Automotive Marketing Still Stinks

Deceptive automotive marketing stinks and consumers are fed up with it

My wife and I are in the market for a second car.  At least she is, which means I am.  A few weeks ago she noticed a lease special advertised on the website of Ardmore Toyota.  The ad was for a Toyota Camry LE lease with $0 and $189 per month.  Just what my wife was looking for.

We rushed in ready to sign a deal.  When we got there here is what we discovered.

  1. The advertised price is only for recent college graduates (was in the small print but we did not read it).
  2. The car advertised does not have electric seats and unfortunately they did not carry that car (not we don’t have it stock…we don’t even order it!)(So even if we were recent college graduates they still could not have lived up to the promise of the ad.)
  3. The nice shinny car in the pictured in the ad was not the LE but the more expensive SE version. With a clearly different set of lighting options that were not available on the actual car they had for lease.

It seems the whole point of this ad was to get people into the dealership with the promise of something the dealership did not even have to sell, to then sell them something a bit more expensive.  Which would be OK with me if they could have actually sold me what the ad promised.

Once there the standard twisting of trying to get us to lease a slightly more expensive vehicle went on for some time.  And of course we were assured they were offering us their best deal possible (does anyone believe that any more?).

We decided not to lease the car and left.  For the next 3 days I received calls from the General Manager making me increasingly better offers on the same vehicle they had assured me while in the dealership they were offering me their best price.

What we really want

As I think through this it’s not really another car we are in the market for.  What we really want is an automotive retailer we can trust. The actual vehicle matters much less.

I’m not lumping all automotive marketers in the same boat

I do realize that all retail automobile dealers don’t engage in such glarringly deceitful advertising.  In fact we’ve had a very pleasant relationship with Martin Honda whose January ad for a lease special was exactly what they offered.

Word to the wise marketer

Consumers want to trust their auto dealers and anyone else they buy from.  Get caught lying to them and you run the risk of ending up the subject on some guys blog with an army of readers and not just losing his trust and business but his tribes as well.

6 Reasons firing clients may make sense

Firing clients may have the short term draw back of lowering the bottom line, but could pay off huge in future Donald Trump You're Fireddividends.

If you think you may have to fire a client keep in mind the words of Maya Angelou who said

When someone shows you who they are…believe them….the first time.

Although this advice is most often applied to personal relationships between individuals there is something here for businesses and entrepreneurs to learn as well.

We can easily substitute the word ‘someone’ for the phrase ‘a client or a customer’.  Some clients are simply not worth the trouble and they need to be fired.

Here are 6 reasons you might want to consider firing clients.

  1. They are not profitable.
  2. They are profitable but are to much of a drain on your resources, and it causes you to produce sub par work.
  3. No matter what you do they’re never happy.
  4. There’s undue stress in the relationship.
  5. You have a moral issue with the clients line of business (think Phillip Morris).
  6. The client constantly price shops you or wants for free things you did not contract to perform.

Firing clients is a decision you should not take lightly.  However, you may find yourself in a situation where you seriously have to consider it.  When the time comes remember Maya’s words….and don’t expect your client to change.  Look them square in the eye and give them a Donald Trump…“You’re Fired!”

Jesus loves stupid marketers too

John 21:6 describes a biblical event in which Peter and several others had fished all night and caught no fish.  Jesus instructs them to cast their net on the right side of the boat, which they do.  Following these seemingly irrelevant instructions the fishermen catch so many fish that they could barely haul it in.

So what’s the simple message that marketers can learn from this story?  YOU NEED A NET!!!

Fishing without a net is plain stupid

Imagine if the men had gone fishing without a net.  It would not matter that they had a boat, a team, or that the water was loaded with fish.  To have gone fishing without a net to catch the fish would have been simply dumb.

You are a fishermen…of sorts

You’re fishing for clients, and it’s equally dumb for you to fish without a net as it would be for actual fishermen to fish without one.  But don’t worry…Jesus loves stupid marketers to…and has provided free nets 🙂

What’s your net?

So what’s the net for marketers?  It’s your CRM software.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the term CRM stands for Customer Retention Management.

Why you need a net

I speak with business owners and sales people every day who are struggling to make their numbers.  When I ask them how they track their leads, I’m flabbergasted to hear things like: I write them on a notepad, they are in an Excel spreadsheet.  What – Jesus Christ!!!

