There’s been a lot of talk about where companies are spending their marketing budgets lately.
As many market research companies are reporting, many businesses are moving their marketing dollars from traditional media to new media marketing channels in an effort to keep up with their competitors and reach their customers wherever they are.
However, in an effort to increase sales of their products, businesses shouldn’t overlook one of the most important things of all: the product.
I know that you have heard this before, but it is worth repeating.
One of the best ways to increase sales is to make a better product.
A better product fulfills the needs of your customers better than your competitors’ products do, at a price that delivers value.
Product Quality in the Mad Men Era
David Ogilvy wrote about the need to deliver a quality product in his book, “Confessions of an Advertising Man” (affiliate link.)
In the book, Ogilvy writes, “Advertising agencies make convenient scapegoats. It is easier to fire your agency than to admit to your stockholders that there is something wrong with your product or your management.”
Ogilvy tried to avoid taking on clients with products that he wasn’t proud to advertise. He also stayed away from products whose sales had decreased over an extended period of time, as it was usually an indication of an intrinsic weakness in the product or incompetent management. He would even resign accounts if he lost confidence in the product.
However, the most persuasive argument that he makes for having a quality product is in the section where he addresses selling an inferior product to customers. In this section, he mentions that if he really tried hard enough, he could write an advertisement that could get consumers to buy an inferior product, “but only once.”
Ogilvy goes on to quote Howard Morgens as saying, “The quickest way to kill a brand that is off in quality is to promote it aggressively. People find out about its poor quality just that much more quickly.”
And, remember, the first edition of this book was written in 1963.
Product Quality in the Twenty-First Century
The advice that David Ogilvy gave in “Confessions of an Advertising Man” is still sound advice, today.
However, in 2011 and beyond, the need for a quality product is even more important.
Not only is there more competition in an increasingly global marketplace, but there are also more ways for people to find out about your product.
More than likely, if your product is good, your customers will let the world know about it via the Web. On the other hand, if you have an inferior product, they will also let people know about that.
So before you go chasing the next big thing in marketing, or put the blame on your marketing and sales teams for declining sales, take a moment to reevaluate your product and make adjustments accordingly.
As an added benefit, when you can deliver a better product, you give your marketing and sales teams something to talk about the next time they interact with your customers.