To stage its comeback, Nissan marketers say they are building on an integrated marketing campaign that relies less on a traditional media mix dominated by TV and more on targeted print and Internet campaigns.
Mark Perry, category marketing manager for Nissan cars, says the company will dedicate about 16 percent more to print, primarily lifestyle publications. 'With the absolute clutter in TV, it's hard to get your message across,' he says. 'We're directing people back to print and the Web.'
Perry says Nissan learned that lesson last year after a successful print campaign for the Maxima targeting 45-year-old professional managers earning upwards of $80,000 a year. 'We went for publications attractive to that segment,' he said. 'We targeted magazines like Forbes, Fortune and Business Week.' Maxima sales were up 15 percent last year over 1998.
To attract younger buyers to the redesigned 2000 Sentra, Nissan will use a similar targeted approach by advertising in lifestyle magazines such as Glamour, Rolling Stone, Self, Details, People and O (Oprah Winfrey's latest offering). As part of that effort, Nissan hopes to push the average age of a Sentra buyer down to 32 to 35, from 43 today.
The automaker also is taking its product message to theaters, auto shows and entertainment venues. This quarter, product teams are hitting 11 major markets to tout Sentra among younger prospects. Staffers give out CDs that play an eclectic mix of music when used in a CD player, and give product information about the car when inserted into a computer.
Says Perry: 'We're going to give our friends at Toyota and Honda a run for the money.'