Goodyear is gearing up to reach pickup and sport-utility vehicle owners with an aggressive marketing campaign that will even reach out to NASCAR fans.
The Akron tire maker learned a major lesson from the success of its Assurance brand launch: Supporting a new product line with an ad campaign executed across all communication channels and delivering the goods promised by the ads were keys to successful selling, said Todd Hershberger, marketing manager for light trucks. That, he added, is why Goodyear is rolling out another heavy marketing campaign behind its new Wrangler and Fortera tires with SilentArmor technology.
Not resting on its laurels, Goodyear is developing ads for these tires for TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and even its blimp fleet, according to Jeanne Sherman, director of new products for North America. Goodyear's first wave of ads rolled out in February in trade publications, and consumer ads will follow during the second and third quarters when the products begin hitting the market.
``This is the most sophisticated communication plan that Goodyear has ever done,'' Ms. Sherman said.
Just as consumer tastes have changed when it comes to media selections-such as cable television, DirecTV, the Internet-so Goodyear must work even harder to communicate its product messages to a specific person, she said-in this case, the pickup and SUV owner.
Demographics show that certain venues-such as NASCAR races-are more important in terms of drawing truck owners, she said. In fact, NASCAR fans are 53 percent more likely to own a pickup truck, Mr. Hershberger noted.
Hence, Goodyear, the sole tire supplier to NASCAR, launched ads featuring the new Fortera and Wrangler at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. Jumbotrons at the Daytona International Speedway featured customized ad spots for that target audience, Ms. Sherman explained.
``We race because Goodyear has a history with NASCAR, but we also race because we learn from racing,'' she said, hinting at the messages those ads will convey. ``What we learn on the track doesn't stay on the track.''
Goodyear also sponsored a ``Legends of Daytona'' display at this year's race and has other ideas that will evolve as NASCAR's season progresses, but Ms. Sherman said she couldn't discuss those ideas at this time.
Just like its campaign for Assurance, Goodyear will show in TV commercials the Wrangler and Fortera tires performing and explain what makes them tough and rugged, yet quiet and smooth, she said. The commercials will show and explain SilentArmor technology and the Kevlar layer built into the tires. The tagline of ``On the Wings of Goodyear'' will remain, she said, adding that what Goodyear has changed is not the tagline but how it speaks to consumers.
Dealers will receive templates from Goodyear for SilentArmor promotions through direct mail, radio tags and newspaper ads, she added.
In the print sector, Goodyear SilentArmor ads will run in consumer publications such as USA Today, Time and Sporting News, among others. As for the Internet, Ms. Sherman said the company is in the process of inking contracts for banner ad placements with specific content explaining Goodyear's products. She declined to comment further.
Goodyear also is investing heavily in training sales associates on SilentArmor technology and its features just as it did last year for Assurance, she said. Dealers can have their salespeople take an on-site seminar, an online course or read up on a self-training booklet on the SilentArmor products, then call in and take a test on the information. Salespeople passing the test receive certification to sell SilentArmor.
So far, Goodyear is planning on-site sales training in 141 cities this year, according to Mr. Hershberger.
After the Assurance launch, Ms. Sherman said 9,200 dealership associates were trained for that tire line, far exceeding Goodyear's goal of 3,000, and the tire maker has high expectations for its SilentArmor training.