Sean Howard reports on a tale of good marketing gone bad in this post. Volkswagen starts off great with a joy-ride and free movie tickets campaign for their Touareg, and ends up taking the leads generated and turning them into a hard-sell when the lead gets to the dealer. And creates negative word-of-mouth while doing it.
Sean's conclusion is so right:
"The hardest part of retail is that you can't sell your idea to corporate and be done with it. You gotta take it all the way down through a channel you may or may not control. But not fighting this fight is bad news."
-- Sean Howard, word-of-mouth consultant, on his blog Craphammer
Marketing departments are seriously challenged to manage this downstream contact, and may not really understand what even happens in the channel. It's not all the fault of sales, of course. Marketing may not have communicated effectively with the channel about what is supposed to happen. A hundred things can go wrong on a campaign of this type. But it's crucial to at least try to manage all the levers.
The role of the marketing executive is not all about tactical communication any longer -- if it ever was. If you are one, you need to start broadening your sphere of influence, and get out of the office more.