Steam engines, assembly line, and Model Ts: Find out how this businessman revolutionized the automotive industry! [Monday: Marketing Marvels]
Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.
A Note from Miles Everson:
How are you doing? We hope you’re ready to kickstart another awesome week.
Let’s get our dose of motivation from today’s “Marketing Marvel.” Every Monday, we talk about outstanding people in the business and marketing industries, and highlight their contributions, experiences, and insights.
Today, we’ll talk about one of the legendary industrialists in the 20th century.
Continue reading to know how this “Marvel” revolutionized the transportation industry in the US and impacted the way businesses manufacture goods, particularly automotives, nowadays.
—the process of introducing a new method, idea, product, etc.
According to Bob Casey, a former Curator of Transportation in the US, innovators change things. They take new ideas—sometimes their own, sometimes others’—and develop those ideas until they become accepted as part of daily life.
For him, innovation requires self-confidence and courage to take risks. He also says innovators should have great leadership skills and a concrete vision of what they want the future to look like.
One of the innovators that Casey truly admires?
Ford (July 30, 1863 to April 7, 1947) was an American-born Irish industrialist, business magnate, founder of The Ford Motor Company, and chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production.
He was born in Wayne County, Michigan to native Irish parents who moved to America in 1847, and was the eldest of 6 children. The family’s main source of living was the farm they settled in in Springwells Township.
As a child, Ford showed early interest in mechanics. By the time he was 12 years old, he spent most of his time at a small machine shop in Wayne County. At age 15, he developed his first steam engine.
When he reached adulthood, he became a machinist’s apprentice at the machine shop of James F. Flowers & Brothers, and at the Detroit Dry Dock Company. When he finished his apprenticeship, he spent a year setting up and repairing steam engines in southern Michigan.
In July 1891, Ford got his first job as an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit. This was where he met Thomas Edison, the inventor of the incandescent light bulb and who he considered as a lifelong friend and mentor.
Ford’s career as a builder of automobiles began in 1893 when his interest in internal combustion engines led him to construct a one-cylinder gasoline model. A later version of this model powered his first automobile, which was essentially a frame fitted with 4 bicycle wheels.
This first car, a.k.a. The Quadricycle, was completed in June 1896.
In August 1899, Ford resigned from his job at the Edison Illuminating Company and established the Detroit Automobile Company. However, his first business venture went into bankruptcy 18 months later.
Then, a month after his first business closed down, he founded his second automobile venture, The Henry Ford Company.
If there’s one thing we can learn from Ford at this point, it’s that he didn’t like wasting time. Imagine opening a new business just a month after his first one closed down… that was quick!
However, he eventually left his newly opened company due to misunderstandings with his board members. That enterprise was then renamed to The Cadillac Motor Car Company in 1902.
After a year, Ford established his third business venture: The Ford Motor Company. He and 12 of his associates invested USD 28,000 (USD 920,000 in today’s currency) to create the new enterprise.
The first car produced under the new brand was the Ford Model T. It was an improved version of The Quadricycle and equipped with a 177 cubic inch 4-cylinder engine with a top speed of around 45 miles per hour (mph).
His company gained traction and because of that, Ford introduced moving assembly belts in his plants for faster car production. He made sure his cars were affordable not only for the elites but also for the masses. By 1916, the business sold around 472,000 Ford Model Ts.
Based on this timeline, what can you learn from Ford’s career and experiences?
- Know your market.
What helped Ford become successful was establishing his company as a leader in what was then a niche market.
… and once he decided on his product, he took time understanding his customer base and looking at affordability and other things that would generate interest for his motor cars.
As a result, Ford offered consumers a product that provided a solution to a problem they didn’t even realize they had. In fact, Ford once joked:
“If I had simply asked people what they wanted, they would have asked me for faster horses!”
Lesson: Finding your niche is important. Identifying the need for your products or services and learning to listen to your target market are essential so you could focus on developing what you have to offer.
- Reputation is everything.
Ford’s assembly line method ensured the cars his company produced were identical in style, quality, and reliability. He understood the power of customer satisfaction and word of mouth, and so he strived to produce high-quality motor cars that preceded his and his company’s reputation.
His third business venture became a market leader in the automobile industry!
Lesson: Reputation is everything, so ensuring that you’re functioning at the top of your game at all times is necessary. Consistency and quality of service must remain the same across every client, customer, or business partner you work with.
- Efficiency is a must.
Ford was a huge proponent of working efficiently. Today, he is credited with the modern concept of Fordism—a system based on an efficient, standardized form of mass production.
By keeping the efficiency of his workers at a premium level, Ford realized he could achieve the maximum level of output. So, he made sure to incentivize loyalty through providing better wages to workers and implementing a reduced work week.
Lesson: Targeted, effective work beats generalized, hard work every time.
Ford’s introduction of the Ford Model T revolutionized the automotive industry and transportation industry. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations.
By creating the first automobile middle-class Americans could afford, he converted automobiles from an expensive luxury to an accessible conveyance that impacted the 20th century.
Until today, The Ford Motor Company reflects the values and principles instilled by its founder.
Get inspired with Ford’s legacy!
Know your market…
Build a good reputation…
Prioritize working efficiently…
Doing these things will help you boost your career—whether as a business leader or owner, manager, marketer, copywriter, etc.
… and just like Ford, these lessons will enable you to make a difference in whatever industry or field of expertise you’re in.
(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Monday Marketing Marvels”
Too often, industry experts and the marketing press sing the praises of some brand or company’s marketing strategy.
… only for the audience to later find out that its product was a flop, or worse, that the brand or company went bankrupt.
The true ROI in marketing can’t be separated from the business as a whole.
What good is a marketing case study if one can’t prove that the company’s efforts actually paid off?
At the end of the day, either the entire business is successful or it isn’t. And the roles of marketing and communication are always paramount to that success.
Every Monday, we publish a case study that highlights the world’s greatest marketing strategies, marketers, and communicators.
However, the difference between our articles and the numerous ones out there is that we will always make certain that the firm really did generate and demonstrate earning power worthy of study in the first place (compliments of Valens Research’s finance group) in keeping with a person’s leadership skills in the area of marketing and/or communication.
We’ll also study the greatest marketing fails and analyze what they did wrong, or what they needed to improve. We all make our mistakes, but better we learn from others’ mistakes—and earlier, rather than later.
Hope you found this week’s marketing marvel interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next week’s Monday Marketing Marvels!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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