CONSULTANT SAYS A LITTLE BIT OF TLC CAN SPARK SALES

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Want to improve your automotive marketing skills? Try loving your customers a little better.

That's the advice from James Rosenfield, a San Diego marketing consultant. "The problem with some automakers," he declares, "is they have too many car guys who love cars but hate customers."

Rosenfield critiqued the automotive industry in a speech during the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit seminar March 4. He says automakers could learn a lot from companies that use world-class marketing techniques, such as Ritz-Carlton hotels and Publishers Clearinghouse, because of their attentiveness to customer service and marketing know-how.

What about the proliferation of lifestyle promotions and event sponsorships among automakers? That's fine, Rosenfield believes. But he says it takes more than satisfied customers to boost loyalty. "Customer satisfaction is not a predictor of customer retention," he says. These days, he says, customers must be very satisfied or enthused to stick with a brand.

Rosenfield criticizes automotive marketers for using such terms as "conquest markets" or "conquest buyers."

"It's as if it were a hostile territory waiting to be plundered," he says. "You

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