An electric automaker sells a million units but is valued at a trillion USD. Another electric automaker displays one prototype for years and gets valued at close to USD 15 billion. Yet another made claims of rolling out electric trucks for five years and was valued more than Ford before the CEO was caught for lying about all aspects of the business. Lastly, an automaker collects thousands of bookings for its electric scooter, which it is stuttering to deliver, while it starts teasing electric cars!
Welcome to future-mobility marketing! Where Twitter-happy CEOs are the product, social media posts are the primary marketplace and the metaverse is the battleground. Ever since Tesla launched a digital device in the form of a car 10 years ago, the automobile world has gone ‘soft’. And valuations have gone virtual!
Tesla did eventually deliver, but gone are the days when hard-nosed investors took time in evaluating your on-ground performance before deciding your stock-price. The automaker had to prove the product’s performance and meet its core commitments to customers over time to be termed a ‘bluechip’. That was the legacy way. Today, a concept vehicle combined with virtual presentations and Twitter storms are the formula to become a ‘unicorn’ at the least!
If born in this age, John DeLorean would have been a very happy man, showcasing the DMC2 around the world increasing his company’s valuation so that he would never have to peddle cocaine!
Ideas are surely the most powerful ingredient in progress, but they bring positive change only when implemented on ground. There is a basic difference between hope and hype!
Till the time the automobile is a physical form that promises certain performance, the success of the automaker lies in delivering that promise consistently over time… physically. It still must be built properly, perform reliably and be taken care of smoothly. Tweets, presentations, statements and apps are merely the ecosystem around the core physical machine. If they become the product itself, then bubbles are being created. And all bubbles burst!
Future-mobility cannot wish away this bit of ‘legacy’. And neither can the fundamental tenets of automotive marketing change. The tools and interfaces can surely be new, but purpose remains the same. And today’s marketer must remember that. Till the time teleportation becomes a reality and Scotty beams us all up, delivering the basics right, in composite, rubber and glass will still be fundamental to true customer valuation!