How the Seinfeld Auto Reservation “Framework” is Key to Successful B2B Marketing

Calibrate your Marketing in 2020 with Marketing Model #3: How the Seinfeld Auto Reservation “Framework” is Key to Successful B2B Marketing.

Models and frameworks can help marketers and client teams organize their thinking by creating a common vocabulary and implementation longevity. The right framework can serve to vet new ideas, ensure that resources and investments remain aligned to an organization’s strategic priorities, and generally keep everyone rowing in the same direction.

– – – – – – – –

In Marketing Model #1 on Growth CMOs vs Brand CMOs here, we talked about how the Marketing function is broadly shifting from a tactical to a strategic focus. New titles like Chief Growth Officer and Chief Revenue Officer are indicative of how strategically-driven organizations are elevating their expectations of the Marketing function. In Marketing Model #2 here, our focus was on how the Design Thinking model can ensure upstream strategic rigor to reduce marketing failures.

Model #3, Seinfeld and B2B Marketing, is the simplest, yet possibly most important. Seinfeld’s frustration that a rental car agency doesn’t have the type of car he had reserved is the perfect framework for illustrating the importance of Strategic Marketing. Here’s a quick read:

“Taking” versus “Holding” the Reservation, and the Strategic Marketing Bridge

Think of “taking” the auto reservation as setting growth goals and ”holding” the reservation as determining how you will actually get there. The “hold” fills what is often a big gap between your growth intent as  defined in a Strategic Plan and your Tactical Marketing, as executed via social media, public relations, advertising, etc. A strong Strategic Marketing program serves to bridge between the two ends of the spectrum. We’ll get back to how to assess the strength of your organization’s Strategic Marketing Bridge.

There are a plethora of insightful articles on Strategic Planning, such as as HBR’s “Your Strategic Plans Probably Aren’t Strategic¹”, and “Many Strategies Fail Because They’re Not Actually Strategies.²”  Similarly, there are many on the tactical end of the spectrum such as McKinsey’s “How digital is powering the next wave of growth in key account management.³”  These articles provide important lessons learned on comprehensive strategy development and execution pitfalls.

Less well-traversed is the bridge between the two ends of the spectrum. Before you think about how much to spend on LinkedIn ads and long prior to sending your salesforce into cold-calling vertigo, assess your Strategic Marketing Bridge, the most important part of your growth plan.

¹ HBR, Graham Kenny, 4/6/18; ² HBR, Freek Vermeulen, 11/8/17, ³ McKinsey & Co, August, 2019


– – – – – – – –

“Taking” versus “Holding” the Reservation, and Brand Strategy Development

A second parallel for the Seinfeld scene is in how a company’s Brand Strategy or Value Proposition is defined and delivered upon. A marketing communications plan and the actual words you use to describe why your target customers should choose your products or services over competitors is certainly strategically important.

But the Brand Promise you’ve articulated to customers and prospects is like “taking” the reservation.   Marketing communications is just the start. Even more critical is demonstrating the value proposition, aka the “holding”. Customer Experience is the opportunity to deliver against your brand promise in every aspect of what happens after they become a customer. Consistent delivery drives customer retention. Deliberate alignment at every touchpoint drives customer relationship retention growth. Employees who understand clearly how culture and brand are tied together will know how their role impacts the customer. They then feel empowered to collaborate cross-functionally to enable Customer Experience that syncs with your brand promise. So, calibrating your whole organization to deliver consistently is the most important part of your  Value Proposition!

How do you go about building a Strategic Marketing Bridge for your growth plans and ensuring that the end- to-end customer journey is aligned to what you’ve promised in your marketing?


Contact Allison Berey to explore a Strategic Marketing Diagnostic, Brand Strategy Initiative, or Fractional CMO relationship.