Car Companies And The Marketing Process

Inspired by a comment I left on this post on Ryan Healy’s blog.

When are car companies going to get it? This is the second highest purchase for someone beyond a house (for most people), and they want to even try to sell it in a full-spread?

Not. Even. Close.

Have you ever “test-driven” a specific car, or even called a dealership, specifically because you saw an ad in a magazine? I haven’t, and I’ve purchased 3, including 2 brand new cars.

To me, wrong call to action.

I even disagree with “brand reinforcement” by advertising in magazines. Think about it, when you go to think about purchasing a car, do you do so based on which brand is in the front of mind?

I don’t think so, not with a purchase this big. We’re not talking about buying a soft drink here, it’s a long selling cycle, not an impulse buy. :)

I think an ad in a magazine, IF that is the right way to reach future buyers (I’m starting to doubt that too), would need to advertise a more “information gathering” approach. Give reasons why I should consider a Subaru, and the call to action might be a free download of the brochure, pricing, etc… (a targeted marketing package with nearby dealerships would be best).

I can’t believe Subaru couldn’t invest it’s marketing dollars better, perhaps in more targeted marketing campaigns… I just can’t see why Subaru and other manufacturers can’t just stop being so lazy with their money.


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The Barrier To Entry For Meaningful Connection Is Pretty Low

One extra step.

3% better than the “other guy.”

Personalization, good manners, being humble, hell… just being “on-time.”

All of these things sound really easy to accomplish, don’t they?

Well, here’s the sad part… do any ONE of them really well, and you’ve probably set yourself apart from most of the crowd when it comes to networking, building client relationships, meaningful connection and leading other people.

Do ALL of them well, and a few other “easy” things, and you can make a SERIOUS impact.

It’s really pretty sad, but it’s the truth.  One example from LinkedIn happens when you send a connection request…

How many do you send without personalizing it?

How many times do you send one without doing just the basic amount of research, even just the person’s NAME, and add that information to your connection request?

Not that many huh?  We all do it… because we’re lazy.

Well, I will tell you… while it sounds like a simple thing to do, when you do something as simple as personalizing a request like this… you’re moving your request to the top of the pile.

And heck, you might even try and move the relationship further by ONE more step by engaging the person you’re trying to connect with.

Wait… that would require work wouldn’t it? 😉

Quit making it so easy for the other person and put some effort out there, OK?



My Baseline Thoughts On Social Media

Social media isn’t the “end all” or “be all” for businesses… it’s a term… it’s a label… it represents a set of online tools used to connect people.

In this term, you’ll notice the word “media” which implies to some people that business is involved (the media, or media companies).

But it’s a media form (sub form actually, because the Internet is the media type), a grouping of certain types of sites which connect people to other people.

The key is connection… and not the social media term or form itself.

And that is where businesses who use these tools to try to market their businesses get it wrong.  In fact, I would stick my neck out and say you shouldn’t market on social media sites at all.

You should connect with the people in your market on a genuine and human level.

The main reason lies in why these tools are created in the first place…

They are NOT created to advertise or market businesses, they are designed to connect people then build a revenue model by selling advertising to advertisers (usually ineffective advertising by the way) or by selling premium services or versions of the original service.

NONE of that indicates you, as a business owner, should ever set up a free account with the intent of using it as an advertising billboard.

Instead, use social media as part of an overall marketing plan WITH other elements of marketing… or as a set of tools to leverage a particular function of business (e.g. customer service, tech support etc…).

Then, have reasonable expectations as to the results you’re going to get by using social media for your business.

Bottom line, IF it makes sense, use these tools in your business (e.g. examine the leverage you might be able to gain etc…)… but if it doesn’t make sense, or you think social media represents some magic bullet… DON’T use these tools.  No matter what the geeks say.

The Corporation “Mindset”

The “corporation mindset” used to be effective in the days where there were no means of connecting and sharing at the furious pace we are currently.

