Nissan believes that its online fanbase of more than a million might help them plan for the company's future products. By doing this, Nissan is breaking one of the universal rule on market research and planning as these things usually are done with only a small and specific focus group and usually done in a hidden manner to avoid competitors from taking a peek at their future plans.
"We want to take our social media engagement to the next level," Erich Marx, Nissan's director of interactive and social media marketing says to Automotive News. "We have all these people following us who are obviously interested in what we're doing and where we're going. The next level in that relationship will be to get their input on where we should go."
Seeing its fanbase as some sort of a focus group, Nissan is planning to post an online question on what range of vehicle and/or technology choices that the market is expecting from them in the next 10 years. If everything goes well, Nissan will throw in more specific questions.
"We've grown our social audience very quickly," he adds. "We think there's a way to harness that as we move forward. If a year from now, all we're doing is posting cool product videos for them to look at, I think we will have missed an opportunity."