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Subaru Drives Outdoor Lifestyle Marketing Online

Taking its lifestyle-marketing stance a step further, Subaru of America Inc. has created a new outdoor life section on Subaru.com to better align its online and offline efforts.

Live since early December, the section is based on the interests and lifestyles of its target audiences. But it also carries prominent links to various active-lifestyle organizations as part of a joint marketing and promotion platform.

Suburu began promoting the new features with an e-mail drop this week.

“I think it's intended to raise the overall awareness of the brand and to be somewhat of an enabler because we already are out there in places where most of these people partake of their active lifestyle,” said Sam Ingram, interactive marketing manager at Subaru.

Based near Philadelphia in Cherry Hill, NJ, Subaru is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. The automaker is known for its Outback sport utility wagon and brands like the Legacy, Forester and Impreza.

While accessible by clicking on the Outdoor Life button on Subaru, the lifestyle pages can be reached directly by interest. So, visitors get to the skiing and snowboarding page by pointing the browser to snow.subaru.com.

Similarly, visitors can access water, mountain, performance, special interest and professional pages for articles, tips, Subaru Gear by cataloger L.L. Bean and an events calendar.

Visitors to these Subaru pages soon will be able to participate in special offers. The automaker will reveal details as it unveils its new concept car Jan. 7 at the Detroit Auto Show.

“But it's going to be tightly integrated with what we're doing with the partner pages and with the partners themselves,” Ingram said.

The automaker by month's end will e-mail 100,000 people in its house file to draw attention to this new feature on the site. This follows a drop of 500,000 e-mails to prospects this week. Names were rented from lists based on the various vertical outdoor interest categories.

DVCi Technologies, part of Morristown, NJ, marketing services firm DVC Group Inc., helped design the outdoor life section on Subaru.com.

The partners, mostly industry associations and lobbies, are important in making Subaru a content destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Partners include the National Ski Patrol, American Association of Snowboard Instructors, American Canoe Association, Masters Rowing Association, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the Sports Car Club of America, Geological Society of America and Subaru MasterCard Program.

Each organization is featured via links at the bottom of the respective interest page. In return, they provide and update the content and images on the pages. DVC calls the partners every two weeks for the updates and edits submissions.

“The goal was really not to sell more cars as my top-line initiative,” Ingram said. “The goal was really to attach ourselves to our partners, because we already have relationships with them [offline] and wanted to find a way to be able to help them do what they do.”

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