As GM looks for new ways to reduce expenses, it is beginning a series of marketing agency evaluations to determine which media and advertising operations can be more economically performed in-house while continuing to modernize its marketing approach.
According to a report by Ad Age, the agency evaluations will begin soon and are expected to continue into the summer of 2024.
GM is focusing on the big picture when it comes to marketing, with plans to evaluate those agencies handling large-scale customer relations, media, and advertising. A company representative noted “the primary goal is modernizing GM’s marketing approach and how we connect with customers” while confirming that local and regional-scale marketing will not come under the microscope.
Media, customer relations, and creative agencies currently working to provide marketing for GM will be examined to see if their role can be reduced or eliminated and their operations insourced instead. At least two agencies are likely involved in carrying out the evaluations for The General and providing consultation, MediaLink and marketing consultancy SnapPoint.
Reducing its reliance on outside marketers could help trim GM’s expenses given the scale of its advertising and customer relations. The automaker spends $3.24 billion annually on marketing in the U.S. and $4 billion worldwide according to 2022 data. These outlays put it in 11th place in America and 24th place in the world on the list of biggest advertisers.
GM’s advertising strategy appears to be changing sharply since Deborah Wahl left the company and her position as Chief Marketing Officer in March 2023. The automaker has already announced it will not run a Super Bowl ad, dispensing one of Wahl’s favorite marketing avenues.
New senior VP and CMO Norm de Greve appears to be steering the company’s marketing in a fresh direction after taking up the role at the end of July 2023. De Greve also has a connection with one of the agencies evaluating GM’s current marketers. He worked at digital marketing firm Digitas for 13 years, and SnapPoint, now engaged in evaluating creative agencies during the review to see which should be eliminated, is headed by former Digitas CEO Tony Weisman.
The General also just created the new executive position of Global Chief Media Officer and hired Shenan Reed to fill it. Reed is leaving a position as senior media VP at cosmetics company L’Oréal to work at the automaker and has 27 years’ experience in marketing and “business transformation.”
Wahl’s focus was on advertising EVs, the report notes, while consumer interest in electric vehicles is currently abating somewhat as gas prices come down.