Marketing professionals across the globe are collectively scratching their heads wondering what today’s economic challenges have done to the strategies and practices of yesterday – literally…just yesterday.
Everyone knows that consumer’s aren’t spending, and that the upcoming holiday retail season may likely be another nail in the failing economy’s coffin. Today’s consumer has taken a completely different approach to their spending habits – one where discretionary spending is no longer an accepted practice. In every aspect of our lives, many of us are looking to put off what they want for what they can afford – and most importantly, looking for real value in what they can buy today.
This new mindset has altered marketer’s approach radically, of course. And there are at least a small set of tactics we can all adopt to help ease the transition to a more normal economy – no matter how long it may take for a recovery. In fact, these are good strategies for every business phase; in good times and bad;
* Justify Your Value. This seems obvious, doesn’t it? No matter how the economy is faring, customers are always looking to understand the underlying value of your brand. In fact, this is your brand – and if you’re unable to clearly define and message your value – how can your prospective customers be expected to understand your product or service?. Even if your brand costs more than the competition, it’s imperative that you clearly define why your value is worth the extra investment. Better results is worth more money if you can clearly communicate that to the public.
* Provide comparisons and alternatives. By giving your prospects a range of comparisons and alternatives, you can help position your brand as the right choice. There’s a good argument for making a case for non-action and the potential hazards it may present – especially in the fields of health care, insurance and investment which are all to often seen as luxuries in today’s climate. Not buying that new fuel efficient car may, in the end, prove a more costly decision than doing it today.
* Prepare Your Sales Force. Today’s market requires more personal attention to “close the sale”. Now is the perfect time to invest in your sales team and customer service staff by providing them with the training and detailed information they’ll need to handle a much broader range of objections and concerns. The ability to help move a prospect from consideration to purchase may mean the difference between survival and failure – especially if your competition has an equal or better product or service.
* Identify A Broader Competition Range. In today’s roller-coaster market, you aren’t simply competing with similar products and services, you’re in a much broader range of penny-pinching options you need to identify that are related to your brand. Buying a used car or taking a vacation may be the choice facing the consumer – not whether to buy a new or used vehicle. When consumers are tightening their overall spending habits, a much broader range of considerations come into play. Identify those options and position your brand against them – you’ll remain a more competitive option in the consumer’s mind if you recognize the changing landscape of their decisions.
Today’s consumer continues to make decisions based on an emotional attachment to the brand – and not simply their concern for value. Once they’ve made that decision, they deserve to be treated with a great deal of respect and appreciation – an element often missed in today’s challenging market.
Buying decisions are still being made today – and for those who take new steps and innovative actions to forge a different kind of bond with their customersm, they’ll emerge a much stronger brand with a wider audience when the economy begins to grow at a normal page again.