The news of the economic recovery has many business owners double-checking their sales figures. Revenues may not be as high as they’d expect at this point in the typical resurgence following a recession. That may be because this recession was longer and deeper than most recent downturns. Or the slow recovery may be linked to fundamental changes in consumer behavior. Either way, marketers are finding they have to change how they position themselves in order to boost sales.
A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that U.S. consumers are still plagued by personal debt and worry about the future. Consumer feelings that have intensified since the start of the downturn include:
- Focus on family, home and environment exceeds interest in luxury and status.
- The ‘bargain-hunting mindset’ continues.
- Green products will sell if consumers see economic and altruistic value in them.
BCG analysts say that marketers can succeed in this new marketplace if they keep the following best practices in mind:
- Products targeting the health and wellness and home furnishings environment do well when quality and craftsmanship are emphasized.
- Differentiate the company as unique and make sure to get that message out to consumers.
- Improve marketing and selling techniques for the ‘last three feet’. Consumers may be considering a competitor’s product in the store but a marketer can succeed in winning business with the right “in-store presentations and sales-force effectiveness”.
Patrick Ducasse, a senior partner at BCG reminds marketers that “[r]eactions to the crisis were, for many, driven more by anticipation of personal economic hardship than the actual experience of it.” Marketers who connect with consumers in new and unique ways as they begin spending again may be rewarded with higher sales.[Source: Consumers are Less Inclined to cut Back – But Remain Cautious. Boston Consulting Group. 28 Jun. 2010. Web. 6 Jul 2010]