Showing posts with label CRM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CRM. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pontiac Resurrects from the Dead Tries to Sell Me a Buick

Last Monday afternoon I received an unexpected email. Seems Pontiac is back. Well at least the former Pontiac eNewsletter is back and it no longer has a new Pontiac to sell me, but someone at General Motors feels a new Buick Regal is the new GM's answer to Pontiac.

I suppose the Regal is the right answer, since it is trying to position itself as a sports sedan capable of reigniting "Excitement!"

It's an interesting play with Pontiac owners/leasees probably on the hunt for a new car and GM obviously wants to keep Pontiac owners in the family so with the new Regal there is a decent replacement for these customers.

The email also promoted service for Pontiac owners and a new mobile app available for 2011 Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, and Cadillac models. It will be interesting to see how or if the Pontiac eNewsletter will promote other GM vehicles or if it will try to move Pontiac owners to the Buick brand.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Volvo Asks to be Part of Your Social Connections

Volvo sent out a "Stay in the Loop" email that solely communicated connecting with the company on Facebook and Twitter. It's the first time I've seen any automaker send out an email communication out to their mailing list that only promotes the brand's social presence. Most emails are putting some sort of link to a Facebook page or Twitter account, but that is usually relegated to the end of a quarterly email communication.

There's nothing really significant here from Volvo, but it is interesting to see the brand solely promote its social links with zero promotion of a vehicle. What's nice is the call-to-action is straight forward, but do customers or potential customers really want your company sending them emails about liking them on Facebook?


Monday, April 26, 2010

GM Markets Loan Payment News

At the end of last week, General Motors proudly announced they have paid off the $8.1 billion loans it received from the United States and Canada. To mark the momentous payoff that was made five-years ahead of schedule, GM followed the announcement up with a new TV commercial featuring CEO Ed Whitacre and an email to GM's customers or potential customers.*

GM had a rough last year after it went through two CEOs and a bankruptcy. Part of the bankruptcy has been a groundswell of people who are angry with GM's decision to ask for government money so it is no surprise the loan payoff announcement last week was big news to hopefully win back customers angered by the government handout.

But was it really a loan payment or simply "an elaborate TARP money shuffle," as Senate Republican Chuck Grassley claims?

The issue is in regards to TARP funds being used to make the loan payment last week. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was designed mainly to give money to financial institutions in exchange for future equity that government hopefully can recoup in the near future. In GM's case stock shares are given as equity when the company goes public, possibly later this year. Basically, TARP is a loan against poor assets or to some a bet on future potential of the company.

Grassley and others think GM simply took $6.7 billion of its TARP money to payoff the $8.1 billion in loans it took. This is not sitting well with those who feel the company simply shuffled borrowed government money around to give the impression the government was paid back.

Of course, the email message above says nothing about TARP funds being used or that the government is still owed a significant amount of money it hopes to get some day from the equity the government know owns in GM.

Sorting this all out gets a bit complicated. According to the New York Times, "about $43 billion that G.M. borrowed from the Treasury has not been repaid because it was converted to a 61 percent equity stake in the company. That money can be recovered only through a public stock sale, which is expected no sooner than the fourth quarter."

So was this simply a government money shuffle and more importantly does it matter?

Looking at last week's news coverage and GM's email it appears the government has been paid back and GM can now rest nicely without a government debt hanging over them. Any questions regarding GM's debt can now be dealt with as GM has given the government equity in the future company which sounds a lot better than owing a loan.

I personally think the news went very well for GM and the email was a smart touch. The only issue is will people like Senator Grassley be able to make enough noise to cancel out the positive press?

* It's tough to say who received the email above, but I'm sure I did due to signing up on a vehicle site for updates or some other GM site that asked for my email. I am not an owner though.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Is the Buick Regal a Departure or a Band-Aid?

Today I received the first email communication for Buick Regal handraisers. The vehicle just debuted two weeks ago at the Detroit Auto Show. Or is it still the North American International Auto Show? Either way, the Regal is the latest injection of sporty European car design coming to America via the Opel brand.

The Regal is an Opel Insignia re-badged and reconfigured to meet U.S. taste. It is definitely an interesting car and won the highly prestigious European Car of the Year award back in 2008.

What’s most compelling to Buick fans and others interested in GM products is how the Insignia, sorry Regal, is a sport worthy sedan. To some extent, it fills the enthusiast hole left when GM pulled the Pontiac brand and its G8 from the product portfolio.

The Regal’s “Its Arrival Will Be A Departure” message communicates the redefining of the brand that has been underway since the Buick Enclave and, more recently, Buick LaCrosse.

Regal is a more complete departure from the brand’s image of big cars with soft suspensions appealing to elderly American drivers. This new entry brings a more sport tuned suspension, European handling and Brembo brakes, at least on the car shown at the Detroit Auto Show.

In a way Buick is becoming what Saturn always wanted to be, a stylish European answer within the General Motors lineup. Is the Regal the first of many Opels on its way to the States? European products tend to have more upscale appeal to American taste and upscale premium is where GM wants to go with the Buick brand.

