Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Fly In General Motor's Ointment

I have no beef with General Motor's use of eBay as a means to move vehicles, but as a reason to buy vehicles the strategy misses the mark.

It's no secret GM wants to get rid of dealers. Work for GM's strategic top office confirmed the need to remove dealers from the loop as long ago as the late 70s and early 80s. Why? Because consumers hate the dealer experience and perceive interaction with a dealership's salesforce about as appealing as spending time with a brick and mortar bank teller. The experience really doesn't get your juices going. Bank and manage your accounts online. Also, dealers contracts are long and expensive to maintain. So, long ago, GM was clued in to pursue dealer free channels. Hell, here's my platinum card. Let me pick up my Accord or Camry at a Costco. And there's the rub.

Camry, Accord and Taurus are perceived commodities...and that's a good thing. For this strategy to work consumers need to perceive that purchasing a GM product means that you are going to receive a product that represents the coin of the realm...and consumer's benchmarks....still an Accord, Camry or Ford Taurus in the high volume bread and butter segments are not met by GM product perceptions. So casting your lot with social media maven will not impart a healthier glow to the troubled brands.

GM and it's brands need to be Socially re-engineered to change consumer habits and practices and consumer perceptions. This is not something accomplished simply by handing your account to a traditional, social or digital agency. It is a proprietary process that matches consumers to products based on over 500 deeper dimensions of product compatibility (almost like eHamony) we alone possess, coupled with interviewing or viewing these product dimensions of compatibility through the eyes of the correct Socially Influential Consumer Groups - not just demographic, attitudinal or behavioral segmentations. They are far too crude for even though we are twittering our ways to being one community the community is composed of Social Influence segments holding their own in this universe.

People say they want to purchase automobiles "that say smart things about me." A Honda does, a Buick does not. People say GM products "look like they're 10 years old before they're even new." And after seeing the new Transformers styled Bumble Bee Camaro I went out to look at a new Corvette. Did you know that in comparison, in my mind, that new Corvette now depresses me? It looks more like the last Generation of Camaro rather than next year's gotta have. Now Corvette looks 10 years old before it's new.

So if you don't have the product, no amount of new channel distribution or social media exposure is going to work...effectively. I'll bet I'm right. I mean, who wants to tweet up Cadillac? Ooppps, wrong audience, wrong generation. And Saturn? Those ads about "what pundits say (pundit is a social online word - get it?" ...and the fact that "they've gotten it right all along?" Then why does the ad follow up in the very next sentence state the company has 5 entirely new models, like the old models missed the mark? That silk shirt's kind of icky too. Not a TRUST builder. Gotta go. 1+1 doesn't equal 2 with new management at GM which is why the company still is not a member of my social economic forecasting index.

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