The new frugality and its impact on marketing

Marketing messages that work in a recession

The recession does affect the advertising and public relations industries especially hard.  It’s hard to make money convincing other people to spend money when people, well, just aren’t spending money!

Most of advertising agency income comes from media buys.  And newspaper advertising, once a cornerstone of ad agency income, has fallen sharply.  One reason why newspapers get hit so hard when the economy falters is because automobile advertising was a big money-maker for newspapers, and people put off buying new cars during uncertain economic times.

In terms of marketing appeals, consumers respond to marketing messages that convey the attributes of value and quality.  Value, because that is all people can afford right now; so BOGO (buy one, get one free), Facebook offers, and coupons (yes, clipping coupons is back.)

According to consumer trend researchers, no one is turning their nose up at affordable store brands anymore, while store brands have been redesigning their packaging to appeal to consumers (e.g., Safeway, Target).  As the Wall Street Journal reports, Target consumers who purchase the store’s “up and up” store brand products (more than 800 products on Target shelves) no longer perceive store brands to have an uncomfortably lower quality than name brands.

Quality is an important benefit to communicate to consumers, because consumers have no expectation of this recession lifting anytime soon.  So any purchase they make will have to last.

How you market products and services is also important.  Because people are spending more time at home in front of their computers, having a social media presence is essential.  Consumers may also perceive this as a cost-effective use of a company’s resources, versus expensive promotions, giveaways, and display advertising.  Those techniques still work, but they can also backfire if a consumer perceives that he or she is bankrolling an expensive marketing campaign.  Ostentation, even in marketing, is definitely out.

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on August 21, 2010, in Consumer Trends, Marketing Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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