Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to Acquire New Customers Through Recession Marketing

Many of our clients and customers are still in a recession mindset.  Here’s some tips to help you relate:

By: Brent Barnhart on Sunday, February 26, 2012

The world of marketing often seems so fast-paced and ever-changing, and it's easy to want to rework and overhaul our strategies in order to fit the times. While this line of thinking may seem progressive, it often takes our “eyes off the prize” and causes us to lose focus on what's really important when it comes to small business marketing.

True, the world of marketing is fast-paced. Times change. People change. Behavior changes. Businesses don't necessarily need to change, but rather, adapt.

For example, today's customers are adapting. They're adapting to having less disposable income and doing more and more in order to make ends meet. Adapting to such a lifestyle takes time. For some, it's easy. For others, it's difficult. Likewise, businesses need to pay attention to their customers and potential customers. Everyone's tightening their belts and holding on to their wallets. Businesses should be well aware, and their marketing strategies should adapt accordingly. Marketing to consumers who aren't so eager to spend is somewhat of an art, yet recession marketing should definitely be in the repertoire of the modern small business looking to acquire new customers despite today's struggling economy.

What exactly is recession marketing?

Firstly, let's look at traditional marketing. A traditional marketing strategy may push a low price point or the immense features of a new product or service at a customer in order to drive them to buy. While such techniques certainly do have their place in the marketing world, recession marketing takes a slightly different slant in an attempt to reach customers who simply don't have much money in the bank.

Recession marketing instead places emphasis on the cash a customer may save by buying or switching to a product. These savings may be due to the shortcomings of a competitor's product or perhaps the result of the product eliminating the need for other products for the customer, thus resulting in more money saved. In short, recession marketing forces the consumer to weigh “wants” and “needs,” with the product in question hopefully being seen as a “need,” urging the consumer to buy.

We've seen these tactics at work over the last decade. How many infomercials have you seen for a cleaning product or super-sponge that heralds in the end of paper towels forever, saving you hundreds and hundreds over the course of the year? It may seem a bit silly and sometimes even hyperbolic, but such products are incredibly popular and such marketing tactics do work. Now, hopefully your product actually delivers on such promises, for that's what will keep your customers coming back.

Another shining example of recession marketing comes from the hybrid car industry. How many ads have we seen over the years promising us big savings through the purchase of hybrid vehicles? Higher miles per gallon equals more money in the bank, right? Such savings combined with the growing environmental appeal make such cars a booming commodity.

Employing a recession marketing strategy also requires your business to show a bit of emotion. Why? In an economy where so many are struggling, it's crucial to stand apart from the competition. Your customers should know that you understand their plight and that your product and service is here to help. By showing understanding and compassion, you're not only more likely to acquire new customers but also retain them for the long-term. Consider creative ways you can employ such compassion in your marketing strategy, whether through marketing language on your website, emails or signage.

For small businesses, recession marketing is an especially effective route to go in today's economy, granted that you know your audience. By appealing to the needs and emotions of your potential customers, you may grow a loyal base of business that will stay with you even after the recession ends.

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