AKRON (Nov. 10, 2000)—When a tire manufacturer´s representative meets a tire dealer, the manufacturer´s rep usually gives the dealer a business card with phone and fax numbers and, perhaps, an e-mail address.
Goodyear´s commercial tire sales personnel now are giving out a "cyber calling card" that has a lot more. It´s really a CD-ROM disc about the size of a business card.
This disc contains the same information found in about 25 different Goodyear publications—including product brochures for all lines of truck tires, engineering data, service and repair information and other information, said Al Cohn, Goodyear´s marketing manager of commercial systems engineering.
"We felt this was a great way to give all the information to the end users that buy our products, in one little card," he said.
The card can be read on any IBM-compatible computer with a Pentium chip and the user can easily search for tires by size, model, use or search for any other topic by word.
"Everything you wanted to know about truck tires is included on this little CD-ROM," Mr. Cohn said.
Goodyear has ordered about 250,000 of these cards and is distributing them to commercial tire dealers, distributors and fleet operators.
Manufacturers of truck engines and other parts already distribute their service manuals on CD-ROM, Mr. Cohn said, but Goodyear is the first tire company to use this technology as a marketing and informational tool.
Goodyear spends several million dollars a year printing product brochures, Mr. Cohn said, and the development and production of these calling cards will cost the Akron-based company less than half as much. Also, dealers like the cards because they don´t take up the space a shelf full of product literature does and information about a specific tire or topic can be found much more quickly.
Mr. Cohn said he got the idea when he received a mini-CD in the mail that was a demo for a computer game. "The whole key is to get a lot of information in a very small space," he said. "That´s what caught my interest."
The initial reaction to the mini-discs has been very positive, he added, and Goodyear may order more copies of the discs because some fleets are requesting multiple copies to give to their drivers.
An updated version of the disc will be released about once a year, Mr. Cohn said, and future editions are likely to contain more video and animated information as the technology improves. He believes the conventional business card will disappear in a few years when more companies see the appeal of this use of new technology.
Goodyear wanted to be able to offer "something that was not just a bunch of tire pictures, but really an interactive encyclopedia of knowledge," he said.