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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Gift That Won't Fit In Your (Marketing) Stocking

Was watching a Los Angeles Clippers game tonight when a Lexus ad popped up tonight on the television. The ad touted the idea of giving a Lexus away as a gift to a loved one for Christmas. STOP! Is it just me, or does this seem strategically a bit off on multiple levels?

A few things:

1. How many people actually buy someone a Lexus for Christmas? Personally, I think there are many more selfish people in the world. Plus, if you are or have been married, you know that a gift purchase of that magnitude would have at least 90% of the population sleeping on the couch (or maybe your spouse's old car) for most of the holiday season.

2. How many people, even in Lexus' target audience, would be persuaded or further influenced to buy a Lexus as a gift because of a 30 second television spot?

3. How many true Lexus prospects would be watching a Clipper basketball game on a Tuesday night?

I'm sure there are exceptions to the points above, but believe that these are all fairly valid points. They highlight something that I've seen for quite some time: one industry (auto) that continues to overly rely on mass marketing. Marketing to the masses can be like marketing to everyone, which ultimately is like marketing to nobody.

To take a page from marketing thoughtleader Joseph Jaffe (check out his online blog Jaffe Juice), the 30-second spot in its current form is dying....I'll be a bit more diplomatic and call it "evolving" since I personally believe that television itself is morphing, not just the advertising/ad alternatives. TV will soon be an integrated medium, like cell phones, PDAs, and personal music devices. Sorry got off point.....the point is that other mediums, particularly online ones, have proven potential to be more effective as the centerpiece of a company's marketing engine.

Car manufacturers should take note along with every other type of company that has a product or service to promote, and customer relationships to develop. While car manufacturers have dealers in disparate geographical locations, there are more effective ways to communicate and to spend money.

This is where companies get into trouble, particularly in those industries that change more rapidly than the auto manufacturing industry. If a competitor can make their $1 work like $2 to every $1 you have, then you'll be in trouble.

So this holiday season, give the gift that'll make a lasting impression, give a smarter marketing plan. This is the type of marketing that'll look good with or without a bow.


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