Monday, 25 November 2013

Honda's Marketing Will Have Founder Soichiro Honda Rolling in His Grave

Honda's marketing communciations, gets worse.

Imagine how they'd be doing if they got their marketing act, together

Successful they may currently be in terms of products sold. Though, those running the company, have never really demanded excellence in their marketing as they do with their engineering and design innovations.

Or, it could be that they DO demand high quality marketing, though have been fobbed off by ad agencies bods who cannot match their marketing and communication efforts with the Honda innovations mentioned above.

A couple of recent examples of poor Honda communications;

I received an email promotion piece with the following subject line;

Wimbledon Park Honda, want your car

So, I decide to open the email.

And when I do, I'm presented with this offer:

Make your way to Wimbledon Park Honda this weekend to receive a free valuation of your vehicle and receive a Complimentary Winter Check worth £24.99 

Okay, not a bad offer.

Not enticingly written. Not irresitible. No specific call to action to respond that makes me feel I'll really be missing out or, that I've lots to gain by acting fast. (Maybe a mention of a surprise gift would've had me thinking about taking up the offer).

But guess what, in the SAME email, they're blatantly telling me about NEW CARS and special deals on it, etc.

Now why is this a bad thing to do?

Because, you don't want to be giving readers, prospects, customers, too many things to think about at any one time. In case you haven't noticed, attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.

Oh, but you might say that doing it in that way, having an offer for both, a free valuation and winter check, as well as discounts for new vehicles, doing it that way will enable a reader to put themselves in one category or another, so giving us a shot at those who may be interested in one or another!

That's true, it might work that way.

There's a BETTER way to do it.

By segmenting the database so you have a valuation and winter check email, go only those who have a pre-existing Honda. Segmentation could be broken down even further into various car models. Further segmentation could be made into the year of manufacture of the car, as well as the colour.

So, would it be more appealing and more responsive, if I received a mail that said;

Dear Mr Hireker (the Honda e-shot was NOT personalised),

We've arranged a special Winter Check service for you for where you'd usually pay £24.95 but instead, you won't have to pay a single penny! The reason we're doing that is because our records show that you have a Red Honda CRV and you've been a Honda client for over 10 years.

Not only that, when you come in on the 23rd or 24th of November, we'll give you a totally free, though extremely thorough valuation of your car. In doing that for you you'll be able to see exactly how much your car is currently worth, and, if you choose to do so, whether now or some time in the future, we'd be thrilled to show you various alternatives on our new and used models. 

Though, like I say, the most important thing is for you to take advantage of our winter service check. 

Oh, before I forget, there's a special gift that's been kept aside for you when you come in. Please be sure to mention this to Jenny or Frank who will be at the recepetion desk during the weekend and please bring a copy of this email with you."

Joe Jenson
Honda Customer Services Manager

Honda's recent marketing communications smell of desperation, as well as being muddled and impersonal.

Here's an actual mobile text message I received From Honda, on 1st November 2013.   

Tea, Coffee, Biscuits, and a Honda CRV FOR £249 a Month. Call Wimbledon Park Honda on XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

No context. No strategy. No campaign. It's like the marketing brains at Honda said... let's create this mobile message and send it.

Sadly, that IS how most big (small and medium also) company marketing happens,  without thought, planning or strategy.

Do yourself and your business a favour, steer well clear of emulating Honda's marketing and communication creativity and implementation.

Because, it's dull, unexciting and hopelessly put together.

Yes, dear Soichiro Honda will be rolling about in his grave at it all.