vSente is a marketing consultancy. We help challenger enterprises wage and win battles for market shares.

Disciplines - Advertising | Marketing | Sales
Competency - Challenge | Defend
Deliverable - Profitable Market Share
Audience - CEO's | Marketing | Sales
Scale - Small | Medium-sized Enterprise
Services - Campaigns | Workshops
Location - San Francisco | London


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Juxtaposition: GM Sales Fall 14% While Embracing Customers Generated Media

I awoke this morning to a New York Times piece describing GM's Chevy Tahoe debacle and a Wall Street Journal article showing GM's sales fell 14% during the month of March. Did customer generated media drive GM's sales down 14%? No. Not directly. But when I read Chevrolet's spokesman Melisa Tezanos comments, I continue to wonder about the competency of the GM marketing team. Ms. Tezanos said that the company did not intend to shut down the anti-S.U.V. ads:

"We anticipated that there would be critical submissions," Ms. Tezanos said. "You do turn over your brand to the public, and we knew that we were going to get some bad with the good. But it's part of playing in this space."

Ok. So I guess this means that the GM marketing folks knew this would be a dicey effort, and even though the bad is getting all the play, they do not intend to shut down the anti-S.U.V. ads? And in the meantime sales fall 14%? Which prompts four questions:

1.  If you anticipated there would be critical submissions then why do it?

2.  Why did you turn the brand over to the public?

3. Can you point to a single customer generated media campaign that has actually worked?

4. Did the same GM folks who created the Oprah G6 give-away dream up this effort?

Most importantly GM needs to generate sales today. Not buzz. Not conversations. Not engagement. Not evangelists. Not creative awards. They need to generate paying customers. TODAY!!!! If you can prove to me that customer generated media will generate sales today then rock and roll. But if you can't prove it then don't use it.

Nobody at GM knows how to SELL cars. They know how to give cars away using Oprah and massive discounting - but nobody is left that really knows how to sell. Well actually wait... there is at least one person at Detroit headquarters who is asking the right question. They Googled "How to generate revenue" and landed on our site. This is not a joke. This actually happened. Click here to to see the web log.

GM has been giving us heartburn for awhile. Here's a few more of our posts on GM:



UPDATE: Despite a deluge of negative videos Chevy declares viral campaign success... this from Media Buyer Planner. GM's claim of success was made after 100's of people took the time to create anti-SUV videos at Chevy's site and send them to 1000's of other folks. I wonder what a failure looks like at GM marketing?

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