Imedia Connection’s Michael Estrin reports that a watershed moment is occurring in the history of advertising and marketing. In the article Why GM gambled $1.5B on digital he reports on the recent decision by General Motors to shift one half of its total advertising budget to digital over the next three years.
Part of the thinking driving GM’s move is the web is the ULTIMATE tool to tightly target niche markets. Take for example, the car shopping site that targets female car buyers: Car Tango.
When you arrive, you’re greeted with a distinctly feminine design and the opportunity to take a Cosmo-style quiz to help you choose the car of your dreams. You’re asked questions about your fashion preferences, your vacation preferences and which celebrity you’d like to hang out with for a day. When you finish the quiz, you’re presented with your “car soul mate”. (Mine is a 2008 Volvo S40… which surprisingly enough is one of the models I am considering when I trade in my mini-van for my next car.)
Now that I’ve found my “soul mate” vehicle, I’m able to invite a dealer to “tango”.
Right now, Divine Caroline dominates the ad space at Car Tango… which brings up the biggest problem GM faces as they move their advertising dollars to digital. During the Car Tango survey, one of the questions asks about your preference as to your car soul mate’s origins. I chose the “I don’t care” option and in the end, not a single GM product made it into my “soul mate” list of 6 cars.
GM’s problems run deep… so deep that a new attitude when it comes to promoting their products may not be enough.
For an GLARING example of GM’s problems… back in July, the blockbuster movie Transformers hit the big screen. I came home from that movie PUMPED and ready to buy the new Camaro I’d seen in the movie. I wrote about the experience in “Transforming Your Business by Targeting Your Niche.” It was a GREAT marketing move by GM. There were reports of people putting down deposits to secure their own Camaro as seen in the movie. The only problem? The car wasn’t available…. it still isn’t. All that buzz… all that excitement… down the drain.
Hopefully GM won’t be investing $1.5 Billion in hyping products you can’t buy when they take half of their advertising dollars to the web.