Consider this – a sales person, marketer, business, non-profit, or you fill in the blank with a 10% close ratio who needs to close 100 sales a year to make ends meet needs to do 1,000 proposals.  Not to mention that to do 1,000 proposals you need to likely talk with twice as many leads.  How can you keep up with communication streams, follow up activities, to do lists, etc for 2,000 leads and 1,000 prospects on a sheet of paper or Excel spread sheet.  You can’t.

You’re fishing without a net and that’s just plain dumb.

Free nets – Yea!

There are many different CRM tools on the market.  SalesForce.com is the wolds most popular…and expensive cloud based tool.  There are others like Sugar CRM and ACT which you can load on your computer.  However Zoho offers a CRM tool, it’s their basic version, that you can use for absolutely free.

When I worked in the mortgage industry I used the free version while I was building my book of business at Wells Fargo.  Once I was making enough in commissions and needed more than the free version offered I upgraded to the paid version…a whopping $12 a month.

Don’t be stupid…get a free net!

 

 

Betty White Snickers Ad

betty-white

Is the Betty White Snickers ad and others like it bad for us as a society?

I just watched that funny Betty White Snickers ad on YouTube. The one with her playing football.  But Betty is not Betty, she’s some kid named Mike, who because he’s hungry is playing like Betty White.  Some girl comes up to him gives him a Snickers and BAM!…Mike is himself again. And then the branding occurs..”You’re not you when you’re hungry…Snickers Satisfies”.

First let me say that I do think the Betty White Snickers ad is very funny and creative.  And I do like Snickers bars.  And I love Betty White (are you out there Betty).  But after watching what I found myself thinking about was is this the right message to send young people about what to eat when they are hungry.

I think most of us would agree that it’s not.  And if it’s not, then why do it? Particularly when we have a national health crisis centered around making bad choices about what to eat.

I don’t expect Mars Candy to do anything different.  And you could argue that, well everyone knows you should not eat candy whenever you’re hungry.  But do we? And even if we do can we consistently overcome the power of the branding that teaches us a very specific message (hey…when you’re hungry you’re not yourself) reinforces a very specific behavior (so reach for some candy…namely a Snickers).

I would argue no.  If we could we would not have a national health crisis.  We all know that candy and fast food is bad for us.  Rots our teeth and makes us fat…but we eat anyway. Why?  Because marketers tell us to.

I know why Mars runs the ads. And I’m not advocating that we should get rid of candy and candy commercials. I just wonder why more marketers are not encouraging young people to make better eating choices.

Outliers – How To Make It As One

Outliers

Seth Godin published a thought provoking post on his blog regarding Outliers.  He says If you want to be an outlier then try not to become one…at least among your peers.  Now that made me sit up and go…hmm!

As a teenager I had a green muscle t-shirt, that I wore with pride.  On the front was an image of 100 identical faces looking up, in the midst of them was a single face that was different.  The caption on the shirt read “Dare To Be Different”.

Many moons later I still remember that shirt because that’s how I saw myself then (and now).  You know, someone who’s not scared to stand out in the crowd.

But if you want to be successful at standing out in the crowd it doesn’t really work. Instead outliers surround themselves with crowds of like minded people…so they don’t stand out among a group of close peers.

Because of the ability of groups to exert influence over individuals, success often comes in bunches.  Seth states that breakthroughs in music, architecture, software, athletics, fashion and cuisine come in bunches, often geographic.

I thought about Ohio and it’s overall influence on music.  It’s the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It’s also the home of four major symphony orchestras located in Cleveland, Akron, Cincinnati, and Dayton. A whole boatload of singers hale from Ohio including Dean Martin, Morris Day (COOL), The Isley Brothers, Marlyin Manson, Chrisse Hynde, and The Pretenders.

Additionally Ohio is home to all of the hottest funk bands of the 80’s. They include Bootsy’s Rubber Band, The Ohio Players (of course), Lakeside, Slave, Heatwave, Sun, The Dazz Band, Faze O, Zapp, and Roger Troutman.

Even an ordinary guy like my good friend Don Graves, living in Philly now but grew up in the Cincinnati area plays 6 different instruments…(well).  I wonder if he’s ever considered the effect that his geography has had on him.

Looking to take your game to the next level…then get around some folks pushing as hard or harder than you are.

It’s like my mama used to say ‘birds of a feather flock together’.

Photo Credit: Wave / Particle / Pixel via Compfight cc