NASHVILLE -- The launch of the Nissan Versa Note this month will take Nissan North America into some unfamiliar marketing waters. The company wants the redesigned hatchback to capture an older demographic than the Versa customers who are already buying the sedan version.
The sedan is aimed at entry-level buyers. The Note will look for more affluent buyers with a yen for outdoor activity, says Julie Lynch, Nissan's senior marketing manager for the model.
The target market will be owners in their early 30s -- not the 20-somethings of the sedan -- and probably couples, but not necessarily married couples. The hatchback is not aimed at families with children.
Gear, not kids
Not that kids don't belong in the roomy back seat of the hatchback, which starts at a family-friendly $14,780, including shipping, the marketing manager clarifies. It's just that Nissan wants to pitch the Note at active-lifestyle consumers who are not restricted by family obligations, and who value the cargo space for hauling around the tools of their free-time, such as camping gear, sports equipment, gardening supplies or music equipment.
"Our target customer is different than our current customer," Lynch says. "There's a space out there that other automakers are not going after."
Finding them also will put Nissan into some new advertising territory when the Note's national marketing launch starts in September. Marketers intend to promote the hatchback heavily on late-night TV.
Nissan has been absent from late-night spots for more than six years. Brand managers deemed the TV market not worth their while.
But that has changed, Lynch reports. The recent media chatter and publicity over the changes in late-night show hosts have raised the value of late-hour TV spots.
"We see it as a great time to capitalize on the growing viewership," she says. The late-night strategy will help "broaden our reach and appeal to our targeted customer."