I had to replace my poor Passat early December, so I was back on the market for a car. Since it has been over 15 years since I last bought a car, I found myself faced front-and-center by terrific product marketing at the various car companies…
Smart Packaging and Pricing
My basic specifications were an all-wheel drive, 3-row SUV with a moon roof. Pretty basic specs – nothing fancy. However, I was very impressed by the packaging and pricing of the various automakers.
For example, I test drove the Subaru Ascent, which their new 3 row SUV. The base price is an affordable $31,995. However, to get the moon roof, you need to:
- Upgrade to the Premium edition, which is $34,195. (+$2,200), with heated seats, 2nd row climate controls, and other features
- Add the “Sporty” package, which includes upgraded wheels, a navigation screen, and adds $4,260 to the price.
All-in to get the moon roof, you need to pony up a minimum of $6,460 which, by itself, should cost somewhere in the $2,000 range. However, because of the bundle, I was willing to pay for it.
Takeaway: As Product Marketers, how can we do a better job bundling features that can both deliver more value to customers and capture more revenue?
Sales Compete Readiness
I test-drove the GMC Acadia, which met all my specs (and had a similar pricing/packaging scheme as the Ascent with five different trim options and a moon roof package). The salesperson was a pro and asked me if I was considering other vehicles. I shared that I was going to test drive an Ascent, and he launched into a superb compete script.
He asked if I had heard all the issues with Subaru’s CVT transmission, where “it can sometimes be non-responsive to the acceleration pedal.” Believe me, when I test drove the Ascent, I was hitting the gas to see if there was a delay. The seeds of fear/uncertainty/doubt were planted.
Takeaway: Fair warning, it is going to be pop-quiz time at Sales Kickoff. Who can articulate the top weaknesses of our competitors in a succinct two sentences?
Gathering data from multiple sources
When I look back on the car buying experience, I considered all the data sources I used to inform my decision. Sure, I used the manufacturers’ websites, Consumer Reports, and the Institute for Highway Safety. However, I used a slew of other resources as well:
- My co-worker who recently bought an SUV
- My brother
- Car Pricing companies: NADA.com, Edmunds, KBB.com
- Aggregators: Autotrader.com, TrueCar
- Apps like Fair, which has a new model of leasing
- All the individual dealer websites
Clearly, the majority of sources are out of control of the car manufacturers, and it takes focus and
Takeaway: It is time to take another look at how my company and my products are showing up on sites outside of my control & outside analyst reports. How are we looking on Gartner Peer Insights feedback? G2Crowd? The comments of news articles? Etc.
Decision time: So you made it to the end of this post, and I am sure you are wondering what car I bought…. I am the proud owner of a 2019 Ascent WITH A MOON ROOF. However, the Subaru product marketing team may have an issue with the discounting that ended up happening on the deal. :)