Thursday, April 15, 2004

Let's talk a little bit more about Maybach

Maybach is the ultra-premium Mercedes Benz. It is a handmade automobile that marries handcrafted components and exteriors to state-of-the-art technologies. The vehicle costs in the neighborhood of $385,000.00, so it is certainly not for everyone; it is a rolling status symbol.

What interests me is the language used on the Maybach site. Consider these:

- "Maybach Relationship Manager" Not a salesperson, but a relationship manager. Makes it sound like an owner is building a relationship, not just buying a car. The last person you bought a car from . . . realtionship manager or salesperson? I'd be willing to bet that Maybach owners receive frequent calls from their Relationship Managers; calls simply checking in, reminding them about oil changes, etc. How hard would it be for your Ford dealership to do that?

- "Locate a Studio" Ok, I was impressed with this link until I clicked through and saw that it said "Locate a Dealer." They should have stuck with the "studio" concept and used words like "curator," "display," and "exhibit."

Here is my favorite list of words on the site:

"Diversity of Styles"
"Abstract Forms"
"Avant Garde"
"de Riguer"
"Art Nouveau"

That list is a far cry from "Built Ford Tough." The company that talks about style and art winds up with a car that embodies both, while Ford winds up with solidly-built (and solid looking) cars and trucks (as Seth Godin points out in Free Prize Inside: "Apple doesn't talk about its products with the same words that Dell uses. Apple talks about user experiences and sexiness. Dell talks about speed and cost. The products they create reflect the words they use.")

Yes, this is a Daimler-Chrysler product. It doesn't seem like my Jeep dealer (and certainly not the Jeep website) have learned anything about marketing a high-end product from a brand that they already own. Oh well.

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