Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GM, Bob Lutz, Al Ries and Me

Oh man could you see that at the marketing convention you attend? Bob Lutz and Al Ries are standing in a corner having a conversation about GM's marketing strategy. Al is taking Bob to school. Bob looks like he is going to blow a stack because, based on his public persona, and his 60 Minutes piece that ran a awhile back, he has no issue taking issue with his critics, even when they are trying to help him.

Then the dynamic shifts, I walk up and politely engage in the conversation. Fast forward 10 seconds and the next thing you know GM has reclaimed their spot as the world's top car manufacturer. Wake up Jake.

I came across, what I consider to be, another genius piece by Al Ries. Really, Mr. Ries is doing what he does in this Ad Age article - applying some of his immutable laws of marketing to the latest drama to come out of Detroit/GM. Al has the ability to take the seemingly complex, break it down, and apply foundational marketing and advertising principles for positive solutions. Too bad GM most likely will not listen.

My only wish after reading this piece is for all University business departments across the country to teach their marketing majors straight out of Ries materials.

Here is an excerpt from the piece with a link to the full article.

GM's Appointment of Lutz Shows No Respect for Marketing

"Without a story, no advertising, no matter how brilliant, is going to work.

BMW's story is "driving." Toyota's story is "reliability." Mercedes' story is "prestige."

Marketing comes first, advertising comes second. That's why Bob Lutz seems to be on the wrong tack when he immediately focuses on fixing the advertising. "I think you will very quickly see a drastic change in the tone and content of our advertising," said Mr. Lutz. "And if you don't, it will mean that I have failed."

"My top priority now," he added, "is to enhance the ability of GM to let the public know about what great cars and trucks we build. For all the money spent in the past, this seemingly simple task has eluded us." (Note: GM spent $36 billion on U.S. advertising in the past ten years.)

"Our current product lineup is arguably the best of any mass producer in the world, and our task is to use enhanced advertising and communications methods to convince more Americans to give us a try again," said Mr. Lutz.

I think he's wrong. Advertising at GM is not broken. Marketing is

Again, to read the entire piece please click HERE

No comments: