One of the great things about working inside of a dynamic marketing agency like Domus is experiencing all of the ideas that people come up with – for the agency’s clients, for the agency itself, and for other companies, whether or not they will one day become clients. No idea is too far out in left field to be considered, debated, and developed. At a minimum, it keeps the energy level high and people’s minds sharp; at best it enables business- growing or even business-saving strategies and tactics to germinate.
But what does this have to do with Ford and Star Trek (the other two thirds of this blog post’s title)? Well, two things that have been in the news over the last couple of weeks had a connection that got the brain juices flowing: the new Star Trek movie and the notices by Chrysler and GM that they were terminating relationships with thousands of car dealers in the U.S.
I know this is stretching a little, but that’s how the brain sometimes works. One line in the narrated credits of the movie was “…to boldly go where no one has gone before.” That got some of us thinking. These are extraordinary times, which can benefit from extraordinary (bold) thinking. So we thought… We thought of all of the pain that these thousands of dealers are being forced to go through; we thought of all of the press (generally negative) that Chrysler and GM are getting; and we thought, “Who could gain? And how?” That, in turn, brought us to Ford, which brings me to the following open letter to William Clay Ford, Jr., Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company.
Dear Mr. Ford,
Here’s a marketing idea that could do wonders for Ford, but you need to strike now while the iron’s hot.
Offer as many as possible of the discontinued Chrysler and GM dealerships the opportunity to become Ford dealerships, helping them financially to make the switch.
Imagine the possibilities. Many of these dealers have been loyal to their associated auto manufacturer for decades. Many are still profitable. All are eager to stay in business. And all have something to prove. Imagine each of them partnering with you to prove to GM and Chrysler that they are not only viable, but that they are the best, most profitable, and most loyal dealers in the world. Imagine them being loyal to Ford.
And don’t forget the local, national, and international publicity---all free—that will result from a bold move like this. How much does Ford spend monthly on advertising? How much money is it worth to have every major newspaper, radio station, TV station, and blog site in the country delivering stories about how Ford saved all of these dealerships and all of the families who work for them? What fraction of that money would be necessary to help convert these dealerships? And how many tens of thousands of cars will Ford sell that otherwise would have gone to GM or Chrysler? (At a minimum, think of 30-50 people who work at each of a thousand dealers. Then include their families and friends. Then their customer contacts…)
Mr. Ford, now’s the time to boldly go where no one has gone before. Strike while the iron’s hot. And, if you want more developed thoughts along these lines, please contact us. Domus is a full-service marketing agency based in Philadelphia. We have dynamic, creative people who are always thinking outside of the box, regardless of where it takes us—advertising, public relations, internet marketing, strategic consulting, and more.
Domus Strategic Consulting
P.S., I write this not just as a marketing consultant, but also as a customer—I just bought a 2009 Ford Fusion. So, my loyalties are with you. Live long and prosper!