Monthly Archives: May 2009

Are You Telling Your Customers You Are Closed For Business?

Closed For BusinessA recent Ad-ology study noted that 48% of U.S. adults think a lack of advertising by a bank, retail store or auto dealer during a recession is a sign that they are struggling and thus make them less likely to do business with them.

Conversely, a vast majority perceives businesses that continue to advertise as being competitive or committed to doing business.

What message are you sending your customers?

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Don’t Wait For Consumers To Start Spending Money Again

Fast CompanyIn the June issue of Fast Company, Sean Maloney, Intel’s chief sales and marketing officer, is quoted saying that their job “is to give [the audience] something so wonderful that they’ll spend money again.”

This is a great philosophy for any business for any time, but especially in a recession.  Instead of waiting for customers to buy your product, what reason are you giving your audience to want to buy your product?

Hyundai is a great example of creating demand.  Earlier this year, to encourage people to spend money on their cars, Hyundai launched the Assurance program.  This is a program that states if you lose your job within the 12 months after you purchase your car, Hyundai will take it back without damaging your credit.

Many car companies copied that program, so Hyundai recently upped the ante.  Now in addition to the Assurance program, Hyundai is giving $650 a month for six months to people who buy their CUVs.   And if they lose their job they can return the car and keep the money.  To people on the fence about buying a new car, that qualifies as “something so wonderful”.

Apple is another great example at a lower price point.  Look at its iPhone apps.  Does anyone really need an application called Pee Monkey? (Yes, there is such an app.)  Probably not, but people are defining “wonderful” in record numbers helped by the low price point.

So what can you do to your product or service to make it irresistible?

  • Could you improve the warranty that goes along with your service making it risk-free?
  • Could you provide add-on services to make the offer enticing?
  • Can you find a way for your product to save people money?
  • How does your product make people’s lives easier, better, etc.?

Sometimes creating this “wonderful” simply requires educating your audience on all things your product can do.

This week take a look at your products and services and determine how to make your product or service so “wonderful that [people] will start spending money again.”

Please share what you come up with to make your product wonderful.

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Filed under recession marketing

Marketing Checklist

We get so caught up in the day-to-day crises of our jobs we often forget the communications basics.

Use this checklist at the beginning of each week to keep tabs on your company and your competition.

Your Company

  • Check all the links on your website to make sure they are still live
  • Search your company on Google, Yahoo, etc
  • Search your company on blogs through technorati or blogsearch
  • Update Google Alerts
  • If you are using paid search like AdWords, test different terms. Test ad content.
  • Monitor web traffic
  • Update your blog
  • Determine what to post to Twitter this week
  • Update your Facebook page

Your Competitors

  • Check your competitor’s websites
  • Check your competitor’s web traffic on Compete.com.
  • Search your competitor’s on Google, Yahoo, etc
  • Search your competitor’s on blogs through technorati or blogsearch

Starting the week off following this checklist gets this out of your way and, more important, gives you time to work on anything you might discover.

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Your Audience Has Changed, Have You?

The Economist published an article discussing the impact the recession will have on people’s purchasing habits.

Typically we, as consumers, have short memories and as soon as things improve we go back to our free-spending ways. This time however, the article goes on to discuss, that this recession will have a longer lasting effect.

We can already see this in gas consumption as usage remains down even though the $2 average cost per gallon is 50% less than it was a year ago.

People are eating at home more.

People are saving more – in fact the saving rate in January ’09 reached a 15 year high of 5% compared to .1% the year prior.

Since the audience is adapting to this new economic reality, how have you adapted your message, pricing strategy, and brand to best meet the needs of the market?

Notice I use the word adapted and not changed.

I also hesitate to use the words discounting or rebates as they can negatively impact your brand long-term and your audience’s buying habits.  Just look at the big retailers at Christmas time – everyone waits for the big sale because they know it is coming and being known solely for discounts can devastate profits as well as your brand value.

Adapting your brand allows you to highlight how you are meeting today’s needs in a responsible and helpful manner.

For example:

  • Highlight the things that make your product unique and/or superior to the competition
  • Talk with your audience about the value your products or services provide
  • Help your audience save money in the short-term and over the long-haul
  • Reward them for their loyalty
  • Thank them for being a referral source
  • Discuss how you have been adding value to their lives for years

Target has done a nice job of this adaptation with their “redefining” campaign promoting the new movie night, the new girl’s night out, etc. while touting what makes Target unique – an inexpensive way to remain stylish.

The key is not taking things for granted or assuming things will return to normal.  That may have been the case in past recessions, but the severity of this one is predicted to make a significant change in people’s habits.

It’s your job to make sure your brand knows how to adapt.

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Filed under recession marketing