Why do products outweigh promotion?

Much too often advertisers/marketers feel that with a sound advertising/marketing strategy, consumers will always embrace whatever products/services that are directed at them.  According to John Dodds, a prominent blogger, this is not the case.  He makes the case why products trump promotions.

My favorite quote from that article is:

Products are what customers want.

Promotion is what retailers want.” 

Does that sound familiar? A good example of this is in the automotive industry.  There is a never-ending battle between the Retailers and the Manufacturers.  The manufacturer has a certain marketing strategy that is long-term and brand building, while the retailer constantly has the short-term view to maximize sales and minimize inventory.  The retailer wants sales incentives in order to have compelling sales/lease offers, while the manufacturer tries to wean itself off these incentives and sell the product by its merits, while enhancing its brand equity and brand awareness.    

Meanwhile customers are caught in the middle.  They want intelligently designed vehicles to meet/enhance their lifestyle and needs, as well as exemplary dealer service to maintain and repair their vehicles. Price is certainly important, but vehicles that fit their lifestyles and needs are even more important.  If price was merely enough to entice customers, then the product/service will become commoditized.  Do retailers necessarily want superior products? Yes, but in their view, a bigger promotion package is even better.  Therefore, without a superior product/service, promotion is merely a tool to commoditize a product/service.

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