Ford Can’t Sell to StudentsTuesday, August 15, 2006
I received a neat little letter from Ford in the mail today. As with all junk mail, I opened it. To my surprise I was invited to purchase an 06/07 vehicle from Ford and instant get $500 off! Wowzers, Ford, great idea! Let me go visit your cool website: fordcollegehq.com. Whoa, wait. What is this? There’s no way a student ever looked at this website before Ford sent out this letter… no self-respecting 18-35 year old would have spent more than three minutes on here. So, Ford, why didn’t you get someone’s expert opinion? That’s a rhetorical question becuase I’m here to give it to you anyway.
The “get a ride page” is the biggest, most critical mistake Ford made. Why do you show us every possible car you sell? Do you have any idea what a college student is looking for in a car? For starters, it’s certainly not the Crown Victoria, or Freestar. Why take the shotgun approach to marketing? If you’re going to make a site for college students, try thinking like a college student looking for a new car. This mistake should be self-evident. Try focusing on a couple of cars that have proven popular for students and then spend a little more time highlighting those.
The problem is you just provide us a list of every car you’ve made available and you assume we’ll take the time to research each one? I may have seen every one of these cars on a commercial but I wouldn’t know a Freestar from a Freestyle. Use some pictures for goodness sakes! Besides, students are very lazy. We need this information handed to us. We don’t have time to open up each product page and then crawl through it. That’s the point of making a fordcollegehq.com website. Pull the information we need together and make it straight forward. I’d use actual students and feature “the prep” or “the football player” or “the environmentalist” and then match them up with a car, how it fits them, which features are best, etc. Hello? The name of the campaign is “define yourself”.
Ford, that would’ve taken you a day or two to put together. Tops. Now look at you… you decided to be lazier than us.
First, just because you put music on the homepage doesn’t mean you’ll somehow grab the MTV/MySpace audience. Second, your website points me to so many different pages, why can’t I get the vital information on the front page? Again, this makes me work. Makes me click forward, click back, click a few pages deeper.
You even appear to give us students a little bit of “financing 101″ when in reality you’re just pointing back to your credit website. This is not tailored to a student. This is a few pages of tons of words and another waste of time. Closed. Done. Bye, Ford.
Rely on Marketing, Money, MTV?
So, you partner with MTV and assume they’re going to do all this work for you, right? That’s what it seems like. Throwing a MTV page on your website only detracts from the point: the cars. The page isn’t even put together very well and it’s hard to quickly determine what everything is. That’s just bad marketing. Draw my attention somewhere other than someone else’s website. Oh, and $500 on a $21,000 car? Goodness, that’s maybe a 2% discount after tax, title and all that. Student’s are used to radical deals. That’s the only thing we pay attention to. If I’m going to throw down that much money on a brand new car, you’d better offer some sort of incentive. Besides, I know your sales guys are going to treat me like some kid, so you’d better make the money worth the trouble…
But hey, that’s just my humble opinion..