Monthly Archives: December 2007

‘busa blastoff

it’s a bold new world of marketing mix and tech savvy

It’s not news that 40% of Suzuki Hyabusa buyers are black or Latino. What is news is Adweek’s confirmation of an emerging strategy that sucks more resources from traditional – read print – outlays and retargets budget to digital using a combination of focused local media driving new online content.

In this case, the manufacturer’s latest moves can be interpreted as a thorough reseeding of the urban source of those sales, in an effort crafted by their digital agency Questus to capitalize on established brand id by using localized rappers to hype the bike in eleven selected markets.

Local media will then link back to an online music and graffiti site, as this hybrid rolls out over the months ahead. It’s an interesting concept which brings to mind the reopening of underproducing oil wells as the per barrel price perpares to leave our galaxy. It’s not so much mining new market as it is refining the old. At $12K for an ’08, it’s worth it to dig a little deeper in those markets that already produce 30% of sales.

branding done right

if you don’t have a successful brand, target can’t use you

Target (sometimes referred to by it’s chic id as tahr-jay) rose to the top of the retail marketing heap in the ’90’s in large measure by rewriting it’s brand management strategy. In the process it smoked the once dominant Sears mark, torpedo’d K-Mart, and attended the funerals of several like competitors.

Target’s approach is simple. If you don’t have a successful brand strategy, don’t come knocking. Like many other consumer channels, powersports marketers have largely ignored the basics — and the necessity — of branding. Depending for the past decade-plus on growth as a result of consumer generated demand — like counting on spontaneous combustion to heat your house — a softening market is now revealing the inherent weakness of products without proper identity papers.

Target understands how and why consumers shop, and many of the lessons are easily observed. Just go shopping — pay attention to the brands they’ve chosen to market, and how they’ve chosen to display and promote them. Just don’t blame us if you end up buying something you didn’t know you needed.

(Read more about branding here.)

valvoline’s promo blowout

valvoline mechanix gloves create a buzz

Sweet! Valvoline’s summer promotion offering a pair of Mechanix gloves – MSRP $23.95 – in exchange for 6 proofs of purchase was a thumbs-up winner in the create a new customer sweepstakes. Valvoline’s always been my oil of choice and this just cemented the deal. I stripped off the plastic rings from the 60-weight already on my shelves and 4-6 weeks later the gloves were on my workbench.

This marketing promotion worked well on a number of levels. Actual retail value of the premium was easily compared by visiting any chain store and checking out the pricing. The gloves themselves have a known brand cache. The fact that the product was practical as well completed the reward expectations loop, justifying the effort to collect, fill out, insert and mail the qualifying bits and pieces. And this promo created a fair amount of blog and forum buzz, which never hurts.

Not every marketer can devote the resources needed to lay out a promo like this one. (Adobe just ran a buy two get an iPod shuffle to hype their stock art biz. I didn’t need another iPod but couldn’t resist taking the bait.) But if the audience is big enough, the rewards on both sides of the mailbox can be considerable.

why circuit city sucks

circuit city fails the customer retention test

First some background. One of the essential Marketing Customer Commandments that’s emerged in the era of the internet has been a total focus on customer retention. My recent experiences with vendors ranging from Valvoline motor oil to Garden of Eatin’s line of organic chips convinces me that it’s not just a throwaway line. But then there are retailers like Circuit City, and this goes to the reason why Best Buy is clobbering The Other Big Red Box.
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cash makegoods – new pain of giving back

In the heavily discounted world of powersports print advertising make goods for shortfalls are still the norm, but it’s somewhat of a surprise that over in the grown up playground of broadcast that NBC is opting for a cash back plan to the tune of $10-mil over ratings shortfalls.

According to Ad Age, NBC took in $6-billion in 2006, so what’s relevant isn’t the amount of the settlement but why. In this case, make-goods were delayed anticipating a big ratings hit that never occured, and the bigger implications for a move from program ratings to an actual ads viewed basis for compensation.

We mention this because of the predicament facing traditional print publications in an era of declining readership and advertiser defections. Audited circulation notwithstanding, knowing how, where and when to invest in print is becoming more and more difficult for the small industry model that’s the backbone of the aftermarket powersports market.

pri at 20 — what a show

big boys big block

Performance Racing Industries 20th annual show went off last week under Chamber of Commerce skies and filled to capacity with show goers — 45,000 as a matter of fact. This event is all about speed — no pump up the volume here unless you’re talking about nitro.

This is a seriously well done show that moved to Orlando a few years ago to take advantage of the million square feet of exhibition space. We’ll upload a full report soon, but in the meantime consider what it looks like when you start with go karts at one end, drag boats, pulling tractors and LeMans rides in between, and finish with a Benz powered Freightliner pickup on the other.

before long it’s a trend

Advanstar’s announcement this week that they’re shutting down publication of their stand alone American Big Twin comes on the heels of the cancellation of the still-born Big Twin West counter to Easyriders V-Twin Expo.

What began as a quarterly in ’92, then bi-monthly, then monthly before folding into a regularly featured subsection of Dealernews ends life as an ambitious tabloid that entered a crowded field amidst lots of fanfare and minimum market support.

New plan is to produce a bi-monthly dedicated section. The marketing guy in me says, at some point events become trends. And this event’s time has come and gone.