Defense

GM: Still Struggling with Marketing

23 Oct , 2009  

If there is one company in the world that needs some compelling marketing it is General Motors.

GM emerged from bankruptcy on July 10 and is now largely owned by its unions and the U.S. federal government.  The company was able to cut costs through the bankruptcy process, but ultimately it will need to hold and build its market share to survive.  After disposing of most of its brands, GM now needs its four remaining brands to perform.

Unfortunately, the GM’s latest advertising isn’t doing much to help the cause.

Today in the Financial Times, for example, GM is running a full-page ad for Cadillac.  The ad features (surprise!) a picture of a car.  Here is the text:

 

Sorry about the Apple Cart

2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

With bold design and unrivaled technology, it overturns every convention.  And with an unprecedented Sixty-Day Satisfaction Guarantee it stands poised to show you how.  Steer clear of the luxury default button.  For complete details and limitations, visit Cadillac.com/guarantee

May the Best Car Win

 

This ad says just about nothing.  Why should someone buy the CTS?  What does Cadillac stand for, anyway?  What is the brand’s positioning?  It isn’t clear.

More fundamentally, the tag line “May the Best Car Win” suggests that the marketing folks at GM really don’t understand the challenge facing the company. 

The important question is not which car is best.  The important question is which car do people think is best.  I’m quite confident that GM makes good cars.  It may well be that GM now makes the best cars.  But that really doesn’t matter.  The problem is that the best car doesn’t win.  People buy the cars they think are best.  All too often those are not GM cars.  Changing this is GM’s core challenge.

“May the Best Car Win” is more wishful thinking from Detroit.


Leave a Reply

Archives

Conversation Across the Site

  • David Rose { This sounds very very difficult. You put alot of energy into it and obviosly care. I would suggest you focus on the room and let... }
  • M E Lesniak { I think you picked the wrong hill to stand on. You work at one of the most expensive degree factories in the country and I’m... }
  • Stephen Calkins { Forgiveness based on income? What if it is a wealthy family that figured borrowing cheaply was a good deal, but there is massive wealth? What... }
  • Todd Holscher { Transparency in pricing is a very good idea. Students will still susceptible to the influence of marketing and advertising by colleges, but it’s the right... }
  • Emita Hill { Vast sums of money. Alternatively provide more support to state schools so they can lower tuition and maybe to privates strictly for scholarships. }
  • David Rose { Tim, I dont think your views are balanced. You obviously are being paid by these loans. The money has been given to your university and... }
  • Read more Comments »

Collaborate with Tim

Tim helps companies around the world build great brands. To schedule a program or event click here. To learn more about Tim’s books, click here.