Nissan plans "scientific" marketing

03 May 2013

LONDON: Nissan, the Japanese car manufacturer, is looking to develop a more systematic approach to its marketing, a senior executive has said.

"I'm trying to turn marketing from being a glorified art form into something more like a science," Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice president, told Marketing magazine.

He explained how the automaker had moved its focus. "Five years ago we were just one of three big Japanese manufacturers, and probably a bit bland," he said. "We've tried to make the brand a bit more 'punky' and left-field."

As evidence of the success of this approach he cited the annual Interbrand surveys. "Three years ago we weren't even in the top 100," he said. "Two years ago we were placed at 90 and last year we moved up to 73."

"I know for a fact we are one of the fastest-growing brands, so we're clearly pushing forward," he added.

Nissan has also introduced price cuts on seven of its models in the US, to optimse their pricing for potential buyers searching online, particular using mobile devices.

With some shopping sites inviting shoppers to narrow their search by specifying price ranges or a maximum amount, models were in danger of being left off the consideration list because of a few dollars difference in the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).

"What we saw is that in some versions of some mobiles, we were not on the shopping list because we did not have the appropriate MSRP," Jose Munoz, senior vice president for sales and marketing for the Americas, told Autoweek.

"We did an analysis across the car line and decided to make these adjustments," he said.

Another example of Palmer's practical approach to marketing is the forthcoming introduction of a new London taxi based on the Nissan NV200 van.

He plans "plenty of branding" for passengers in the rear seats and is enthusiastic about the possibilities that would open up with an electric version for Nissan and its LEAF electric car.

"The best way to answer concerns about electric cars is to get people into them," he said, adding: "If you think of the millions who ride in black cabs each day, then you get a feel for what these vehicles could achieve in terms of changing perceptions."

Data sourced from Marketing, Autoweek; additional content by Warc staff