right System
Chrysler Group decided to make the transition from manually-rendered HTML pages to pages deployed served from a Web Content Management (WCM) system. After spending more than a year working with the company’s standard WCM software, Mike Morton, senior manager, Interactive Communications, Chrysler Group still couldn’t get it to do what he needed.
“It just didn’t serve our needs, and needed so much customization that it was almost like having to custom-code everything from scratch,” he recalls.
Mike Morton began researching other possibilities. As he reviewed blogs and chatroom discussions by others who’d faced similar challenges, a consistent theme began to emerge: the reliability, ease-of-use, and ease-of-deployment of Autonomy’s WCM solution based on Autonomy TeamSite software. Because less customization would be needed, the project could be completed more quickly—and without requiring any additional budget allocation. After making this case to Chrysler group’s corporate IT department, Mike Morton was given the green light to proceed. With help from interactive consulting firm Razorfish, the new site went live on October 20, 2004.
A More Responsive Marketing Machine
Only months after its introduction, the benefits of Chrysler Group’s Autonomy solution are already clear. The transition from manually rendered HTML to TeamSite-based templates will enable the company to get new marketing messages onto its website more quickly and effectively than ever, while maintaining complete consistency in brand and look-and-feel. Integration with a digital asset management system already in place makes web and e-mail templates, pages, banner ads and other assets readily available for efficient reuse. By bringing its external web development agencies onto the same platform, Chrysler Group will enable them to accomplish much more work at a lower cost—a savings that will be built into future contracts.
“In evaluating our tactical focus for the coming year, there weren’t too many that don’t relate back to Autonomy as a key piece of infrastructure,” reports Morton.
The ease and speed of web page production enables a higher level of integration with other advertising media; for example, a TV or print ad can refer viewers to a page created specifically for that promotion, rather than simply the main brand site.
“Autonomy gives the rest of our marketing organization confidence in sending people to the web and knowing it will be able to keep up.”
As Chrysler Group’s Internet advertising activity grows, this high level of control and flexibility will provide a powerful multiplier for its marketing budget. TeamSite’s easy-to-use forms give Chrysler Group’s contributors a simple mechanism to rapidly enter content that is guaranteed to be consistent with corporate branding and navigation guidelines. Content is also easily re-used and kept consistent across sites and will allow Chrysler Group to maintain a seamless and intuitive experience for customers all the way from Chrysler Group’s main brand sites to the sites of the local dealerships who will close the sales.
“If you’re letting a creative person build HTML pages one at a time with no structured standards, your pages and story don’t flow well,” says Morton.
In the past, this lack of control has resulted in local dealer sites that left something to be desired — including some that the company was reluctant to link to, limiting the number of referrals to those dealerships and the overall effectiveness of Chrysler Group’s sales in that location.
Now, the cost-effectiveness of the Autonomy solution will make it possible for Chrysler Group to bring its roughly 4,200 dealership sites in-house in the coming year, building and hosting them at no additional cost to the dealerships. In addition to providing a more unified experience, this will yield a higher level of control, as Chrysler Group follows its customers through the site to learn more about them and their preferences and serve personalized pages based on this information. When new product information is available, it will be automatically replicated to local sites without relying on the dealerships themselves. Dealerships will still be able to contribute to their own sites — photographs, used car listings, information of personnel, current promotions — but strictly within a consistent, centrally-controlled brand environment. The needs of both content consistency and local contribution will be balanced and at a lower overall cost. Even before the rollout of their Autonomy-based dealership sites, dealerships are reaping the benefits of Chrysler Group’s new websites and sales flow-through to dealerships strategy. Usage of their dealer locator application is already up an annualized rate of 58%, and requests for quotes have risen 72%. Vehicle page views are up 46%, and usage of the vehicle configurator application has shot up 153%.