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Kumho switches gears, targets regional and local markets

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No more Bassmasters. No more X-Games. Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. has decided to focus its marketing dollars on regional and local markets.

The "umbrella" approach to marketing served its purpose, according to Mike Leverington, director of dealer programs. However, Kumho now believes working with individual dealers on a region by region, market by market basis will have more impact.

Increasing brand exposure, image ("premium" is the new Kumho buzzword) and acceptance will be a mutual plan created and implemented with each dealer's help. "It can be different things in different markets," said Leverington.

Last year, Kumho test-marketed local programs with Discount Tire Co. Inc. in Detroit, Kauffman Tire in Atlanta and AKH Inc., dba Discount Tire in Los Angeles. Newspaper ads, billboard displays and radio play promoted Kumho's "aroma" tire, the Ecsta DX. The events proved successful, and resulted in the Regional Market Development Program.

Leverington said the program will target regional and local areas where:

* Kumho has a strong retail presence.

* the markets are influenced by original equipment manufacturers and suppliers, like in Detroit and Atlanta.

* there are a lot of car registrations, like New England, New York, Los Angeles and major metropolitan markets.

Kumho will begin rolling out the program in February.

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