Is quality the enemy of marketing?

Marketing execs love product quality for good reason.  A well made product is far easier to promote than one that falls apart in a matter of minutes.  But today’s products are becoming so well made that the need to replace them is moving further into the future.  This latest recession proved the point.  People who would normally replace their cars, computers, appliances etc every few years, didn’t.  Many will have come to realize that the car they are driving doesn’t need replacing.  People are realizing that their existing product will actually last a very long time (thanks to its quality) and so many people  are simply not seeing a need to change or upgrade.  It’s for this reason that many PC makers will have heaved a huge sigh of relief when Windows 7 emerged.  While Windows 7 runs fine on older PCs, it runs much better on newer, more powerful machines.  But there is no Windows 7 for cars, or appliances.  Better gas mileage is a plus but if you have an older Honda, the cost of moving to a newer one far outways the savings on gas.  For car makers like Honda who have a good track record on product quality this creates a problem.  Their customer’s existing product is still working just fine and does 99% of what the new model does.  So how do they convince people to swap?  Indeed, should they even bother?  Of course they have to try and get people to buy their new cars but I wonder how many of the marketing execs wish that the cars on the street were a little less well made?

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