Exams can be fun too!? (This is about cars, I promise)
I recently had one of those 'light bulb' moments which ended up with me using my car knowledge in a university exam. It was a gamble, if I'm honest but at least it did pay off!
Exams- we've all been there done that at some point in school, university or in the workplace. I can safely that they are a bore and a pain for most. I say most because I used to know a chap who's hobby was 'studying' so I assumed giving exams was also part of his hobby!
This past year, I have been studying towards a bachelor of health science and a bachelor of commerce degree. Now, it isn't hard to see that commerce is intertwined in the motoring industry but one can't really say that cars could solve the world's major public health issues. Yes you guessed right, I used my car knowledge to examine parts of businesses rather than to solve the world's health issues.
The scene was set, I was sitting in an exam hall, the invigilators were walking around with their gaze focused on some of the suspicious students. I was sitting in my seat and having finished the first question confidently (it was only a 2 question exam), I swiftly turned the page to reveal the second question which was on how firms use certain aspects like marketing to break down their target market. The example we were taught in class and "supposed" to use in the exam was how particular companies market potato products. Fresh, frozen, wedges, french fries, peeled and non-peeled potatoes. This example fit the bill perfectly but explaining the so called complexities of the different ways to serve up potatoes didn't exactly catch my fancy. Not that I have anything against this delicious vegetable but I really wasn't too keen to explain to the examiner why McCain have perfected market segmentation. I then had an a-ha moment which was possibly helped by the fact that Take on Me was playing on the radio earlier in the day.
Ever since I was a child I have been constantly learning about cars, I have read reviews, price comparisons and every possible type of document to do with motoring. All of this has helped me gather a wealth of knowledge I have today but unlike 'quick maths', there aren't many everyday uses for this type of knowledge. Coming back to the exam, I had a 'ding' moment. Like the kind they show in the movies where a light bulb appears over the person's head. I thought, why not use a car manufacturer as my example which meant I could finally put my car knowledge to the test, literally!
The only issue was that which one do I use, there are so many that cater to various segments of the market so I went through some in my head- possibly Toyota, definitely not Ferrari but then it struck me, why not Mercedes Benz! Merc are one of the oldest companies in the business so after their 150+ years of existence one can't really say they don't know what they are doing. That is point A, point B is that they are also German which means that every move they make is calculated and reviewed before it is executed. Right, so the first step is done, Mercedes Benz in place of McCain.
Once I had settled on which manufacturer I would be using, I then used all the planning space in my question paper to write down all the different models that are currently sold by Merc, which was about 25 not including the AMG models. So Mercedes currently sell at least 25 models in various different categories yet they have still managed to maintain their reputation.
I then went through this list and further selected a few models to use as examples. I eventually narrowed in on the CLA sedan, C-class sedan, S-class sedan and the GLC. So these cars will take the place of fresh, frozen, peeled and unpeeled potatoes.
So the Mercedes CLA-class sedan, for starters I pointed out that its price is lower than that of the C class but higher than that of the hatchbacks in the Merc range which must mean it has been strategically placed between the two. While the C-class isn't really viewed as a young executives car and the A class is not an executive car at all. Here's where the CLA comes in, it is the executive sedan for the young business person or the young couple. It is for people who wear suits and dresses to work but when the weekend comes, they find themselves at the local golf club or cafe.
The C-class is one of Merc's most popular cars, they are everywhere and it's not difficult to spot the various generations. The C-class has almost become the quintessential luxury sedan for many categories of people including but not limited to retired couples, wealthy individuals and families both young and old. It is loved by all and that is reflected in its global popularity. Yet again, the C-class is great for inner city driving and taking the kids to various extracurricular activities but it is also at home in the parking lot of the local golf course!
However, if you are a wealthy individual or family who prefer to reside in a more rural setting, well fear not because Merc have got you covered. They have the GLC luxury SUV for you, it can be used to drive to work but it is also well adapted to carrying trail bikes and canoes through country roads. This car caters to customers who value the great outdoors and feel the need to explore it! This is another sub $100k offering from Merc to go along with the other two sedan I mentioned earlier. It is clear to see that Merc have this sub 100k category covered very well with the likes of the A,B,C, CLA, GLC and the GLA all being offered within this price range.
But what if, you want something even more premium. Something that allows you to put your feet up while being chaffeured to a meeting, yet again Mercedes have a car for you.
Behold the S-class sedan. The ultimate symbol of luxury in the Mercedes range. The S class is aimed at very wealthy people who need a car that is approved of by their affluent friends. It is a car that allows you to hire a chaffeur to drive you around in it.
What I've been trying to say so far is that Mercedes have used factors like geographical location, customer behaviour and income to design a car for almost every luxury car category out there. This means that they have successfully segmented their customers according to their various needs and wants. What amazes me is that everywhere I have been in the world, Mercedes' cars have been there too. The brand has a certain universal appeal which means their cars can be found in places right from the boroughs of Lower Manhattan to the streets of Kampala! I closed the essay by saying that, the above points make me it reasonable to say that Mercedes Benz have segmented their customers perfectly!
Using my car knowledge in an exam scenario was one of the weirdest things I've done but it felt oddly satisfying and in the end I was all the better for going down the road less traveled!
Thanks for reading!
All pictures belong to their rightful owners and I mean no malice by using them here.
Words by Matthew D'souza