Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Recession Pain Points

Consumer Segmentation Changing Behaviour

The Harvard Business Review has friendly matrix that tells us that all retail buying is now up for re-evaluation as consumers change their mindsets. Marketing departments have to adjust to the new realities with some "old fashioned" thinking:

- Support your brand and brand values, it's "good investment" spend because in the long run, brand value is a huge profit generator for companies;

- Prune products and brands that were ailing in the first place or are unsuitable for current economic conditions. Also prune back to "core products" and abandon weak product line extensions;

- Maintain brand positioning; don't move down to value category just to fill short term revenue objectives, you will alienate your core customer base, and leave yourself poorly positioned for the upturn when it comes;

In deciding which marketing tactics to employ, it’s critical to track how customers are reassessing priorities, reallocating budgets, switching among brands and product categories, and redefining value. It’s therefore essential to continue investing in market research

The responses to recession also include the introduction of lower priced brands; cash incentives, credit plans, etc. etc. I found that other interesting points buried in here were:

                 REMOVE FRICTION FROM ADOPTION

            BUILD TRUST IN YOUR BRAND

            BRANDS ARE BUILT ON EXPERIENCES

You don't need to blanket reduce costs by 20%. You need to target cost reduction at the right products, in the right segments in response to shifting customer psychology and the realities of your product category.

Consumer confidence is currently shattered by fear. As a company some of the ways you can begin to think about the challenge this sets is to think about how your customer contact strategy needs to be amended and augmented to build trust in your brand. These shifts can be subtle (i.e. Agent Scripts) or fairly dramatic (focusing on emotional responses not agent minutes as a critical metric). I think that the companies that make the very special effort to treat customers well, and to deliver exceptional experiences, will be the ones that build deep seated trust. Cutting back on customer service will do the opposite.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Excellent piece Paul, most useful, thanks.

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