Have you ever come across Gary Larson’s “Far Side” cartoon featuring a bemused cow, alone, “out standing in a field”?
Why, you ask? Well… the economy has slowed, and your company is scrambling around looking for ways to cut costs to make it through the rough times, right? With fewer competitors in your target consumers’ field of vision, now is the best time to be out standing in that field — to be outstanding while still reaching out to women.
If you’ve been smart enough to include an actual, effective women’s initiative in your marketing strategy before now, this is no time to stop. We women continue to make or influence the purchase of 80-plus percent of consumer goods, even if the overall sales figures for those goods are in decline due to economic woes.
The current opportunity for your company in this scary time is to be the most obvious consumer “widget” producer. Yes, people are consuming less and not buying as many big-ticket items, but women remain the ones making decisions to buy household goods, clothing, lawn mowers, computers, and more. What may be different at this point is that we are getting even wiser about where and on what to spend! So your efforts to reach us are even more crucial.
Use your marketing dollars now to attract us or keep us interested in your brand, and we’ll likely stay with you, even when the economy booms again and your fierce competition returns — when there are more cows in the field. With less marketing clutter (witness the thinning advertising pages of most business publications), this is an opportunity for your brand to stand out.
Here are few random thoughts about how to be outstanding rather than lost in a herd munching on hay or napping lazily under the sun:
- If you are a classic-designs clothing retailer, gear your economic downturn message to the concept of buying fewer but quality pieces — from your company. You may also want to get customers involved in a special opt-in effort, online or offline, to survey their must-have pieces for work and nonwork wardrobes. Use their feedback in the product’s future development process, and promote the whole interactive process while you’re at it.
- With the energy crisis an additional economic bummer these days, you may want to highlight the ways your store or service helps combine car trips (e.g., your outlet or office is within walking distance of five other important services) or leads to the use of less paper (like a highly responsive Web-based shopping environment).
- Now might also be an optimum time to poll your Web site visitors or those in your purchaser database about what is most important to them during this money-crunch time (either regarding your range of products or in general). Let them know you are aware of the situation and that you realize purchasing decisions are even more significant these days. To make a long-lasting impact, step right into your consumers’ anxiety-ridden conversations and offer solutions when they need them.
Whatever you do during this downturn, don’t ever delude yourself that women consumers need your product more than you need them.
Even if you aren’t feeling particularly strong or healthy, kick off the mud, stand tall, and carry your big, old cow head high while providing us with the information we need, the opportunity to give feedback, or the perfect wardrobe during this downturn. In the midst of bad times, you and your brand — out standing in our field of vision — will become our friends, and we will not forget you when business booms again.
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