Neil Tolbert

Neil Tolbert, Mack Trucks Digital Marketing Manager

“I consider it an honor to work for a brand like Mack Trucks,” says Neil Tolbert, their Digital Marketing Manager.

Having a community is about connecting people and humanizing the brand — it's about finding and cultivating those brand advocates.

“We're 114 years old. A lot of Mack trucks have built America during our history,” he says.

But their age hasn't kept Mack Trucks from being open and flexible in social media. Neil says support from their Vice President of Marketing, John Walsh, and the President of Mack Trucks North America, Stephen Roy, is one of the keys to success in their social program.

“I think executive support makes for a great environment for creativity and flexibility, and it helps us mature our vision in social media. Additionally, we have a great internal team and strong support from our corporate communications group.”

This past year, Neil's team has focused on bringing together a consistent brand presence online to grow their followers.

That meant taking back control of abandoned accounts, filing trademark complaints with social channels to take back the brand's name, and fighting for their domain.

Now, with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube aligned, he says they've seen tremendous growth on each channel. For example, they went from 6,000 to 107,000 fans on Facebook, 300 to 5,000 YouTube subscribers, and now they're up to nearly 10,000 Twitter followers.

But Neil says it's the people behind those numbers that count.

“Having a community is about connecting people and humanizing the brand — it's about finding and cultivating those brand advocates,” Neil explains. “Someone may buy a dump truck from us this year and keep that truck for eight to 10+ years. How do you maintain that relationship for 10 years?”

He says that's where their content and CRM strategy come into play. Right now, they're using Eloqua to centralize their marketing database and cultivate leads to support their dealer network.

In the future, they're also looking to expand their corporate blog as one of their first steps towards building an owned community.

They also rely on good old-fashioned, one-on-one conversations.

For example, Neil says he talks to one customer on Twitter regularly, and he's become a big advocate for Mack Trucks on social media because of that outreach.

“In fact, he messaged me yesterday to say he's planning to do a plant tour when his truck is being built in June so he can see his truck coming down the assembly line.”

Neil says he knows there are more customers like this one out there with the potential to become a brand advocate, and their next steps at Mack Trucks are to find and manage those relationships.

Follow Neil on Twitter and check out his blog on communities, digital marketing, and social. Neil's been a part of since March 2015.