Peloton Is A Classic Example: Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

A few or so ago, Peloton’s CEO sent out an email, talking about the delivery delays, their commitment to their customers, and their commitment to happiness.

Which would have been great, but in the weeks since the email came out, Peloton’s commitment to fulfilling their delivery schedules had changed.

A quick search of the Better Business Bureau site shows that Peloton has almost 1,500 complaints, almost all of them about the delivery times and the lack of satisfaction that folks are getting from their customer satisfaction efforts.

Since folks are still posting complaints about delays and people are still canceling orders due to these delays and dissatisfaction with the way that customer service is dealing with the situation, this is a classic example of a business that has is acting in an Advertising Oriented manner.

My marketing professor described it as “putting lipstick on a gorilla”, but you can call it “putting lipstick on a pig” or “polishing a turd”. They all mean the same thing.

In marketing, an Advertising Oriented organization acts like they think that they can just communicate their way out of things with no regard to whether or not they’ve actually done anything to change the underlying situation or whether or not what they are communicating is true.

A few examples of this:

  • VW and their ad campaign around “trust” while they were in the middle of dealing with the controversy around their using technology to beat emissions testing.
  • Burger King’s advertising of a Whopper as fresh and preservative free while BK didn’t have a preservative free burger, McDonald’s did.
  • Mercedes Benz running ads around their tagline “The Best or Nothing” while their owners were dealing with months long parts delays on repairs for their most popular vehicles.

Now, to the mix add Peloton.

The problem with all of these examples is that the business is communicating something that they can’t deliver or aren’t delivering. It may be aspirational or it may be BS, but either way it isn’t happening.

The best marketers are Market Oriented meaning they work hard to get the customer’s voice into the business, find out what the customer wants, and deliver it…over and over.

In the classic example of using the 3 Cs to position your business, you focus first on the customer, second on the competition, and, finally, on your business to use the things you can deliver now as the fulcrum to win people’s purchases.

With Peloton, despite their claims of investing $100 Million dollars to get their deliveries back on schedule, it is a meaningless claim because we don’t know where the money will be spent, how it fits into the context of what they have already done, and how that is going to change folks’ experience now.

From what I have seen, the $100M price tag on fixing the delivery problems is likely going to a mixture of ad spending, free months of their app experience, and, maybe, a bit to shipping solutions.

The challenge for every business during the pandemic is to deliver on their brand’s promise. And, almost every business has had their business disrupted or worse.

That part of the equation is understandable.

The difference between what is going on with millions of businesses around the world and Peloton is that most of them aren’t spending tons of money on PR and ad campaigns to tell you how things are going to get better while people’s experience with the brand is pointed towards the reality that their experience with the brand may actually be getting worse.

In other words, actions speak louder than words!

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