We’ve been learning a lot in both strategy and marketing classes about how adjusting your perspective can yield insights into how you can market products in new ways. Product centred business mentality – where products are designed with the producers’ tastes or perceptions in mind – hardly ever yields great returns. I’ve posted below about the dangers of marketing, but in an example of great marketing thinking, customer focus and diligent research could help get electric cars ‘off the ground’.
Electric cars are currently bought by the “affluent, environmentally conscious, or technically enamored”. McKinsey suggests that electric car makers could widen their market by focusing on the trips that drivers actually take. Different trips, say commuting as opposed to driving around town, call for different battery requirements.
“The optimal battery size required for a plug-in hybrid driven around town is one-quarter that required by a sales rep.”
This changes the economics of the electric car market. You can’t please everybody but many electric carmakers are trying to do just that. McKinsey argues that by segmenting their market in terms of the types of trips they make instead of the usual things (whether they are environmentally conscious, into new technology) carmakers could sell electric cars to more of us.
Clearly there are some problems with this – no one only takes one sort of trip. So they’re still restricting themselves to people who can afford more than one sort of car, and are happy to sacrifice some convenience. Still, it’s good to see the thinking around environmental technology is broadening into some hard marketing thinking.