All the media is reporting what is happening with the recession, Obama’s pending inauguration and the bailout of just about every big business in the world. Those are very important issues, don’t get me wrong, but from a marketing perspective I want to speak on what the strategy of the Big 3 automakers is missing.
Decades ago, GM was the biggest and baddest company on the planet. They had enormous assets, loads of employees (and lines of people lining up to hope to be an employee) and clout like no other at that time. Now they are on the brink of bankruptcy even with the government loans. They, along with Ford and Chrysler, have a huge hurtle in front of them and loads of issues.
The last one they are probably thinking about is their marketing and how they are reaching potential customers. Faith in these companies is nil. Worry that they still will collapse is prevalent. So, why would they keep the same marketing strategy of using mass media and standard discounting and promotion to entice customers to come purchase their cars?
Every car company uses a similar tactic: 0% interest, $2000 cash back, free upgrades and services. The Big 3 should be thinking about what is the fundamental barrier of consumers purchasing their cars? (the recession notwithstanding)
Faith. Lack of faith in those brands.
I don’t want to purchase a car or truck from a company that I am not sure will be around in the next 3 years to still provide a warranty. An automobile is an immense purchase and liability. Why not reassure consumers that they are going to do everything in their power to come out of this financial crisis as strong as ever? Restore faith in your brand and company.
Engage your potential customers in dialogue. Provide them what they want, not what you think they want. Use some of that $14 billion in loans to research your potential target market. Through that dialogue, make sure they know you truly want their business and will make the sacrifices necessary to do that. Be real. Be genuine.
The consumer doesn’t take kindly to smoke and mirrors and half-truths.