Retail Customer Experience: ISME 09 – Seven Tips for Marketing to Families During a Recession
By James Bickers,
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of
a current article from Retail
a daily news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate the
In a Wednesday
afternoon session at the 2009 In-Store Marketing Expo, retail consultant
Elizabeth Harris of consultancy Rivet laid out a wealth of statistics
on how the recession has changed the spending habits of the typical modern
family, along with a practical list of seven questions to ask when planning
a marketing initiative.
really questioning the essentials of the American dream,” she said. “We’re
seeing a loss of confidence.”
That may seem
self-evident, but the numbers she went on to share from a new survey
reveal the depth of the situation – and the differences between how men
and women perceive what the recession is doing to them. Fifty-three percent
of women surveyed said their situation is worse than a year before –
while only 38 of men agreed. And 73 percent of women say the recession
has fundamentally changed the way they think about money, a change that
will likely endure once the good times return.
and marketers, getting women to feel good about their spending is especially
crucial, since 80 percent of family purchasing decisions are made by
women, a role Ms. Harris calls the “Chief Purchasing Officer” of the
said we have moved from a “consumption economy” to a “considered economy,” and
that women are getting creative for all purchasing decisions above and
beyond the essentials (health care, food, shelter). That means clothing
and magazine swaps with friends, buying in bulk, and putting off buying
non-essentials longer than before. More than two-thirds reported that
they were eating out less, and half were buying fewer prepared/convenience
“When the economy
is bad, women don’t stop shopping,” she said. “They shop differently.”
A drastic uptick in private label brand usage, more coupon clipping,
and more online research of purchases before getting in the car to head
to the store.
wrapped up her presentation with a wonderfully practical list of “Seven
things to ask yourself when planning a new marketing campaign.” The language
assumes that you are marketing to women, but the ideas are universal:
- How can you help her have
fun with her family and mind her budget?
- Can your product or service
allow her to do more with less?
- How can you take advantage
of rituals they are having to forego?
- How can you take the risk
out of the purchase decision?
- How does this new landscape
change your competitive frame? (i.e. has the recession given you new
competitive opportunities – bundles of low-cost personal care products,
merchandised and marketed as an alternative to going to a spa, for
- How can you turn a “want” into
- How can you merchandise
around solutions? (Hasbro’s “Family Game Night” initiative is a good
example of this.)
Of the seven tips for marketing to families during a recession mentioned
in the article, which ones are most important? What considerations
might be missing?