Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some Things Simply Will NOT Change

Nearly all of my blog-logues are about change.

In fact, the 2011 Trendcast even includes five CHANGE WAVES that are the Tsunami agents rattling the marketplace.

But this blog-logue is different.

It’s about some things that simply do not change.

Like car dealer marketing and advertising.

While car brand advertising might change some – like the Kia Gerbils! – dealer marketing and advertising remains the same.

Ask any person on the street, “when you think of bad advertising, what do you think of?” and I will put a $100 on the table that at least half of them will say car dealer ads.

Being the end of the year, the car dealers are becoming similar to the political candidates the week before election day.

Last week, I got a letter from the dealer where I purchased my Jeep earlier in 2010.

The letter began with a paragraph saying that the owner of the dealership was “just a few cars away from getting his big bonus award” and “was asking a select few customers to come buy a car to help.”

I am not joking. This is what the dealer sent.

I called the dealership and asked to speak to the owner. The owner was “out on a holiday vacation.”

I asked to speak to the head of sales.

When he picked up the call, I told him about the letter I received in the mail. He asked me when was I coming in to purchase a new Jeep.

I asked him if he had been drinking a bunch of spiked eggnog already that day.

I then told him that I found the letter insulting and could care less if the owner of the dealership got a bonus or not.

He said he did not understand.

Some things simply do not change.

Then there are the newspaper writers and articles about new government release statistics.

In yesterday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution, there was a front-page article titled “Mableton Mirrors Atlanta At-Large.”

It was about the newly released 2010 US Census stats.

The article compares four radically different suburban hamlets based on median age, ethnicity and income and claim that they are all mirror one another as well as metro Atlanta as a whole.

One of those communities is a firmly middle-class suburb; another one an area of urban Generation X “gentrification”; another a “good ole boy” exurban community that is becoming a bedroom community for professional African-Americans.

BUT… according to the article… they are all the same. In fact, all the same and comparative to all of metro Atlanta.

Statisticians seem to live in the gray-zone of averages.

They also live in the past and present. They get itchy and uncomfortable living in the future.

One of my clients has been working with a senior housing developer that has brought in a young statistician to evaluate the investment opportunity of a building site.

After reviewing reports I put together of interesting market trends, community profiles and generational changes, the statistician has boiled down his assessment to similar comparative stats just like the guy at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

You know what, they might be brothers.

In fact, he has even ruled that a bedroom executive community and a small North Georgia town at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains post mirror image population statistics.

He also has ruled that the area is not likely to grow despite double-digit five year projected growth rates re-estimated in 2010 to take into account the economy and new business starts.

According to the statistician, the area has posted limited new home starts in the past 12 months.


I know that I preach that change is inevitable. That the paradigm of business has changed. That to survive, marketers need to employ innovative strategy and challenge historic perspectives.

But I was partly wrong.

Some things simply will not change.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are You ReadyMade Ready?

Over the past few weeks, I have been immersed in the Millennial Generation and how it relates across a wide spectrum of personal health insurance to flooring and home décor.

When I tell clients that the group is real… they pose a puzzled look on their face.

“Who are these people?”

“Those are the Generation X aren’t they?”

“Okay…the college student market, right?”

My response is very simple.

The Millennial Generation is 71 Million strong. The leading edge of that generation turns 31 in 2011. They will change the American landscape even more than the Boomers did 30 years ago.

I then follow quickly and ask if they have every heard of ReadyMade Magazine.

Few raise their hands.

ReadyMade Magazine should be required reading from the CEO to the advertising assistant to the local sales rep.

The current issue should function as a fundamental support post for any 2011 forward brand platforms.

The contents and stories will make you smile.

The Millennials take what life deals them, reframe it, remold it, reprogram it and move on.

They may be ADHD, but in many ways, it is a condition that gives them an advantage.

There are great recipes in the issue.
There’s a great story about a Boomer couple that lives like a Millennial.
There are stories about cheap travel destinations

My favorite is a story about a Millennial Entrepreneur and his mobile restaurant that he runs out of a trailer.

The article is complete with a template of the business plan he used to start up the venture.

This past year, I met with the former Chief Operating Officer of a 500+ location restaurant chain. We met at least a dozen times.

This guy was going through a Baby Boomer re-birth and was pursuing the idea of starting up a mobile restaurant brand.

The idea never came to life.

Too bad the guy could not take on the Millennial head set… and just do it.

Instead, the baggage of the MBA past and Corporate America created so many walls that the concept idea never made it to trial.

If you have never read an issue of ReadyMade, you owe it to yourself to do so.

It is sold in Borders, Barnes & Noble and even the local Krogers.

You have no excuse.

And when you get home with it. Turn to page 58 and make yourself a glass of the Mardi Gras Indian Winter Toddy.