Beginning a discussion by saying “the government creates marketing opportunity” is a bit unusual. We tend to think of governmental regulations and influence as limiting for businesses. One exception might be the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) program, better known as “cash for clunkers.” Its aim is to entice owners of fuel guzzling vehicles to trade for more fuel efficient models. The program itself could be a boon to the auto industry as it offers up to $4500 in incentives to consumers. However, if auto companies rely only on the stimulus effect such a program would potentially create they will miss opportunities to reach potential buyers.
An example of proactive marketing in response to the government incentive program is Ford’s “Recycle Your Ride” campaign. Ford has observed (probably correctly) that the conditions and eligibility requirements of the incentive program will be confusing to many people trying to determine if they are eligible. In response, Ford has an interactive calculator on its web site that will enable consumers to input information on their vehicle to determine their eligibility for the government incentive. In addition, Ford has identified approximately 20 models in its product line that meet the criteria of the government program.
By being a resource for consumers to sort through the details of the Cash for Clunkers program, Ford may be better positioned to reap the benefits of this incentive program than its domestic competitors. A quick perusal of GM and Chrylser web site home pages finds no mention of the Cash for Clunkers program or any marketing efforts that respond to the opportunity. The emphasis of the content on those web sites currently is the company, while Ford’s site tries to help the consumer. Which one do you think potential car buyers will favor? Ford’s tactics illustrate that we should always be looking for an opportunity to provide clarity for customers when uncertainty is present.
Marketing Daily – “Ford Eyes Opportunity in Clunker Confusion”