The 'Intrapreneurial' Approach

Chrysler Group manager's eclectic background helps him navigate a corporate bureaucracy to overhaul the automaker's content-management system

Steven Marlin, Contributor

September 9, 2005

3 Min Read

TeamSite manages not only Chrysler's corporate sites but those of its top dealers as well. About 2,500 out of 4,200 dealer sites have been designated "Five Star" sites based on sales volume and other criteria. Chrysler has brought these sites in-house, building and hosting them at no cost to the dealers.

As soon as new product or marketing content is created, it's automatically replicated to the Five Star dealer sites. For example, at the bottom of a screen displaying a Chrysler, Jeep, or Dodge model are windows displaying the latest promotions, such as employee discounts offered to customers on 2005 models. In the competitive automobile business, where frequent promotions and customer incentives are the norm, the versatility of the system "allows me to change those promotions without rebuilding the page," Morton says.

The Five Star sites have special content intended to reinforce Chrysler's TV and print ads, such as interactive showrooms where prospective buyers can view different vehicle configurations and search dealer inventories. Dealers may still personalize their sites with content such as photographs, used-car listings, and information on personnel, but within a consistent, centrally controlled brand environment.

The central marketing premise is to bring a consistent brand message to electronic media. "If you visit a Dodge Five Star dealer, the look and feel of Dodge carries to that dealer site," Morton says.

Morton worked closely with a focus group of dealers during site development, displaying mock-ups of sites and soliciting input. When the dealers asked that the sites display photos of their showrooms and used-car inventories, those features were added.

Page views and requests for quotes have risen dramatically in the year since launching the new Web sites. Morton declines to provide specific numbers, but he says the TeamSite project has produced "very solid hard and soft dollar returns on investments" for the automaker.

Chrysler has expanded the use of TeamSite beyond building Web pages to other forms of electronic communications with customers, such as E-mail. In the past, each E-mail solicitation had to be designed from scratch, with content such as price, vehicle make and model, and special promotions added manually; using TeamSite, the templates are populated automatically.

The company also is using TeamSite to manage the content in its online advertising in car-buying guides such as Kelley Blue Book and "We were building those ads manually; now ads will be built on Interwoven," Morton says.

"In one year, we've gone from building Web pages to dealer sites, outbound E-mail-campaign templates, and now we're building online advertising templates," Morton says, summing up the automaker's content-management progress.

The next steps in enterprise content management for Chrysler will involve bringing together all the areas that support the automaker's three brands, including Chrysler Financial, its Mopar parts and accessories unit, various agency partners, and Interwoven in order "to strategically plan the next steps to develop the tool to take us into the next year," Morton says.

In November, Chrysler will roll out branded Web sites for its Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge dealers in Canada, to be followed in January by the rollout of Web sites for Dodge dealers around the world. Morton credits his overseas experience for providing the wisdom to extend the lessons learned in the United States to a global level.

"If I hadn't lived in a foreign country and learned to understand the global economy," he says, "I wouldn't have learned the lessons that would allow us to roll out branded Web sites globally for all three Chrysler brands."

About the Author(s)

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights