Vice president, advertising and corporate marketing,
From an operational sense, it's the challenge of understanding how to engage consumers as a result of the changing landscape. We used to push. Now they're totally in control. We need to learn more about how people shop, how to put all this together. What do you do to reach consumers? This year will be the year that we know a lot less about what's going on. It had been happening incrementally. It is not just the Web that is driving this. The knowledge based on past practices will be outdated.
Vice president and group executive, GM North America vehicle sales, service and marketing,
With technology such as the Web, we're seeing different ways to advertise to the customer. We will see some shifting of advertising from mass media such as TV. We will still do a lot of TV, but there are more cutting-edge ways to talk to customers one on one, and you will see a lot of that.
Corporate advertising manager, Ford Motor Co.
With the Internet, people's lives being busy and so many different media, getting through is a big one. Number two is what your message is. It can't be the traditional $1,000 off and 2.9 percent financing. It has to hit home with people in order to connect with them. Our next major corporate advertising event will be Earth Day in April. You have to have to have those big events.
Senior vice president and general manager, automotive operations, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.
The biggest challenge will be costs. Marketing costs will have to be value-engineered just like we did with product. On the Celica, we took 22 percent out of the car. But you just don't take cost out, you make it better and for less money.
Executive vice president, J. Walter Thompson
The biggest challenge we will face in 2000 and beyond will be to provide our clients with total communications solutions. Historic methods of 'filling pages and buying spots' just aren't going to work as they have previously. We have an ever-growing proliferation of media choices, advances in technology, and increased competition for consumers' attention.
Corporate advertising manager, Nissan North America Inc.
The biggest challenge is making sure what we do on the Internet is integrated with our other media, making sure that we don't have a disconnect with TV, print, etc. The Internet is like TV and radio were 50 to 60 years ago. When I click on, I do not want a disconnect. I want it to match and expand that knowledge that I already have about Nissan.
Regardless of industry, business leaders will be challenged with trying to understand the new business model and its implications as it relates to customers, value and competition. We're on the threshold of a new era that will force us to question the marketing concepts, resources and methods we've been committed to in the past.
Vice president of corporate relations and diversity, General Motors
If you look at the demographics of our customer base, it's changing and changing very rapidly as income levels in particular minority populations increase. The buying capability and buying habits of those populations suggest to us that we have an emerging market right here in the United States. We need to be foremost on their mind at the time of a purchase decision. We need to reach out to those minority communities a lot more than we have in the past.
Diversity manager, western region, General Motors
There are so many choices for the public to make. We have to make sure the public realizes that we have exciting products. Getting people to drive our products becomes more challenging.
I've been on the Internet since '94. I'm an early adapter. I do not subscribe to newspapers or magazines anymore. People don't need to listen to or read things they don't want to anymore.
Director of marketing, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc.
As we're starting to grow awareness for the brand at a time when media proliferation is increasing exponentially, how do we figure out the best bang for the buck while balancing conquest and loyalty programs with more people using nontraditional media?
General marketing manager, Chevrolet
I think the greatest challenge will be not losing your way. There will be many ways to research and get information out of brands with the Internet and the explosion of that. Understand you still need a great brand promise that needs to be strongly considered and communicated out there. Be accessible with the information that you have out there on the Internet.
Brand manager, Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac has a very large job to do in attracting younger buyers. The division's average age is 62. The results we've seen with Escalade is an average age of 51. To go from 62 to 51 in a year is really big news, a big jump for us.
We need to be relevant to 16- to-18 year-olds, too, who say someday they want to own a Cadillac. That's why vehicles such as the Escalade are important to our lineup - they're a way to grow buyers and move them up.
National advertising manager, American Suzuki Motor Corp.
Certainly the category that we are in - the small SUV category - there are more entries coming in. Competition doesn't stand still. We're going to have to address that with marketing initiatives and with new products if we expect to grow to 100,000 units. And certainly for us the challenge is to build a stronger brand image. You have a lot of different ways to market your product. You have to figure out what the best strategy is for your specific product and company. Certainly one of the things that Suzuki is trying to figure out is the Internet and how to set up initiatives for that.
President, Jaguar Cars North America
The company is growing up. During 1992, Jaguar sold 20,000 cars worldwide. In 2004 we expect to sell 200,000. The challenge is to be able to handle the growth and to continue to do the things we've done. We plan to sell over 40,000 in the U.S. this year and 80,000 in the U.S. by 2003. The task is to keep this momentum going.
Gian Luigi Longinotti Buitoni
CEO, Ferrari North America Inc.
When we bring Maserati back to the United States, we will be more aggressive from a marketing point of view. We will probably do a lot of event marketing. We're working on a strategy now. It's always a challenge to relaunch a brand in America. We will speak about Maserati on the Ferrari site. We reach 1 billion people around the world. The Internet is very important. We get more than 2 million hits daily. We need to bring to our customers the experience. We're not at the level where you can drive our cars on the Internet, but that's what we want to do.