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Like many marketing people, I like to watch commercials. Can’t help it. Yesterday, while watching the NFL playoffs, I saw a spot from an advertiser who’s both tuned into their customers’ greatest concerns and has the fortitude to do something about it.

The Hyundai Motor Company is the world’s 5th largest automaker (Wikipedia). The Company reached this lofty position on the strength of a single marketing idea - a 10 year warranty. At the time, the Company had a poor reputation for quality and customers stayed away.

Playing To Win

But with this ‘promise’ to their customers, they took a leadership position on the question of quality.  When they announced the program, and for years after, Hyundai was the only auto company willing to back its cars with such a security blanket.

Hyundai went from irrelevant in the marketplace to a big player. Quite simply, they bet the ranch by building the entire company around this single idea. One that answered the biggest question on the minds of potential customers: Hyundai’s quality.

They were already cheaper than their rivals, but they knew it wasn’t enough. They had to vividly demonstrate their answer to the quality question in order to give consumers ‘permission‘ to buy their vehicles.

It worked big time. Now they’re trying to do it again. While much of the auto industry is fighting for survival, Hyundai is playing to win.

Hyundai’s new program - Hyundai Assurance - allows customers to return their vehicle and walk away from their loan or lease if they lose their income within 12 months of purchase.

It Takes Guts

Hyundai’s main customers are those for whom losing their jobs is a very real concern. With this program, they’re demonstrating that they understand their customer and are willing to really do something to address their concerns.  Once again, they’re trying to give people the permission they need to buy a new Hyundai vehicle.

The idea is simple - Answer the biggest question on consumers’ minds right now: “How can I responsibly buy a new car in this economy?”

They’re placing another big bet. We’ll see if it works, but boy does that take guts.  And it’s the single best example of how you can rally your entire company around your customers’ biggest concerns. If you think about it, It’s just knowing what your customer needs and giving it to them. Marketing 101. But they’re really walking the walk aren’t they?

What is the biggest question/concern on your customers’ and prospects’ minds right now? Do you have the sensitivity to tune in? And do you have the courage to do what you need to do to respond?

Or will your competitors get there first?

Posted by: Steve Banis