The Smell Of Desperation

I wouldn’t know a Nelly song from any other hip-hop song out there, but Google tells me that Nelly has a song called “Never Let ’em See You Sweat.”

Right on, dude.

That’s good advice not just for whatever Nelly’s referring to (and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know), but it’s great advice for marketers.  Never let your competition see you sweat. Marketing sweat produces something called the “smell of desperation.” Like vultures descending on road kill, the smell of desperation will lure your competitors to strike while you’re down.

Why am I telling you this? The marketing news today brought this tidbit from Brandweek:

“In an effort to win back the trust of American consumers, General Motors has started offering a 60-day “Satisfaction Guarantee” to eligible buyers of new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”

GM is sweating. Why else would it — or any other firm — feel the need to offer a satisfaction guarantee after being in business for…forever?

A move like this says “we’re desperate for sales” or “don’t listen to those dissatisfied customers who are mouthing off about us.”

I worked for a firm that offered a “money-back guarantee.”  A few dissatisfied clients (who had been clients for years) asked for their money back. I don’t think they got it — I think they were told the program was only for new clients. And from what the salespeople told me, not one new customer mentioned the program as a factor in deciding to do business with the firm.

That won’t be the case with GM, however. ‘Cuz I know one thing: I’ll be driving around in a new Cadillac Escalade (for the next 59 days, that is).

What’s sad about this news is that approaches like GM’s never succeed at “winning back the trust of conusmers.” Contractual details and promotions don’t win back trust. Here’s a novel idea, GM: How about making better cars? How about making a better product for a lower price than your competitors sell their product for? How about making the buying and ownership experience better?

Some marketers never learn. GM is so not on the marketing tea party express.

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