Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Maintaining ‘orphaned’ car owners


The attached article scratches the surface of a problem I think few, if any, manufacturers are addressing well. As you may know, orphaned car owners are owners of vehicle brands that have been discontinued, such as Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Plymouth, and Mercury.

When these owners are shopping new cars, there is no brand loyalty they can follow.  Sure, they can show loyalty to the parent company of their now discontinued brand, but the article states that this only happens in 30% range.  Obviously this means that 70% are spending their money on a competitors brand!

I think the most common way manufacturers of former brands are trying to maintain loyalty is through the use of <gasp> incentives to purchase new vehicles.  If I were even remotely passionate about my brand and am mourning its passing, the last thing I want to get from the parent company is an incentive to buy one of their other vehicles.  ‘Sorry we’ve abandoned the brand you loved, but hey, buy another car from us and we promise not to do it again!’

I think they’re missing a huge opportunity with this approach.  These brands have large Facebook followings, blogs dedicated to them, and owner run communities.  Engage these owners through those sites, continue to show the love through posts that would appeal to those owners, even sponsor get-togethers for those owners so they don’t feel, well, so orphaned.

Yes, it costs money to do things like this.  Yes, you will have to continue to have a small dedicated staff monitoring social sites and organizing events. But the opportunity to rebuild the trust with these owners so that they will be loyal customers to a new brand will more than pay for itself in the long run.


Initial thoughts on Foursquare…

I’ve been using Foursquare (, one of the more popular up and coming location based social networking sites/applications for a couple of months now, and maybe I’m just a social geek, but I’m hooked.  I’m sure Foursquare understands what they have on their hands, but I’m not sure most of the literally millions of businesses listed on their service, many of which are user added, have any idea of the nearly free marketing gold mine operating right under their noses.  For me, Foursquare and it’s mayorships and reward badges, is like internet crack.  I want more. No, I need more.

Many businesses struggle to get visitors to become frequent, repeat customers.  In the age of ubiquitous internet enabled smartphones, support of Foursquare users is an easy and inexpensive way to drive just that type of business.  Some businesses are starting to see the value in rewarding Foursquare users, like Beggar’s Banquent in East Lansing, Michigan (coincidentally in the same city the most awesome college in the world is in, but I digress…), which offers 20% off the mayor’s individual bill when they visit. ( Among Foursquare users, this type of offer, especially in a college town, starts the equivalent of a frequent visitor arms race to see who can get the coveted discount.  Other venues have promoted the opportunity to earn a ‘Swarm’ badge (earned when 50 Foursquare users are checked in at the same venue) if they attend on a certain night, event, etc.  And events, like the 2010 SXSW in Austin, TX had vendors create specific badges for visiting their convention booths, businesses, etc.

Unlike facebook, where friends are most likely to be ‘real’ friends and acquaintences, twitter, where followers have a common interest with you, and LinkedIn, where connections are for business, Foursquare friends are location based.  You find and become friends with people who visit the same businesses you do.  For a business looking to increase it’s customer base, marketing to Foursquare users is a self feeding proposition, users want to hang out where other users hang out.  The more people you draw in, the more people you are going to draw in.  (A side note on Foursquare friends, are most people’s friends from the opposite sex, or is it just me?  Yet another hook to draw customers in…)

Of course there are criticisms; it’s easy to cheat (you can simply drive by a place to ‘check-in’), and some have complained that Foursquare shout-outs are choking ‘legitimate’ twitter posts (‘Who cares if you just became to mayor of Diapers-R-Us?!?’).  What can’t be denied is that Foursquare, until something bigger and better comes along, is a great way to increase your customer base and virtually reward your visitors with very little out of pocket expense.


September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

I am an experienced Social Media, Marketing, Advertising and Finance professional with years of experience managing projects related to the aforementioned disciplines!  I am an avid mountain biker, runner, father, die-hard Michigan State Spartan, Corvette Racing fan and proud US Navy veteran.

Google’s SideWiki Shifts Power To Consumers –Away From Corporate Websites

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Wow, this is going to be a very powerful tool for consumers to be able to comment on, and rate a company and it’s products and services right on their sites.  The ever increasing shift to consumers is continuing…

10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Via Mashable.  You know you need a corporate social media policy, but what should it say? A good guide to getting started.

Categories: Social Media Tags: ,

Great examples of how NOT to do a corporate social media initiative:

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment
Categories: Social Media Tags: ,

Goodbye and Hello…

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I don’t know if it’s fitting or fate or whatever that I post my first personal blog entry on the last day of  my 11 1/2 years of employment with GM. It was a pretty good day up until the end, when I said goodbye to people I have known both professionally and personally, some for the entire time I was with GM.  But as they say, it was time.  Time to move on to bigger and better things, time to move onward and upward, time to close my eyes and jump.

The first couple and the last couple of years have been the best, with the middle years having been spent doing jobs you are ‘supposed’ to do if you want to reach the heights of upper management.  For the record, none of those jobs got me there…

The first couple of years were spent with a group of the smartest finance people employed by GM doing a secret, at the time, initiative that was both fun and challenging (and the right thing to do).  But as often happens to great ideas at GM, senior executives (who approved the project, despite reports otherwise) buckled to dealer pressure and cancelled the initiative, blaming ‘rogue executives’ who went behind their backs to start it. ***(I’ll take this opportunity to say that it’s going to be nice, really nice, to express my honest opinions about GM, finally. But also to say I love GM, my Dad retired from GM, I wanted to work for GM so bad I could taste it, and I would put any new GM car head to head against the best in the world with confidence.  But it’s hard to see something you love do these things to itself, and I’m afraid it’s already on that course again, but that will be another post, or 5…).

The last few years were spent as the Marketing and Advertising representative for Genuine Corvette Accessories with Chevy, and the Social Media, Accessories and Licensing manager for Saturn in the Marketing and Advertising group.  The Corvette job allowed me to work with what is probably the most passionate product team at GM, or any other manufacturer I’m sure.  Those people love the Corvette and it’s customers and fight internally, almost on a daily basis, to make sure they get the car right.  It allowed me to hang with the Corvette Racing Team, the most successful team in ALMS history.  And it allowed me to get to know the most passionate customers in the car business.  This is really where I learned to appreciate the value of one on one communication, that brands creating personal relationships with it’s customers are most successful, that loud commercials are not the most effective way to market your product.

At Saturn, I had the privelege of doing Social Media during what was  the most difficult time in the brands history.  GM announced it would close the brand if a buyer wasn’t found, sales and confidence plummeted, Roger Penske emerged as the front runner for the brand, and GM filed for bankruptcy.  Saturn, like Corvette, has one of the most passionate customer bases in the business.  But despite running commercials that screamed ‘We are here!’ the public believed the brand was going away for good.  And again we discovered that if you engage your customers one on one, through facebook, Twitter, and all the way to their own personal blogs, you can change public perception and start rebuilding your brand.  The beauty of Social Media is that you can engage individual customers, establishing confidence and  rebuilding your brand, but the world is watching.  What you say to one person is viewed by 500, and they tell 2 more, who tell 2 more, and so on, and so on…  Not that I believe big commercials are dead, they serve a valuable purpose, but the humanizing of brands and individual focus on the customer is where it’s all headed.

So armed with that knowledge, I’m heading into the work search world again, hoping to take the hard fought lessons of GM and Saturn to help others move into the next era of marketing…