Now, any company (big or small) is “on stage”… and if they fail to perform for their clients, they will suffer the consequences.

But this sharing and connecting arena has an advantage for businesses as well (big and small).

If they share valuable content, ideas, and products with their clients and potential clients… THEN follow up with top-notch service and timely relationship building processes (meaning actual PEOPLE contact and follow up with the clients)… well, then clients will share that when appropriate (but sharing cannot be forced).

Bottom line, if you genuinely care about your client’s lives and how you can add value to their lives… you WILL profit, especially in this business climate.

The problem is, most business owners (or CEO’s of large companies) don’t fully believe this, are lazy, or suffer from a LARGE dose of short-term thinking, so they don’t genuinely create the environment that really cares about their customer.

So I guess the real bottom line is, care about your client/customer, show it, and reward the people who work for your company that help to encourage that environment to continue.

By the way… investors and shareholders are irrelevant if your company isn’t as profitable as it could be LONG-TERM. 😉

The Product

Ok… to all business owners, executives, marketers… even copywriters…

The product does NOT, repeat… does NOT sell itself.

There are way too many choices, there is way too much information available, and… people just don’t care about you or your product until they are CLEAR about what’s in it for them (WIIFM).

So make a world-class product… by all means.

But don’t think for a second that the product itself will do all the work, or even part of it, without a catalyst, a spark to light the “flame” of success selling that product.

And if your product truly is unique… the job is harder still to prove WIIFM… not easier. 😉

#NBCFail Part 3 – What It All Boils Down To

I’m done with this #NBCFail thing now, but I wanted to sum up, in my opinion, what this really boils down to… and it ISN’T tape delays.

It’s about how media has changed, and how big media (old media) can’t seem to adapt and keep up with the times.  There are only 8% of all Twitters users that use Twitter regularly now… but that’s NOW… don’t forget the future.

And… there are other networks like Google Plus, Facebook and others that are spreading the same message.  Sometimes the same people spreading the message across multiple networks… but the effect is the same.

And here’s the bottom line…

What’s odd is NBC is touting “higher ratings” but doesn’t acknowledge 3 key points about those ratings…

1) Just because they are higher, doesn’t mean viewers are satisfied with what they are watching. Did NBC ever stop to think some of the viewers were instead watching for new moments of NBCFail to report?

2) The population has increased… so I would HOPE the ratings would go up every time someone covers an Olympic games.

3) How much BETTER could the ratings have been if NBC wasn’t so arrogant and listened to the viewers? It’s called letting your audience participate in the media they are consuming… instead of taking a condescending “tone” or stance with them.

But I guess an old media company like NBC might not get it.

#NBCfail Part 2 – Ratings And Moaning

Ahhh yes, as expected “old media” diehards are finally chiming in on the #NBCfail fiasco.

First, we have Ad Age, who published an article about their version of the “truth” about this ordeal.

The main point centered around the fact that NBC is a business, not a charity.  Well, duh… of course they are (do you really think people are that stupid?).  So NBC paid 1.2 Billion dollars for the rights to broadcast these games… and of course, to profit, they would have to sell quite a few commercials (expensive ones) to make that back.

Again… duh.  But is that the viewer’s problem?

NBC and “old media” would like you to think it is.

If NBC wants to broadcast a world major event like the Olympics, but it only wants to serve the needs of one part of its customer base (the advertisers)… does that make sense?  Nope… it needs to serve the viewers too.

For example…

If Amazon ran its business like NBC did in this Olympics coverage and resulting fail, it would have no problem selling the books and merchandise to profit… but they would forget about who is actually buying and consuming the books… their customer.

Does Amazon run its business this way?  I think not.

So should NBC have no problem selling commercials to advertisers for us to watch so it can make back its 1.2 billion… then forget about the people consuming the commercials, and as a part of that… the coverage of The Olympics?

