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Larry Bruce

Larry Bruce Founder / President / CEO

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The title of this post comes from an early Wal-Mart internet team saying “you can’t out Amazon, Amazon”. Bottom line, Hyundai was first to market with Cash for Clunkers and they were first to add incentives on top of this offering.  To come along now and try to say the same thing only louder or do it better is foolish and will make no bigger impact than GM’s failed attempt to follow Hyundai’s Assurance program. “You cannot succeed if you try to tell you competitor’s story better than they can”.  This is the hardest lesson for a marketer to learn about competition; as human beings we are well trained to follow the leader. The natural instinct is to figure out what is working for your competition and then try to outdo them, if they compete on price we’re cheaper, if they compete on speed we’re faster. The problem is that once the consumer has bought the competitor’s story, it is the same as convincing them they were wrong, and no one wants to admit they were wrong.

What you must do is tell a different story. If any OEM or dealer reads this post…here is a different story on Cash for Clunkers:

What was the bill originally designed to do? Give away taxpayer money? The essence of this bill is to get low mileage, high emissions vehicles off the streets…right? So here is story you can tell that will sustain long after the CARS money is gone.

If it’s good for the customer and it’s good for our planet…then it’s good for us!

If any one of your customers wants to trade a vehicle for even 1 gallon per mile better mileage then that is good for them, your customer.  Every little bit helps our environment, even 1 gallon per mile adds up over millions of cars, so it’s good for us, and with that said you are here to give them trade assistance to help them help our plant. Whatever the amount is $1500, $2500 etc., it doesn't matter -  the fact is you're telling a different story, one that the consumer can believe is more important than the one before it.

This is not just a positioning X/Y axis kinda’ thing; this is a real story that is completely different from the story that is already being told.

So the train has left the station on being first to market with Cash for Clunkers.  Failing that, now you must tell a COMPLETELY different story and one that captures the world view of the customers that have heard about the program but haven’t made a decision to buy yet. The world view of the customer above:  I want to get better gas mileage to help my family and my planet, I like the fact that a company is willing to help without using my tax dollars to do it, and just because I drive a later model car doesn’t mean I don’t want better gas mileage and help the planet. The story above can and will continue to resonate long after the CARS money is gone.

Just my take.  Hope someone at one of the OEM’s see this and decides to act, and for every OEM other than Hyundai, you need to act before they do since they seem to be beating everyone to the punch this year.

 

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