To rev-up excitement in the US, smart USA and the Penske Group used a very resourceful and—what many thought—a successful advertising strategy to market the Smart when it finally made its way to the US. They truly created a Smart buzz, using the popular word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing method along their unique cross-country tour. Now, with new concerns about safety
from consumers, Smart USA is asking Smart car owners to assist them by, once again, using WOM.
Smart USA’s experimental WOM campaign had a solid influence on consumer thoughts about the Smart brand—and granted, you can't do what they did for Smart with a TV commercial.
But, did their marketing method adequately address concerns about safety that now exist in many potential owners’ minds?
Perhaps not. Smart USA recently sent (they say 30,000) Smart Fortwo owner's a letter containing promotional material about the car’s safety features
and asking owners to help Smart USA address safety-related questions they may get from the curious Smart car admirers or potential Smart car owners. They've also published a Web site at www.safeandsmart.com
to answer safety concerns and questions.
Similar to boaters, most Smart owners are helpful and willing to answer questions from inquisitive passers by, but we believe questions and concerns relating to any car’s safety are far too important of a topic to be answered by a stranger with a flyer.
Like any car that comes to the marketplace, safety
tests and opinions change. The IIHS said, back in 2006, that the Toyota Corolla was one of the least-safe cars in America. Since then, they’ve named it a top safety pick for 2009!
In our opinion, the 2009 Smart Fortwo is the safest city car you can find. But it takes time and effort on the manufacture’s part—or, in this case, the official importer of the cars—to substantiate the car’s safety in consumers’ minds and this task should be accomplished by smart USA in conjunction with its dealership network.
Below is a copy of the letter and the promotional brochure about the cars safety features sent to Smart car owners.
"Dear smart fortwo Owner,
smart USA recently celebrated its one-year anniversary in the United States and is proud to say there are over 30,000 smart fortwos on America's roads today. Turning heads wherever it goes, the smart fortwo is one of the most talked about vehicles. As an owner, you may have experienced this first hand, stopping to answer questions everywhere you travel.
Among many of the conversations you likely have with passers by, many of you have been asked questions regarding the smart fortwo's safety management systems. To help address any safety-related questions, we would like to provide you these reference cards with helpful factoids. Please feel free to carry these in your car to share with who are interested in learning more about the smart fortwo and its many advanced safety systems.
In addition, we invite smart fortwo owners to share their safety-related
experiences, or simply read stories other drivers have posted, on our exciting new website, safeandsmart.com
. From accident avoidance to vehicle crashes, we thank those owners who have taken the time to share with all readers their appreciation for the variety of safety features that have not only prevented accidents but protected passengers and helped to save lives on our roads.
If you would like to obtain additional copies of the enclosed cards, you may do so by contacting your local smart center. Digital copies are also available for download at safeandsmart.com
Continued safe travels,
Dave Schembri President, smart USA"
We would like to know what our readers think about this approach and if you have an opinion on this please email us and tell us what you think. CLICK HERE