Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vroom vroom ding ding part II

Last week, I discussed what consumer electronics marketers could learn from their counterparts in the automotive industry.  Today, let’s see if the wizards of transistors can return the favor.

While I identified three marketing practices from the auto world (sub-branding, service as a brand and racing/competition), I think that CE has only one big lesson to teach.  However, as Bugs Bunny might have said, it’s a doozy.

The CE industry, just like the auto industry, thrives on features: HD video and four-wheel drive, auto-focus and turbo-charging, fashion colors and the almighty lighted vanity mirror.  However, in CE, integration of those features makes powerful brands.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vroom vroom ding ding part I

As electric vehicles begin to become more commonplace, most of the attention has fallen on the implications of these cars and trucks on our transportation and energy systems.  However, I’m paying increasing attention to the integration of two large, heavily-marketed industries: automobiles and consumer electronics.

Recently for instance, Suzuki announced that it had teamed with Panasonic to help develop an electric scooter. Until recently, Best Buy sold electric motorcycles.  For that matter, the confluence of motor vehicle and consumer electronics industries hardly began with the 21st century.  In 1930, Motorola got its name by way of a portmanteau incorporating “motor” and “victrola” and began producing the first radios for cars.

However, recent innovations have changed the game.  While consumer electronics companies have long provided entertainment features to cars, they now supply substantial expertise in more critical areas such as battery technology, interface design and microprocessor use.  Of course, I don’t really understand any of these things, so I’ll focus on what I do understand, the marketing.

With this post and the next, I’d like to discuss what I think auto and CE marketers could learn from each other.  Today, I’ll start with the flow from Detroit to Akihabara.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All I Really Need to Know about Fixing Marketing I Learned in Auto Shop

The other day, I took a look at a marketing program that a client considered underperforming.  As I began to investigate, I realize that my approach resembled something I learned 25 years ago in a completely different place, the oil-slicked, unheated garage of my high school’s auto shop classroom.

Naff off, Robert Fulghum

As I looked at the components of the program, I realized that I didn’t know exactly what to look for, but instead, I knew I would find it if I kept looking for it.  In broad terms, that approach applies both to marketing programs and to balky lawnmower engines.

Let me give you a little background.  I attended a fine public school dedicated to sending all of its high school graduates on to higher education and they succeeded at a rate of about 85%, IIRC.  As part of their goal in developing well-rounded young men and women, they insisted on two semesters of practical arts.  Most of my honors-level classmates chose home economics or drafting.  I had different proclivities and chose not one but two semesters of auto shop.