You already know the answer to that. 😉

Now on to the other article I found today…

The author claims that because 18% of people don’t use the Internet, and of the 82% that do… only 8% use Twitter regularly (I’m included in this group… not all of Twitter’s millions of users use it regularly)… that we are just talking amongst ourselves.

And here’s where BOTH articles, old media, and big businesses seem to get this whole #NBCfail thing WAY wrong…

This isn’t about NBC’s business, or about the fact that there are a limited number of people using Twitter regularly at all.  Hell, it’s not only about the “tape delay” either… that happens pretty regularly in sports coverage.

It IS about listening to your audience… whether they are on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook… or even those that aren’t on the Internet yet.  By the way, those that don’t have Internet access don’t have an online voice either… so to assume they automatically like the coverage of The Olympics is probably not an assumption I would make.

NBC has tried to tout they have had the highest ratings of any Olympic Games in the past… well, duh… there ARE more people on the planet, therefore there are more potential viewers.  I would hope the ratings would go up every time an Olympics came around.  Also, I wonder how much higher those ratings would be if NBC actually listened to the viewers?  Hmmm… something to think about.

And here’s a final thought…

If NBC is supposed to be a media company… a media business if you will, wouldn’t you think it would listen to the media savvy part of its audience?  I mean, it is the 21st century after all, and the technology IS available to accomplish everything the audience seems to be asking for.

Jeff Jarvis provides an excellent explanation of the economics.

NBC, you can’t stay stuck to your old ways… even big business has to adapt.  You wouldn’t have to sell commercials as hard if you paid attention to  a viewership that might do some of the selling for you. 😉

#NBCFail And #Twitterfail- And No, I’m NOT Suspending My Account Of What’s Happening

If you pay attention to Twitter regarding the 2012 London Olympic Games coverage by NBC… well, let’s just say NBC is getting the Internet full-force today.

Here’s the hash tag search on Twitter…


But that’s not all, Twitter pulled a “fail” of its own… suspending @guyadams account for publishing a publicly available email address of an NBC executive Gary Zenkel ( in one of his tweets.

(which by the way… can be put together simply by understanding the pattern)

Seriously Twitter?

There are a number of articles on this fiasco… so I won’t add much, other than my take on the whole thing:

I guess this boils down to one thing about “old school” media… it doesn’t fit anymore in this society.  So it (old school media) had better “grow up,” not the people who are calling NBC on their poor coverage of a MAJOR world event.

EDIT 07/31/2012:  Here are three more articles covering some rather shady practices by Twitter in their own major #twitterfail .

AND ANOTHER EDIT:  Twitter has reinstated Guy Adams’ account… but still won’t explain why they terminated it.

Interaction Versus Indication

Let’s start by defining interaction and indication…

Interaction:  Reciprocal action or influence.

Indication: 1.  A single sign or piece of information that indicates something.

2.  A reading given by a gauge or meter.

So, I have bad news for those companies that think people who are clicking the infamous Facebook “Like” button on their posts or Facebook pages are actually interacting with their brands.


People who click the Like button are indicating they want something, or that they like something… and that is NOT an interaction.

There is a BIG difference here, because interaction, as it applies to social media (think about that) implies there is a person on both sides of the interaction… not a wall, or some stupid coupon.

Otherwise, as a person I’m indicating that I want your coupon… but DON’T for a minute think I’m interacting with your brand… I’m not.  Unless of course, someone from your company interacts with me… and further develops a relationship with me.

I suppose the over arching theme here is companies are stopping WAY short of the “social” part of social media, thinking that social media tools represent another way to post advertising that encourages say, a click of a Like button… and that is it.

Fuck people… can’t we get more creative (and more importantly, personal) than that?

Edit:  My friend Walt Goshert just published an excellent comment that “bottom lines” this whole thing…

The Illusion: “Likes”, “Followers”, “Re-Tweets”, “Shares” are the new Internet currency.

The Reality: People actually spending money to buy your solutions is what fills the gas tank and puts food on the table.

Kinda puts icing on the cake… don’t you think? :)