How Market Research Is Used to Increase Market Share

GMC Revamps Integrated Marketing to Improve Brand Image

red barn with hay bales and pickup
GMC Says This Ad Theme Is Old Hat. Getty Images | Hero Images

GMC has conveyed brand messages about the strength, dependability, and good gas mileage of the GMC line of trucks. The advertising themes have shown people hard at work in their hard-working pickup trucks.

Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing.

“We’re gonna get away from that clutter.  We’re gonna get away from claims of being the most dependable, the strongest, the most gas mileage. Frankly, that’s inherent within the GMC DNA.” 

In order to increase market share, GMC is going after a more sophisticated and discerning target market segment: Consumers who demand precision in the products they purchase. 

General Motors currently has a retail market share of about 3%, but the company wants to achieve a market share of about 4% in 5 years and 5% in 10 years.  The vehicle on which GMC's ambitions are pinned is a new ad campaign known as "Precision," which is basically an extension of the Professional Grade campaign.  

Out of the gate, the Precision marketing campaign will feature well-known athletes and then will add in craftsmen to put a different spin on the concept of precision.

The first ad features San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt. The next television commercial will feature Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors.  Subsequent television ads will feature craftsmen, such as people who make fine men’s clothing.

One of the main objectives of the new Precision ad campaign is to foster consumer differentiation of the company's line of trucks.  Aldred explained the GMC marketing strategy to Jeff Gilbert, automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News: 

“This will really sharpen in peoples minds exactly what GMC is and the fact that it is a cut above all of the mainstream competitors out there.”

What Is the Retrospective of GMC Pickup Trucks Sales?

Sales and delivery details that are used to establish market share figures are calculated by the auto manufacturers and compared across manufacturers by market research firms. Pickup truck sales are inexplicably up despite media coverage of climate change and the contribution of gasoline-powered engines to that enormous problem. Fleet sales have also increased, which is partly a reflection of overall improvements in the national economy.

Rising consumer confidence may be conditioning customers to the higher Average Transaction Prices (ATPs) of vehicles sold in 2014 and that will be sold in 2015.  The ATP rates increased roughly $34,600 due to strong sales of trucks and . According to the PIN estimates provided by J. D. Power, these ATP rates are the highest that GM has seen.  From August 2014 alone, the ATPs increased about $1,200 per unit compared, and grew by about $2,500 per unit from 2013.

Consider that 66,939 full-size pickup trucks were delivered to customers by General Motors dealers in the United States during September 2014, which was an increase of 45 percent on a year-over-year basis.

In September 2014:

  • GM sold more full-size pickup trucks than all of its competitors.
  • GM had the highest full-size pickup truck market share than all of its competitors.
  • GM grew faster than all of its competitors

With rankings like those above, does GM really need to worry about market research?  While everything seems to be aligned to power up the company's exploration of cross-overs and premium pickups, overconfidence and complacency are never a good thing in the automobile manufacturing business. GM seems to have learned this lesson well, and the General Motors’ European operations is pursuing comprehensive market research to investigate public opinion of Opel in Europe.  Behind tightly closed doors, the commissioned market research has been split across several market research firms with one company acting as the coordinating body.  It will be interesting to see how the market research firms measure current perception, reputation, and public image of the Opel brand in a number of key European markets.

Sources:

Gilbert, J. (2015, March 2).  GMC Gets Its Turn In The Spotlight. CBS Detroit

Luft, A.  (2012, September 24).  Rumormill: GM Initiates EU Market Research To Evaluate Replacing Opel With Another Brand.  GM Authority.