The ailing US division of carmaker DaimlerChrysler has embarked on a new, three-pronged marketing strategy in bid to reverse a slump in sales [WAMN: 02-May-01].

“We have to dig out of the current crisis of confidence,” declared new executive vp–sales and marketing James Schroer, who joined from Ford in February [WAMN: 21-Feb-01]. “Consumers have heard a lot about the difficulties. Now we have to dial-up attention on the features of the products and assure [consumers] they are quality products they can trust.”

Phase one, said Schoer consists of getting more “butts into seats”. The auto maker wants to attract customers into its showrooms to view its products and, it hopes, be won over by their quality. Backing this effort is an ad campaign, launched last month, with the tagline ‘See. Drive. Compare’, as well as $500 coupons towards the purchase of a minivan on offer to existing Chrysler owners.

So confident is Chrysler in the quality of its vehicles, that it is even thinking of featuring competitors’ minivans in its outlets so that consumers can experience the difference.

The second phase of Chrysler’s strategy is to divert marketing funds to dealers, who can then fashion sales incentives to suit the needs of local customers. Continued Schroer: “The things that work the best differ by geography. What appears in Texas is different than what appears in Maine.”

The third and final phase involves what Schroer calls “buzz marketing” – memorable advertising that will set people talking. Chrysler aims to make ads that people will remember, says Schroer. “It’s what people say after the ad that matters,” he asserted. “Consumers are bombarded with about 3,000 ads a day, and the average marketing is not worth spending a dollar on.”

Details of this ultra-effective approach were not forthcoming. However, Schroer did add that the new Dodge Ram pick-up truck – due for launch in the fall – will feature prominently: “We want to create so much buzz about the Ram that you’ll have to see it even if you don’t like pickup trucks.”

News source: [07-May-01]