As Marketing Manager for Ford Motor Company, Hurt led the development of the Transit Connect Product and Communications Launch Strategy that not only has engaged consumers, dealers and the media, but has convinced the North American market that this vehicle is built for them.
Through market research Hurt identified the critical “must haves” needed to convince the consumer that the vehicle was “built for their small business”. The plan was developed in four stages: Launch Early, Engage the Consumer, Engage the Dealers, and Engage the Media.
For the first stage, the Transit Connect was introduced to the North America Consumer in February 2008 at the Chicago Auto Show. By extending its introduction significantly reduced the consumer’s worry o fit being an all-new product.
A unique “Connect with Connect: contest was launched targeting small business owners for whom the vehicle may be a perfect fit for their business. Five winners were selected and each was given a Transit Connect modified specifically for their business. For five months, the positive message about Transit Connect’s versatility and suitability hasn’t come from Ford but from these small business owners – a strategy of having consumers convince consumers.
Dealer ordering for Transit Connect began in February 2009 with expected delivery of the first units to the dealers four months later. With no “hands on” experience of the product, Hurt needed to ensure that the dealers had confidence in placing orders for the vehicle in high volume. Effectiveness of dealer communication is evident from dealer orders that have exceeded the production plan (occurring during the first half of 2009).
The 2010 Ford Transit Connect was introduced to consumers and media through a unique, integrated experiential launch designed to reach more the 250 media and 3,000 potential consumers in a 13-city tour. This included individual one-on-one drives and consumer events at Sam’s Club stores. All publications, radio, digital writers/bloggers and small business owners were invited to experience the Transit Connect.
The success of the extensive launch plan developed by Hurt received comprehensive recognition within the industry. This was reinforced by Transit Connect receiving the 2010 North American Truck of the Year.
Hurt is responsible for the development of all sales and marketing materials supporting the E-Series commercial vans.