No Hassle, No Haggle Marketing

Has new media changed the advertising landscape? What are the production costs for a Super Bowl commercial? How thorough is consumer research? What’s it like to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company?

CarMax CEO Tom Folliard Jr. ’89 (pictured above) answered these questions and more during an informal visit to his alma mater this spring.

The leader of the world’s largest used car retailer shared funny anecdotes, highlighted hard facts and welcomed questions and interaction from a cohort of marketing principles students.

Highlights included: What inspired the company’s corporate color scheme? Think Swedish furniture innovator. Is there a strategy to positioning car images on the CarMax website? Face the facts. How much was spent on newspaper advertising in 2011? Nada.

The easygoing executive talked web analytics, search engine optimization, criteria for new market penetration and what it took to “build a better CarMax” after the recent recession.

Students were all ears … plus, plenty of smiles.

One take-away lesson: “Find something you really, really like to do, and then work really hard at it,” Folliard advised. “And somewhere in the middle, make sure you surround yourself with people you want to be with.” Like at CarMax, where he credits the company’s success to the commitment of its people.

It wasn’t your everyday lecture or your everyday lecturer! It was an exciting insider’s perspective on real-world marketing the students are sure to remember.

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