The Maytag Guarantee

Maytag figured something out many, many decades back. If they put a guarantee on their dishwashers and showed an idle Maytag repairman on TV (if you don’t recall, he was idle because the Maytag products never needed to be repaired), people would buy more. And we did. But not anymore.

Things are different. Industry Week’s Feb 11th, 2006 article reported Maytag’s “quality nightmare” with it’s Neptune washing machine back in 1997. Maytag suffered extremely, including a $9M loss in 2004, cited in the same article.

So what happened? Marketing has shifted, yet Maytag has not (at least not enough, yet). Great marketing used to be a powerful guarantee backed with a consistent message on TV, print, and radio. That no longer works. Today the consumer is the marketer, via reviews, blogs, and comments.

A quick search on epinions.com, and you see what consumers conclude to be the best dishwashers. Check out Cnet’s review of dishwashers, and you will see comments slowly pile up from people who are actually using the products. Tweet out “Any recommendations on a great dishwasher?” and you are likely to get consumer feedback.

The new way of marketing is simply the product itself. Your product has to be great. That doesn’t necessarily mean long lasting. Great means that your product delivers exactly on what is expected of it. If you tout long lasting… it needs to be that. If you tout best tasting… it needs to be that. If you tout most comfortable… it needs to be that.

The new way of marketing is a great product.


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