Thanks to the recession, consumers have become much more budget-conscious in their shopping behaviour, and are now expecting more from their relationships with brands. At the same time, according to a white paper from Mall Networks, brand marketers are expected to improve their performance with ever-smaller resources.
As a result, the company suggests five best practices to help marketers survive and thrive in an increasingly budget-constrained and accountable climate. There are two key challenges involved in meeting the needs of today's discount-focused consumers:
- Consumers are increasingly budget-conscious
Nobody is immune to the recession. Several studies have already shown that the effects of the recession on consumer behaviour is significant, and will probably be long lasting, even beyond the economic recovery from the recession. Some 70% of consumers in a November 2008 survey said that they were more focused on deals and comparison shopping than in the previous year, while discount-oriented web sites saw an almost 100% growth in 2008 compared to 2007. These changes may persist for many years to come, and present a serious challenge to brand loyalty.
- Marketing budgets are steadily being cut back
The drop in consumer demand has already had a dramatic impact, and marketing budgets are - in a strange twist of logic - often the first to be targeted for cuts during any recession. To compound this effect, marketing budgets are often also affected by across-the-board organisational budget cuts. However, Mall Networks reports that while 85% of companies plan to reduce their use of traditional marketing techniques, 60% are already increasing their online marketing budgets.
The white paper goes on to detail the company's five key marketing best practices to help brands not only survive the recession but to succeed and emerge in a market-leading position when the economy begins to recover, including:
- Focus on retention and loyalty;
- Invest in measurable activities;
- Shift investments to the purchase end of the marketing funnel;
- Leverage partnerships;
- Employ recession marketing messaging.
The full white paper, entitled 'Marketing in a headwind: Successful marketing strategies in a recession', has been made available to download from the Mall Networks web site - click here (free registration required).