Marketing Innovation II

I had to pick up my wife’s Mercedes which had been serviced in part of the same Penske Auto Group where I buy my Bentleys. (Bentley picks up and delivers, but don’t get me started.) As I drove away, the oil light started shouting at me, so I turned around.The service manager was embarrassed, immediately took me to the loaner car office, promised me they would fix the issue and then detail the car for free, and apologized again.

Okay, that’s fine, mistakes happen.Mercedes promises customers a Mercedes loaner. I’m chatting with the woman filling out my forms and casually ask who the new Mercedes general manager is, since I’ve not met him and I thought I’d go introduce myself. She told me she wasn’t sure, since she was actually an Enterprise Rental Car employee.

Okay, so I know I’ve got something good going here.

It turns out that Mercedes outsources its loaner operation, which is easier for them than maintaining a loaner fleet, washing them, administering the insurance, and so on. However, they promise you a Mercedes loaner. So, guess what? Enterprise bid on the contract and went out and bought a slew of Mercedes! My loaner is in excellent condition, has only 3,000 miles on it, and is by no means a bottom-end vehicle.

Enterprise passed Hertz as the largest rental car company some time ago, after originating local rental outlets in towns and delivering rental cars to the customer. (It was founded by an ex-Navy pilot who flew off the Enterprise aircraft carrier.)

Innovation upon innovation. Everybody wins in this transaction. What are you doing to aggressively capture opportunity?Innovation, as I wrote in my very first book, The Innovation Formula, in 1988 (with Mike Robert), is “applied creativity.” When you are you going to start applying yourself?

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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