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Chevy Cars Deserve Better Marketing

Chevrolet Motor DivisionImage via Wikipedia

New advertising for Chevy cars once again demonstrate that the General Motors marketing and advertising team have failed to learn the lessons of the past.  The feature rich campaign fails to position the cars as anything more than having better features than the competition. 

In an advertising feature fest, the cars talk miles per gallon, cargo room and many other factors that the left brain thinkers at GM think are important.  They back up these superior features with a money back guarantee.  Even worse, they may be emulating the comparative Ford advertising campaign assuming that they are solving a similar problem, which they are not.

While feature superiority is helpful, there is an opportunity here for the advertising to work harder by also positioning the cars.  The issue with GM is not that some of the features are superior, or that the quality is better, I'll give them that.  The problem is that I have no idea why I should buy one. 

As stated by Al Ries, advertising is for positioning, not for a feature fest. The issue isn't that Chevy is superior, it's that people don't want to buy them. 

Since I can't resist, here's what I would do:

1. Position Chevy as the best entry level family car in America.  If not this position, pick another, any position.  Measure the size of the audience for the positioning to ensure that sales targets can be met.

2. Identify those benefits that are important to young families - focus on those that are a price of entry into the category (safety, room, features), and those that differentiate the car.  Make the positioning primary supported by a select feature.

3. Model every program after being family friendly, from the showroom experience to service.  Features such as a purchase experience which offers babysitting on Saturday's so that parents can focus.  Or a 15 minute showroom gaurantee so that impatient kids don't get bored.  You get the idea.  Take these ideas as illustrations of what needs to be done, not as a specific prescription.

4. Offer loaner cars, so that the family is never without the car.

5. Guarantee that no future repair will be over a certain amount per year, to protect the family budget.

6. Feature real families that have customized their Chevy's to the needs of the family.

These are just a few. I'm sure with a bit of research the rest is easy.  Even better, I bet there is no leader in this space as the competition is marketed to everyone instead of anyone.  One strength of American manufacturing has always been our advanced understanding of marketing.  It's time for GM and Chevy to relearn that lesson and let the marketing and advertising team show what they can do.

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