Defensive Strategy

GM’s Marketing Struggles

7 May 2010  

General Motors continues to flail in the marketing area. This week brought two rather disconcerting announcements.

First, GM announced that (surprise!) it was appointing a new head of U.S. marketing. This is apparently the fourth person to hold the post in the past 12 months, which means GM is going through marketing leaders about every 3 months. This is not a good way to build strong and enduring brands.

The latest hire, Joel Ewanick, appears to be a gifted marketer. He was apparently behind Hyundai’s rather impressive rebound last year. Still, Ewanick will need more than 3 months to have an impact.

Second, GM announced that it was preparing a new marketing campaign for Chevrolet based on the line “excellence for all.” This is not promising.

A basic marketing rule is that you can’t be all things to all people. If you try to make everyone happy you will probably make no one very happy. And this is a problem when you have lots of capable competitors.

The line “excellence for all” seems to be a “let’s target everyone” type of effort. This simply isn’t going to work very well.

GM has a long way to go in the marketing area and based on these developments I’m not optimistic. Of course, things can’t get all that much worse.

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