Seems the good folks in Wolfsburg, Germany decided that the emissions standards for their diesel engines weren’t quite right so they fraudulently reported lower emissions and greenhouse gasses than they actually had.
They got caught and the CEO was forced to resign while the largest automobile manufacturer in Europe, VW, with over a 50% market share has just suffered the worst calamity a company can go through; loss of trust in their product.
No doubt this will have far-reaching consequences for the global automotive industry, as well as impacting the European economy, and perhaps the future of the diesel and or gasoline internal combustion engine that has been around since Karl Benz invented it back in 1897.
And it happened because VW forgot the cardinal rule of 21st-century marketing.
“Marketing is no longer just advertising or PR or promotion or even sophisticated digital marketing. If you still conflict and are uncertain about present day marketing, please realize marketing is not all communications, whether old school traditional or sophisticated digital media. But rather:
Marketing IS THE PRODUCT!
Years ago, in the boardroom of the largest family owned bowling center chain worldwide, I said, “Marketing is Everything.." I was greeted by jeers from other department heads who thought I was saying that their “spheres of influence were less relevant than mine.”
Of course, they misunderstood my words; they were, sadly, too myopic to understand that what I was saying was that “the customer sees our centers through his/her eyes...and the product is the marketing."
From the lanes, to the cleanliness of the bathroom, to the service we provide, to the quality of the food and beverage to the lighting of the parking lot, to the parking lot itself, to signage to the quality of house balls and rental shoes and to many other elements they visually and tactically perceive our quality and the value of their experience.
They do all of this processing, analyzing and concluding what our center, and their experience, is or isn't in less than a second. Yikes!
And no amount or kind of advertising or promotion will overcome a bad product. Ever. Can't fake it till you make it anymore. (See VW above!)
So the message for today is to make sure that all of the elements of your “product” are your marketing?
Start with a checklist. What are ALL of the elements of your product? Then rate them from 1 to 10 with 1 being BAD AND 10 being EXCELLENT. Then have your employees rate the elements. Now ask your customers.
No doubt, you will get a very precise feel about your product and then you can start to improve, over time, each and every element…almost assuring that your marketing will be successful!