Monday, August 20, 2007

Engineers vs. Marketers

The auto industry has a long history as an engineer's domain; the engineer who creates a repeatable, sustainable product wins.

Today, it's a marketing game. People want a ride that's customized, personalized and uniquely them. To consumers, 'repeatable' is vanilla. Solid engineering is the price of entry. Generation X and Y don't typically care how it's made or how it works. They just want it to work, to their preferences, right now. They've grown up in a world of personalization. Companies that adapt to their needs will win. Starbucks. Nike. Coke. Apple. Toyota's EVP Jim Lentz talked about this at a conference in Traverse City a few weeks back.

Carmakers are scrambling to customize their approach to this new brand of consumers. That's a tough task in an industry rooted in mass production and mass marketing.

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