Although CES 2017 was open to news organizations two and a half days ago, their public floor opened today January 5th. With a lot of interesting things on the horizon, one thing, in particular, stood out to me, and it was the sudden implementation of YouTubers as disseminators of information.
Along with various other YouTubers Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), one of the site’s most prominent tech bloggers, has taken to documenting and reviewing his new Tesla. Sharing not only general information, which can easily be shared through advertisements or marketing campaigns, these YouTubers also become an avenue for consumer to consumer opinion sharing. There is no pressure to buy because you’re not being sold anything. There’s no transaction, just a casual sharing of views.
Somewhere along the line Mercedes’s marketing team took notice and decided to put their new self-driving car into Marques’ hands. Now, a lot of people might not find this enlightening – it is far from a revolutionary idea – but the fact that Mercedes came down from their ivory tower to talk to us “little people” is a stark change from the norm. Most companies spend millions on promotions and advertising only to reach a fraction of their target audience. But by using a prominent YouTuber, whose niche is tech, Mercedes is marketing to a pre-made audience whose demographic and interests they already know. It provides an opportunity for consumer opinion to be heard, without a dime on advertising being spent. It cost them absolutely nothing to bring him into a parking lot and give him a few hours with their prototype, and they’ve instantly reached a consumer base that they may have missed if advertising on TV.
As David Scott reminded us in The New Rules of Marketing and PR, a lot of buyers search a car company’s website looking for useful information on a car they’re considering, but the manufacturer assumes they’re already ready to buy, providing none of the information the shopper is looking for. They advertise TO them, instead of sharing pertinent information about their product offerings. By giving YouTubers early access to the product, they’ve provided consumers with another avenue to receive information, one that allows education about a product in a way that the company’s website couldn’t provide.
Using YouTube and the platform’s most prominent and up and coming content creators is an insightful choice on Mercedes’s part, and I hope many other companies take note – or risk falling behind.
– You (companies) need to start getting your products into the hands of top YouTubers that vblog about / voice interest in your industry.
– You get free targeted advertising rather than having to spend money blanketing a general demographic.
— Presenting you with an opportunity to target people, at no cost, who are passionate about your industry and expressing information to potential customers that an advertisement could never communicate.