How to Avoid Selling a Fiat

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Fiat is not having a stellar year. Last month the Italian carmaker had its worst results since 1996.  (Of course Fiat now holds a majority stake in Chrysler, whose sales rocketed up 27% in its best September performance in 4 years. ) Clearly the European debt crisis is affecting sales. But Fiat‘s new 500 is not selling well even in the US.  And I read in my new issue of Advertising Age  that the problem is simply lack of visibility. Fiat’s Chief Marketing Officer is quoted as saying “I don’t think we have a car problem; people love the car. I think we have an awareness problem.”  Even a spot with Jennifer Lopez couldn’t jump-start sales. (bad car joke) Here’s a little behind-the-scenes clip, if you want to know how driving scenes get made

“Amy, I know you love cars,” you are thinking, “but what on earth is your point?!”

What I’m getting at is there are plenty of organizations that have wonderful products or programs that no one knows about. An Awareness Problem, just like Fiat. And they don’t have the bucks to hire J-Lo. So what can they do?

Get your fans to promote you. And help the process along. Give them a great video they can send out links to. Create a “how to” downloadable tool they can pass along (after giving you an email address for the free download). Or simply create a Twitter hashtag for a new program, service or event. That way you and your fans can promote these but also track how well they’re faring.

Design communications that suit your customers habits on many different channels. Social networks, mobile applications, and SMS are just a few of the newer ways consumers are engaging with your content. Add that to email, direct mail and e-newsletters. The trick is what kinds of content they want from each channel. Market segmentation has been around a long time. Now the mantra is content segmentation and editing so it is the right length and style for the medium.

Timing is everything – As this great infographic by KissMetrics shows, when you send info is just as important as how.

Ask questions—A short survey can help you find out how someone reached you to make that recent purchase/donation/request for more information. And it’s amazing how many organizations don’t ask their members/donors for input. That will help you make better decisions about reaching that same customer or donor again. And how to reach others.

Measure results. In my next post I will discuss some simple metrics you can use to track your success with different outreach strategies. Stay tuned…

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