Many companies struggle to connect with customers during an economic downturn. How do you make your product relevant when people are struggling with unemployment, facing dwindling retirement savings and worrying about how to make ends meet? Is the answer to provide more (perceived) value? Or should you try to speak to people’s sense of being part of the solution? What is the secret sauce to marketing in a recession?
According to Ad Age, the answer is to promote connectivity (in real life and through technology) and meet basic needs with a touch of indulgence.
The ad agency Leo Burnett has been looking at marketing trends in a down economy and studying how consumers reclassify what they really "want" versus "need". The research looks at wants and needs across a spectrum from functional to emotional and what stays on the need side of the equation is very revealing. The matrix below shows current needs (green), wants consumers are eager to convert to needs (orange) and wants consumers have had to cut back on (red).
Good news for all you cause marketers out there: consumers want to be spending on charity (and consider it an emotional need). Think about how much you can strengthen your connection to your customers if you can fulfill that want for them! Help them break that compromise. When you enable your customers to support the causes they care about – causes they may not have the financial means to support right now – you reinforce their passion to make a difference and link it to your brand. Why not make cause your market differentiator?
You can see more about want versus need on Ad Age here.