Zoom Zoom may not be enough anymore.
Mazda’s famous tagline introduced the North American continent to the performance-bred pleasures of driving a Mazda. Whether you drove home in an RX-8 or picked up a more mundane Mazda MPV, the slogan promised that everything the company built had the soul of a sports car.
Mazda is Japan’s 5th biggest automaker and manufactures about 70 percent of its vehicles in Japan. It sells only about 10 percent of those in its home market and exports the other 90 percent. That’s not a profitable equation considering the relative weakness of the Japanese yen at the moment. The company expects to lose 100 billion yen ($3.1 billion) for 2011 and is thought to be searching for 70 billion yen to bolster overseas production in Thailand and Mexico.
There’s no question that Mazda builds great cars. To survive, though, it needs to get foreign production ramped up right away, partner with a larger automaker or sell a heckuva lot more cars. Moving on from Zoom Zoom and incorporating some innovative marketing like that of Japan’s number one automaker might do the trick.
Autoblog reports on a brilliant marketing strategy implemented for Toyota Belgium:
Toyota Belgium has just launched a new campaign for the Toyota RAV4 Black Edition that allows participants to earn discounts for the vehicle based on their location. Smartphone users download the RAV4 Adventure Discount App, travel to a so-called adventurous location within Belgium and sign in with the application. The app then calculates a discount based on just how daring you are.
So, maybe a trip deep into the Ardennes will yield a larger discount than a jaunt to one of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels. A promotion like that gets people interested and involved in the brand. Once people have an emotional connection (they worked for that discount, after all), they are more likely to follow through with a purchase.
I’d expect to see similar promotions hitting the U.S. very soon!
Can Mazda’s problems be solved with better advertising?