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May 01, 2007

Comments

Katie Cummings

I agree:"Improve - Demonstrate - Advertise"

Ford needs to fix the oil leaks then tell us about it. If marketing can overcome a bad product then we're all in trouble, or really stupid. Either way, I don't think it's happening. I mean, what are they going to do? Lie?

Joseph Ratliff

Ryan,

Oddly enough...I disagree with advertising at all in Ford's case.

"Improve the product first."

"Market the proof, don't advertise."

"Re - center a U.S.P. around the proof and re-market Ford from step one again."

Advertising in any part of this step is limiting and expensive with many people being conditioned not to respond to advertising directly...and that is what Ford needs, direct response. They need to first improve quality at all levels and the product itself.

Then, they need to direct - market this by sending a package of the proof with a "We heard you America, and we improved" type of approach. This package needs to be HUGE, containing an incentive that is the same to draw a more direct response. Even a sales letter would be appropriate here, written very carefully with little hype and more credibility.

They need to figure out a new Unique Selling Proposition, and go for the throat of the buying public with it.

I am sure that they have a huge list to market to, but perhaps an alliance with another company or companies in the automotive industry would be appropriate as well.

That is my two cents.

Joseph Ratliff
http://www.buildinginternetwealt.org

Perry Droast

I loved Chevys first. Volkswagens second. I'm more than pleased with the last two Fords I've owned.

We bought a new 2002 Eddie Bauer Expedition 5 years ago. It was a really good vehicle in almost every way. But we needed to tow a fifth wheel trailer.

So we traded in the Expedition for a 2004 F250 4x4. This is the best truck I've ever owned. Because it's diesel, it gets better mileage in town than the Expedition did on the highway.

My wife saw a brand new Ford Escape hybrid two days ago. She already wants one. The main selling point to her is the fact it's a hybrid.

I believe if Ford pushes hard on the hybrid angle they can regain a little market share.

I get the impression people want to feel like they are actually contributing to making a positive change in the environment. One way to do that, at least in many people's minds, is to drive a vehicle that gets significantly better mileage and has lower emissions than the vehicle they drive now.

I'm seeing older Suburbans and other SUVs for sale all over town. I think the $3.40 regular where I live is finally pinching peoples pocketbooks.

I think that's one angle Ford could use in their advertising.

I recently got a mini-mag from Ford about the new 2008 F250. One of the features they are touting is the ipod port on the dash. I think they've had those for a few years but I've just recently picked up on it. Because I love my ipod so much, I was tempted to go get a new truck. Then I figured out I'd have to pay for it.

I think not only Ford but GM and Daimler/Chrysler better get their quality ducks in a row or they'll continue to be trounced in the sales department.

Toyota is taking over the world when it comes to car sales.

Just wait until Chinese cars start coming in.

Then you'll want to short the not so big 3.

Andrzej Jaronski

Ford, along with GM and DC, have seen the Japanese coming up FOR DECADES and STILL DID NOTHING to improve quality and reliability. That's what you get when you let myopic accountants design cars. North American car marketers must assume consumers are stupid and gullible. Not me. All the smart, cute, and clever advertising campaigns in the world cannot erase the nightmarish memories of many a Ford owner as they watched a dashboard light blink on...again. The promises of "this time it's different" reads like the boy who cried wolf. Why should we believe them now?
Ford has an incredible uphill battle and I don't envy their Sysiphian task.

Andrzej Jaronski

Oops, I misspelled Sysiphian. It should read "Sisyphean", named after the poor guy (for those of you who might not know) from Greek mythology who was sentenced to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a hill only to start over when the boulder was rolled back down.

Brian O.

Ford's challenge is a prime example of how even the best marketing campaign in the world can't make up for a lousy product. This company could really use some 'honest copy' in their marketing. If I were CEO of Ford, here's the changes I would make and what I would say, something like:

"Folks, we've heard what you're telling us loud and clear through the numbers. Our sales have gone down, and we're losing market share to Japanese competitors. You want a higher-quality, competitively-priced product, and we're going to deliver it.

"We're re-negotiating these union contracts with overly generous salaries and benefits. We just can't afford these inflated union-level salaries and benefits and still stay in business. The defined-benefit pension plan for future Ford retirees is no more. Ford is barely making enough money to stay in business, much less pay workers who aren't on our payroll.

"We realize we're not fooling anyone with these 'dog-and-pony' marketing gimmicks. You don't care that we've been one of America's biggest car companies and an American business legacy. We know we MUST build higher-quality, longer-lasting cars and trucks that Americans can and will buy.

"Given our current financial situation and current business trends, we realize that if we don't deliver on this promise, Ford may not be in business. Or at least not as the same strong, proud company you've known since the early 20th Century.

"We realize that our actions will speak much louder than any words we say or print. The ball is in our court, and it's up to us to deliver. Time - and the response of the American marketplace - will determine the results."

If Ford and other American companies would shoot straight like this (and do their best to provide value to their customers), they'd be shocked how well their sales would improve. That's my two cents (and then some :) about Ford and American business in general.

Ryan Healy

Wow, Brian! I'd say Ford needs to hire you. :-)

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Then, they need to direct - market this by sending a package of the proof with a "We heard you America, and we improved" type of approach. This package needs to be HUGE, containing an incentive that is the same to draw a more direct response. Even a sales letter would be appropriate here, written very carefully with little hype and more credibility.

They need to figure out a new Unique Selling Proposition, and go for the throat of the buying public with it.

I am sure that they have a huge list to market to, but perhaps an alliance with another company or companies in the automotive industry would be appropriate as well.

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