I believe this will be one of the biggest trends to shape the marketing landscape in 2014...
We, as marketers, are going to have to become acutely aware of the financial issues that will face our customers. Our brand messaging and product mix will need to be accordingly shaped in order to deal with this.
The best thing we can do as marketers is to remember that we are consumers
Most of us (consumers that is), face the harrowing prospect that 2014 will see a significant lack of financial resources on the personal front. The vast majority of consumers, both the locally and internationally, will see an exponential increase in their living expenses. If they're fortunate, they may see inflation linked increases in income, but many will most likely not see any increase at all
This will drive the already increasing trend in consumer activism, ala the e-toll rebellion currently happening in Gauteng. It will also drive the consumer towards smarter purchasing.
Value, value, value
Value for money will be a pervasive topic and extracting more bang for our proverbial buck, will be something we'll all have to face. This means our marketing efforts when it comes to training our client-facing personnel will need to be amplified.
Our floor ambassadors and shop assistants will become one of our main sales delivery channels and the difference between maximising income at store level or not. You only have to look at how an excellent waitron is able to up sell a table, to know just
how valuable a well-trained, floor sales resource can be.
Importantly this isn't the sole responsibility of the HR practitioner, so don't leave it up to them. Help them by ensuring that they fully understand your marketing requirements.
P.S. This is just one of the many channels that will need to be reviewed.
Online pre-purchase research will grow exponentially, as consumers actively review the best offers before stepping into the store (both physical and online). Added value and bundled deals will become even more prevalent and rewards programs providing real returns such as cash backs or instant discounts at till points, will be a key tool in this fight.
Our marketing messages will need to support this.
Brands that show empathy towards their consumers during this period will be rewarded, as the consumer will hopefully emerge somewhat intact towards the middle of 2015.
As marketers we will need to build messaging that supports the consumer, draws alongside them and helps them navigate what is sure to be a tough year.
Hold onto your hats, because it's going to be quite a bumpy ride!