In the early 80′s, I was working with GM dealer marketing groups throughout the country. In those days, multicultural or ethnic marketing was rarely discussed with my GM, Oldsmobile or Cadillac marketing counterparts or even car dealer clients.
In fact, even targeted marketing to females was rarely discussed and at the time they were moving fast into the workforce. Female sales people were rare as well. The best in the country was Donna Dunnivan at Bendik Olds in Pittsburgh. Even though Donna’s success was well known nationally, dealers were slow to hire female sales people and cater to them as customers.
To build my product knowledge of the cars I was marketing, I frequently attended classes at a local GM Training Center. I once asked a GM engineer why their cars didn’t have vanity mirrors on the driver’s side visor – most Japanese cars did – and he said it would take about three years! The funny thing was a lot of my dealers sold extra mirrors with rubber bands that you could affix to the driver’s side visors.
In those days in the car business, when you lost a sale, you lost it for about seven years minimum and maybe more if the customer was happy with her purchase.
Isn’t it amazing how marketing opportunities are all around you if you only paid attention and worked hard to maximize them!
McDonald’s has been paying attention for a long time. Sure, they may have stumbled a bit over the years (who hasn’t?), but I’ll take their track record any day.
My first real exposure to extreme targeted marketing (seniors, moms, kids, teens, tweens, seniors etc.) and multicultural, ethnic marketing was during my McDonald’s days in the 80′s and 90′s.
I don’t profess to be an expert (does one ever truly arrive at anything to be considered and expert?), but I gained valuable insights that I bring with me to every marketing engagement and I work hard to expand my knowledge base.
Naturally, I was proud to see my old friend McDonald’s CMO Neil Golden rock the house with his “Leading with Ethnic Insights” presentation at the recent ANA Masters of Marketing Conference (see AdAge coverage of his speech here – here’s another report – take time to read both – good stuff!).
Note: McDonald’s marketing is in good hands with Neil Golden!
McDonald’s estimates that about 40% of its core loyal U.S. business comes from the Hispanic, Asian and African-American markets, and 50% of consumers under the age of 13 are from those segments too.
A few questions for you:
- Do you know what your ethnic population base in your core market/s?
- Do you know how your ethnic sales mix breaks down?
- Is your management team ethnically balanced?
- Do you have ethnic marketing practices? Hiring practices?
- Do you know how to manage cultural differences?
Today, with more targeted media and the internet, it’s a bit easier to market to specific groups, to communicate relevant messages, make them feel welcome, and to treat different people differently and with respect to their uniqueness.
Get out from your desk and start a multicultural marketing plan today. I’m sure you’re leaving money on the table. Great Multicultural Marketing isn’t black and white, but it certainly is GREEN – that is, it will ring your cash register and you can take it to the bank!
P.S.: Remember Neil’s sage advice that there are, “No malls in the ghetto!” I’m lovin’ it!
In the past few weeks/days, I read an article in Ad Age titled, What to Expect From Chrysler’s Marketing Chief: Provocative Ads. And, an article in Automotive News titled, Chevy review is latest sign GM wants ads that provoke.
Provocative ads aren’t going to make Americans part with tens of thousands of dollars for a new car, but I’m sure provocative cars and trucks would – I’d bet $25,000+ – what a concept!
Speaking about concepts. Every new car show I’ve attended – and I’ve attended many over the years all over the country – people are always amazed and excited about concept cars, but you never see them on the road! What’s with that?
What a shame and what a waste of our taxpayers dollars.
I was compelled to read both articles because of my early career in Automotive marketing and the concern I have for the industry and how it impacts our economy. We should all be rooting for Detroit to succeed because when they do – we all do.
Research says that less than 20% of people who walk into a dealership buy a new car and drive away with it. These stats lead me to believe that Detroit lacks provocative “WOW” brands! I’d love to see the statistic about how long an average visit is!
Here are just a few more points I’d advise Detroit to mull over:
- Next to getting married, buying a new car is one of the most involved decisions one can make and auto manufacturers these days have to give real, tangible reasons to buy their products not just fancy ads
- Word of mouth (peer reviews, personal experiences, testimonials etc.,) is the most influential form of communication in a car purchase vs. ad campaigns and provocative new models would drive WOM
- Performance, design, efficiency, value etc., contribute more to WOM than Ads
- Mass media has lost a ton of influence, so big budgets and splashy ad campaigns are no longer necessary when the majority of people search online first – and search a lot online – when in the market for a new car. Brands could reduce their marketing ad spend and either reapply the savings to reduce the price of cars, put it back in design or more added value features
- It’s all about the cars – car marketing chiefs and their minions need to get more involved in the design/production effort by representing the customer and being their voice in the board room
Come on Detroit, you can do better!
P.S.: Is there another John DeLorean out there – maybe a slightly more disciplined and better funded one?
Caught this story on CNN.com this morning about the new Chevy Volt that can get up to 230 mpg! Talk about high voltage marketing!
I’m sure most if not all of you have cut expenses – especially marketing expenses to the bone – but what have you done to make your brand truly remarkable through innovation?
I truly believe in gamechangers like the Chevy Volt! What can you do – rather, what will you do to create a gamechanger for your brand, service, career etc.,?
If you do, you’ll reap dividends for years to come and be able to say with pride, “Recession be damned!”
2008 is expected to be
the worst for auto sales in a decade. Automakers are slashing their ad budgets,
but online they are spending more. After consistently leading the U.S. in
advertising spending, the automotive sector has dropped into the No. 2 spot
behind retail. Even as new vehicle sales decline, automotive marketers will
spend nearly $3 billion online this year, up 21.6%. By 2012, automotive online
ad spending will top $5.6 billion. Research shows that eight out of 10 consumers
now consult the Internet at least once during the car-buying process. It's taking them some time to wak-up, but thoughts of bankruptcy have a sobering effect on one's marketing planning.