In 2009, value, price, and risk will remain top considerations for many consumers as they continue to defer large purchases and rein in their spending. So how best should companies respond to these recessionary lapses?
Some companies are already taking bold and unprecedented steps to attract customers and boost sales. Hyundai, for example, recently unveiled its Hyundai Assurance Program to reduce financial barriers to purchasing a new vehicle. Through the program, individuals who finance or lease a Hyundai vehicle can return the vehicle with no strings attached should they suffer an “involuntary loss of income” in the next year.
Hyundai, however, is the marketing exception. For most companies, 2009 will be about returning to marketing basics and emphasizing value proposition. For example, Staples launched a “dollar deals” program, much like that of fast food restaurants, to highlight great bargains. GEICO unveiled a new character aptly named “Kash” – literally a stack of money with eyes – to drive home its message that GEICO saves you money. And a recent trip to the supermarket revealed aisles dotted with red tags – not for items on sale, but highlighting items that are everyday good value.
Beyond low cost and good value, look to service and values to guide the messaging of the strongest companies and organizations in all sectors over the next year. Having dedicated employees, a value-driven company culture, and a strategic point of view are the differentiators that good businesses can scream from the mountain tops. Those that are best able to articulate their point of view and clearly define their value proposition will emerge from the recession ahead of the competition.