DEARBORN, Mich., May 14, 2002 – Ford Division has launched a new broad-reaching approach to the way it communicates with its millions of customers. Called “My Ford,” it features both an all-new website and a magazine. Together, these ongoing communications tools can enhance the overall vehicle ownership experience and help forge solid, long-term relationships with customers.
“Our goal is to streamline owner communications under the engine of My Ford,” said Richard Crossland, Ford Division customer relationship manager. “My Ford will become a reliable source of information for our customers and an ongoing reminder that they made the right choice when they purchased a Ford.”
My Ford Online
Accessible through www.fordvehicles.com, My Ford provides owners personal and relevant online information specific to their vehicle. Users simply enter a Ford vehicle identification number (VIN) and create a password to gain access to the site. There is no cost to the owner.
My Ford brings together numerous services and resources, tailored specifically to the visitor’s vehicle. Examples include: limited warranty and extended service contract information; vehicle care tips with clear, printable “how-to” directions; owner’s guides; service and maintenance schedules; self-reported service-history tracker; dealer information; messages from Ford with product information, including special offers and notifications; and access to personal Ford Credit accounts.
“We’re giving our owners what they asked for – a huge amount of specific information about their vehicles, all in one place, accessible 24-7 and in an easy-to-use format,” added Crossland. “All Ford brand products – from Focus to F-Series – are accessible through My Ford.”
The site also features an online store, screensavers, wallpapers, Ford contact information, roadside assistance information, a link to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a link to Kelley Blue Book and do-it-yourself advice articles.
My Ford magazine
Designed to compliment the My Ford online site, My Ford magazine is a full-color publication distributed three times a year to select Ford owners throughout the United States. The customized, 24-page magazine was launched in December 2001, with the first issue sent to more than 600,000 Ford owners. The second-edition of My Ford magazine was released in April.
“The website and the magazine are part of an overall strategy to bring the company and our dealers closer to our customers,” said Crossland. “My Ford is the tool that helps us do just that – communicate effectively and connect customers, dealers and Ford. The possibilities here, with both website and magazine, are endless.”
My Ford magazine is fully customized to complement the Ford vehicle in the individual reader’s garage. The first issue a new Ford owner receives – the welcome issue – is VIN specific, as it includes helpful information specific to the actual purchased vehicle. After that, select owners receive one of three versions of every issue of My Ford magazine, featuring one of three themes – car, truck or SUV. Thus, an owner of a Ford Explorer would receive the SUV issue, which is tailored to the SUV driver.
The magazine is produced and distributed with help from Ford dealers across the country. Participating dealers contribute a portion of the overall cost and provide mailing lists of customers. Currently, over 25 percent of Ford's approximately 3900 dealers are in the program, with more expected to join by year’s end.
Dealer participation is central to My Ford magazine. Each issue contains information from the individual reader’s local Ford dealer, complete with a welcome letter from the dealership’s president and a dealer information page that provides specific and useful store information such as hours of operation and contact numbers. Discount coupons redeemable in the service area are also included.
Typical articles in My Ford magazine range from travel/adventure stories to articles on racing. Ford product reviews, how-to articles and news items are also included. Feature articles vary according to target reader. In the Spring 2002 car book, for example, the travel story recounts adventures in New Orleans at the wheel of a 2002 Ford Focus. In the SUV book, the Baja Peninsula is the destination of choice.
Adds Crossland, “The magazine, like the website, serves as a reminder to customers that they didn’t just buy a vehicle, they bought into an ongoing relationship.”