TOKYO - Mazda will carefully aim its marketing message for the U.S. launch of the Mazda3 subcompact in December.
In explaining the strategy, Stephen Odell, Mazda Motor Corp. senior managing executive officer in charge of marketing, sales and customer service, cited reports that U.S. advertisers are paying premiums for fourth-quarter advertising slots.
Since Mazda holds less than 2 percent of the U.S. market, Odell says, "You could spend double your share, and you've only got a 4 percent voice. Even my math rules that one out."
Based on that insight, he says: "To me, the most efficient way to market is to get vehicles physically out to where consumers will be and start the word of mouth, which means you have to seed the message much earlier."
For the Mazda3, which replaces the Protege, that will mean "a lot of events, buzz marketing and relationship marketing," he says.
He added that the marketing plans are not final, and said he is waiting for his local marketing managers to come to him with plans.
Odell also says Mazda's "zoom-zoom" ad tag line might need some adjustment in the automaker's home market.
"What we have to be careful of here in Japan, is that 'zoom-zoom' can become sort of a generic brand, rather than model-specific," Odell says. "So I think we'll have to evolve 'zoom-zoom' in Japan. I don't mean move away from it, but play down elements of it, and lift up elements of the product."
Japanese consumers are watching three or four Mazda car advertisements, and picking up only on "zoom-zoom," not picking up on the car, Odell says. "We have to get that back in balance."