What Great Marketing Can't Do

A few weeks ago I tweeted . “No amount of great marketing can fix a broken product” and it got retweeted like crazy. As it seemed to strike a chord within some of you all I thought I’d expand on the thought.

There are many things that marketing can help your business or organisation achieve. Great marketing is the one of the raw ingredients in the fuel that makes the great businesses and organisations get to where they want to go.

But there is nothing great marketing can do if your:

Customer service is bad

I remember trying to buy my new 4GS iPhone. I tried and tried to call the local Telstra store there was no dial tone. (Yes. Really) So I thought I’d call Telstra direct and they transferred me to the store straight away and again there was no dial tone. I called Telstra again and told them that there was a problem and that I couldn’t get through. The person didn’t seem to care and said that their phone line was down. I even told them that was planning on buying a phone that day. Nope. Still didn’t really matter. No alternatives were provided. Nothing else was offered.

Here I was ready to sign over good size phone contract and they couldn’t even recommend an alternative store. I wanted a Telstra contract because their coverage is by far the best and their prices have come down. I was ready to move from Optus.

Telstra can advertise all they want with their lovely new campaign but if they can’t do the simple things why would someone believe their marketing?

Your receptionist or call centre is your organisations best relationship manager with the outside world. What are you doing to help them understand that?

Product doesn’t live up to expectations

Do you remember the ‘new coke’ It was supposed to be better. Coke’s market share had dropped to an all time low and in an effort to reverse the trend in market share Coke developed a new formula. They focus tested it and got positive response, yet there was a small 10-15% of respondents that didn’t like what Coke said they would do. What happened is history. The new Coke could never live up to the high expectations. It’s marketing could never turn this pigs ear of a product launch into a silk purse.

Treat people poorly

If you treat your supply chain badly and screw them for every penny. Coles and Woolworths here in Australia are very quickly gaining the reputation for destroying the national food basket.

Apple is also suffering the same fate. They clearly have issues with their supply chain and the word is getting out. It impacts the brand. The brand that is cool and hip is very quickly turning into being perceived by some as big brother because of issues like these.

Qantas recently had a large industrial relations battle with their unions. While they may have won the war with the union, they forgot that they are a retail business with customers. They made a bad call by treat their customers like pawns so they can win their industrial relations dispute with their workforce.

No amount of great marketing can fix a that.

The ugly truth about marketing

The truth is that great marketing cannot fix a bad business or organisation if it’s broken down or bad. Marketing is often treated like a mechanic. People think that all they have to do is haul their organisation into the marketing garage and let the marketing mechanics do the work and bring the organisation back to full functioning order.

Some businesses and organisations literally expect marketing to act like this. They expect it to recondition them from the precariously poor position they have put themselves into. Wrong. Good marketing cannot fix this. Even brilliant marketing can’t spin this away.

What examples of disconnect have you experienced in marketing?

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