The Psychology of Gap Marketing

Gap Marketing. What. The. Heck.

Gap Marketing is the idea that, when you’ve done everything you can to cover the large target audiences, there are still small gaps to fill.

Gap marketing is laptop stickers, teeshirts, even designating wifi network IDs that push the brand.

Gap marketing is finding interesting applications for a product, service or brand outside of the norm.

Gap marketing targets those areas that aren’t covered by targetted advertising buys, radio and television spots, or sponsorship events.

It’s the understanding that not everyone really needs to do their own billing, but Freshbooks (aff) makes a nice tee-shirt.

Gap marketing is understanding that AOL might suck as a company, but Frank Gruber, Christina Warren and Grant Robertson are loads of fun to hang out with.

Gap marketing.

At senior levels of marketing departments, ROI and P&L are the buzzwords. How much Return on Investment will this initiative net. How does an event effect our Profit and Loss sheets.

While always important, gap marketing humanizes a company or a brand in a way that an ad buy cannot. It makes a brand more approachable.

When you’re running a business, the most surefire way to increase sales is to make your customers feel like they know you, your company and your brand. Sure, you might make a sale otherwise, but making the customer feel like they have something no one else has will ensure a brand loyalty. Hey, I know those guys.

Last week, I spent the day at Ford Motor Company. Going into the day, I was not a Ford fan. They were yet another big company with expensive products. Worse yet, they have a history of failure. Does Found on Road Dead ring a bell with anyone?

Spending the day on campus allowed me an insight into a brand that I felt like no one else had. Will I ever be bought and paid for? Not on your life. Do I have a personal identification with Ford now? Hell yes.

You see, Ford engaged in gap marketing. I’m sure no one in their marketing department realized it was called that. Heck, I didn’t before I began this post. Yet they did. Although the day was filled with many typical faces in the automotive press, they brought a gap audience in as well with various bloggers from all walks of life. We weren’t auto bloggers. We weren’t Ford connoisseurs. We were normal people given an opportunity to own something, though small, that made us feel special and important to the big company.

Gap marketing.

Ford EcoBoost Cuts CO2 Emissions by 15%, Improves Gas Mileage

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend the day at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, MI checking out the new technologies, green and otherwise, for their new 2009 model year.

One of the key green technologies that was on display was the EcoBoost engine.

By Ford claims, the EcoBoost engine reduces CO2 emissions by 15% while improving highway gas mileage by 2mpg without reducing power.

In fact, the Lincoln MKS will have a 340 horsepower engine behind it while using the new technology. Ford boasts v8 power and torque with V6 fuel efficiency.

From my conversations with hybrid owners, one of the main complaints is the sometimes atrocious power and mileage associated. As in software development, a great product is the kind of product that does its job and gets out of the way of its users. If you spend time dealing with the hybridness of a hybrid without enjoying your driving experience in the short and long term, then it’s a failure of product development.

Though Ford has taken significant steps to improve their Hybrid offering, EcoBoost provides a concept and solution that takes environmentally conscious and fun to the next level.

When I say fun, I really do mean fun.

As with almost all of the 2009 model year cars, I had the chance to drive the MKS out on the track. It is a luxury vehicle by all accounts as the successor to the famous Lincoln Towncar. Comfortable inside with seat coolers and a sleek luxury sedan appearance on the outside, I had no idea I was driving an environmentally friendly car while I was behind the wheel. The product got out of my way, and let me enjoy the experience.

Ecoboost Engine

Ford on the Environment

Ford has gone to great lengths in other areas to be more environmentally sound as well.

  • Seats in the new Ford Flex and other vehicles made of all organic compounds,
  • Four models of hybrids: Mercury Mariner, Ford Escape, Ford Focus and Ford Flex,
  • Use of Coconut, sugar cane, soy and other organic resins and compounds in areas of vehicles, including radiator heat shields,
  • Optimization of fuel systems to allow all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury to run on regular unleaded fuel, as opposed to premium octane,
  • Ongoing R&D into hydrogen-powered fuel cells

Mustang Bullitt (or, some good things come in non-environmental packages)

Ford Mustang Bullitt

With all that being said, my favorite vehicle at the track was the limited edition 2009 Ford Mustang Bullitt (yes, inspired by the movie) which has no trappings of being an environmentally conscious vehicle, but is oh so sexy with it’s brushed aluminum interior, and smooth 5-speed transmission. And I want. :)

August Travels

Crazy August. The only good part is that I get to escape the crazy heat of the mid-atlantic for a good portion of the month. And I don’t really mind travelling.

Here’s the rundown. Time will be limited but if you’re around, give me a shout. Would love to grab a beer, catch up if we’ve met, get acquainted if we haven’t.

  • August 5-6: Detroit, MI – Ford Motor Company tour and blogger outreach.
  • August 12-15: Boston, Mass. – Working vacation to see the Red Sox and meet up with some of the local social media heads. There’s a party Thursday night thats open if you RSVP. Or maybe we grab coffee?
  • August 15-17: San Francisco, CA – WordCamp SF. I’ve been there for two years straight and this year isn’t going to be different. Also speaking at the event on the issue of Discoverability.
  • August 24-26: Boulder, CO – Making a brief stint over to the DNC festivities. Otherwise, hanging with the Lijit folks.

Give me a shout if our schedules might line up.

Green Comes to

Next week is a very special week here at We are going to have a very heavy emphasis on “green” technology and all the major verticals will be contributing in one way or another.

Energy costs are sky high, Bush is badgering Congress to lift the ban on off-shore drilling, and computer manufacturers are bandying around trying to create the most energy efficient server – something I’m very interested in discussing with manufacturers, I might add.

There are plenty of energy alternatives to be had, from solar to nuclear to conventional oil, should the supply permit it. Our cars can be used less by telecommuting. We can all be smarter about the way we live our lives.

Our focus is, obviously, slanted toward technology and so we want to try to find the best ways to use the technology available to save the resources we have, keep costs down and maybe, increase the quality of life for all of us.

Next week, I’ll be making a brief trip to Dearborn, MI to visit Ford and see their next line new technologies for the new line of cars. I’ll be paying close attention to the technologies surrounding Hybrid vehicles, etc. Look for reports here.