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How to Market to People Not Like You: "Know It or Blow It" Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers by KELLY McDONALD

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Chapter 7. Deal with Naysayers: What If Your Employees or Your Core Audience Don't Like Seeing Their Product Marketed to Other Groups?

SUBARU AND DENTISTS

Subaru is an automobile company that is known for making dependable, quality, precision-engineered vehicles. They're kind of a quirky car company; their vehicles aren't necessarily the most stylish or best looking. They're not a status symbol brand. Subaru is also one of the smallest auto companies. In Canada and the United States, they don't sell millions of vehicles; they sell a few hundred thousand. Subaru just makes really good vehicles, and they last a long time. Their owners are very loyal, and many say they wouldn't drive anything else.

Subaru is a company that fully embraces the philosophy of marketing to people who are not like you. In fact, this marketing strategy helped save the company from extinction in the United States and Canada. In the early 1990s, Subaru sales plummeted and the company was on the brink of going out of business in North America. The executives were desperate to make sales. In what is now seen as a major turning point for the company, the marketing team there started analyzing all the owner data they had, poring over every single profile of a Subaru owner, trying to figure out if there was a common thread among them. What they found was astonishing— and useful. They learned that the majority of Subaru owners fell into one of five groups:

  • Engineers

  • Nurses, physical therapists, and emergency medical ...

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