Is this a departure Buick will continue to take? Or is this just a quick one product injection to show consumers there is a "New GM" in 2010?

UPDATE: Seems I might be on to something here. Just a little after I posted this blog, GM Inside News (@REALGMI) just reported that the coming Buick compact car is a slightly reworked Opel Astra sedan.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lexus GX: Girl Power Promise Deflated

I received the above promotion for the All New Lexus GX in my email last night. It shows a Victoria Beckham / Grace Jones Super Woman who is identified as "The Driver: Trusted transporter of precious goods." It's raw girl power aged 20 years to fit the middle-aged target consumer. It's tough, stylish and strong.

Sure it's a bit funny coming from what most people consider the boring Luxury brand that builds quality vehicles, but this is marketing to the edgy luxury consumer and another example of luxury female focused marketing, similar to the recent BMW 5-Series GT.

Unlike the 5-Series GT marketing where the email marketing leads the interested to a site matching the email creative, Lexus brings the consumer to a brochure-ware site experience that leaves out all of the girl power messaging. Instead the consumer is showed a product demonstration overview video and provided several links to learn more about the car. Pretty stale stuff after the rock star promise.

So what happened to Victoria Beckham / Grace Jones Super Woman? She's gone and so is all of the "transporter of precious goods" messaging designed to appeal to the target consumer. What a shame because there was so much scrumptious fun that could have been if Lexus continued through with its creative idea.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Porsche Woos Me with Some Literature

A 46-page, eight-color bounded book for the Porsche Panamera showed up in my mailbox at work yesterday. I get a lot of mail from other automakers as I sign up for all communications on every website I visit. This gives me an excellent opportunity to see how brands market their vehicles on email and snail mail. I have received posters, CDs, and DVDs, but mostly a lot of postcards and brochures. Few mailers really are worth mentioning which is why this is the first mail piece I have covered on this blog.

Porsche is really pushing the Panamera to its hand-raisers. Porsche has plans to make 20,000 units globally with 6,000 units to be sold in the U.S. To date, Automotive News has no data showing any sales of the Panamera in the September 2009 US Nameplate Car Sales report. That leaves a lot of product to sell in a very tough economy at time when luxury buyers are moving down market with their luxury car purchases.

Porsche has decided to up their spend on probably a very limited list of people “interested” in the Panamera. The car just hasn’t received much positive press, mainly due to the awkward styling of the rear and a contempt by many Porsche enthusiasts who dislike anything that’s not a 911; though, driving dynamics seem strong as the leading lovable automotive geeks on Top Gear praised the car’s performance and handling; however, in typical Jeremy Clarkson fashion he said it looks like a “mangled ape.”

Back to the mailer.

The engine page uses spot-varnishing and there is even some relief in a printed page made to look like the image is taped to the book. It’s all a very elaborate and impressive execution, especially when you consider all I did was complete an online form to stay updated about the car. I never visited a dealership and from what I can tell no one at Porsche verified my income or credit worthiness; though, this would have prevented me from receiving this lovely bound book.

I have to say looking through the book that I did develop a very positive opinion of the car. Every aspect of the vehicle is covered with photography that is quite impressive. Vehicle angles are good and the luxury and sporty attributes are effectively communicated through diagrams, charts and cutaways that intrigue the senses.

Plus there is a positive brand image that is communicated when you receive such an impressive piece of mail – you matter. Yes, you that person who isn’t even a customer yet. You matter to Porsche. It’s like the early days of dating someone who just did all the right little things to make it amazing. The right words. The right expressions. The right touch. You wonder what will come next, how will the relationship evolve.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my Panamera book and keep on the lookout for the next item to entice me to buy a Panamera. This better not be the last communication, because I’ll need a lot… a lot… of enticing, but I am impressed and waiting by my phone and checking my mailbox.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who has the Biggest Stimulus Package?

Now that the word bailout has been replaced with the friendlier stimulus word, marketers are ramping up on their messaging to work stimulus into their ads. Hyundai and Volvo are the first automakers to adopt the term.

Volvo is running Tier 2 TV spots for regional dealerships with the language “Stimulate Your Stimulus”. Not sure what that means since no one is really getting a stimulus unless you are AIG or a major financial institution, that issue aside, it does seem like a very weak message. They are also using the phrase in their email marketing efforts.

Hyundai is simply adding some stimulus language within their online media efforts to promote their well-received Assurance program.

Unfortunately, there is a logic issue with the stimulus language for marketing purposes. The stimulus effort is a policy effort to help stave off unemployment and foreclosures. Adding a car payment to one’s financial situation is counterintuitive to the whole concept of a stimulus. Of course, I understand the language in the ads is to promote cost savings by putting money on the hood and reducing financing rates, but with so much contempt for buying big ticket items it seems attaching the word “stimulus” to your message to get people to spend $20,000-$40,000 is not a compatible concept.