Free Marketing Advice for GM.
Here’s some free marketing advice for Chairman Lutz and the Powers that Be at General Motors:
You know those folks you have heading up your Buick division? Fire them. Now.
With GM freshly out from under its onerous bankruptcy filing and an anxious public waiting to see if this “new” GM will be competitive in the world market, its first major move is a bit of a head-scratcher. Seems the Buick division is betting its future on the fact that it can appeal to a younger audience. (Granted, Buick’s definition of “younger” isn’t the same as yours or mine. They’re looking for folks younger than 55.)
This summer, the marque is launching a boldly redesigned 2010 LaCrosse passenger sedan that so far has gotten pretty good reviews. But is it enough to draw Generation Jones to the brand?
And what, exactly, are the brand geniuses behind Buick going to do to appeal to cutting edge boomers? Changing the media they use to reach them. That’s it, I’m not kidding.
Guys, marketing these days requires more than finessing your media mix. Moving your ad spending from “Matlock” to “Two-and-a-half Men” isn’t exactly going to redefine the brand.
You can change your product. You can change your media. You can change your messaging. But the bottom line is: your brand isn’t what you say it is; it’s what it is in the minds of your audience. Baggage included. I don’t care how cool your car looks. If I see it as my parents’ brand, I’m not going to buy it.
The thing is, you guys have tried this same tactic before—remember Oldsmobile? “Not your father’s Oldsmobile?” How’d that work out for ya?
It was George Santayana who first said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Any more free advice for GM & Buick? Find a market that is totally underserved right now. A group that just isn’t that happy with the other choices that are out there. Find out what their lives are like, what’s missing, and what you can add to it to help them achieve something. Forget demographics, go for shared interests. Maybe it’s around a shared passion or a shared cause. Look for something that can help you build a community of users. Maybe it’s nurses. Or lumberjacks. Or single moms. Or kayakers. Or Def Leppard fans. Or “Big Love” loyalists. Or penguin huggers.
Or try something really bold, like free maintenance and repairs for ten years, or a free computer every three years you own the car.
The main advice is don’t be afraid to polarize. Buick represents only a little over one percent of the domestic auto market, and just three percent of GM’s output. It is already a niche brand. Swing for the fences, you can’t bunt a homerun.
And, if you insist on just targeting younger buyers, I’ll throw in a free tagline: “Hey, buy a Buick, Yo.”
Posted by Mickey
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