Marketing to Consumers in a Post-Abundance Economy
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Marketing to Consumers in a Post-Abundance Economy

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Marketing to Consumers in a Post-Abundance Economy Marketing to Consumers in a Post-Abundance Economy Document Transcript

  •     T  R  E  N  D  S      I  N      A  D  V  E  R  T  I  S  I  N  G   Marketing  to  Consumers  in  a  Post-­‐Abundance   Economy     Stuff.  It  has  us  completely  surrounded.  But  who  needs  it?  That  kind  of  depends  on   your  situation.  What  you  think  you  need  when  you  consider  your  Christmas  wish  list   is  very  different  than  what  you  think  you  need  if  you’re  evacuating  your  home   because  of  a  coming  hurricane.  Of  course,  what  you  think  you  need  and  what  you   really  need  are  two  different  things  entirely.         Ted  Levitt  was  an  American  economist  and  professor  at  Harvard  Business  School.   He  asserted  that  it’s  not  really  the  stuff  that  is  important  —  that  identifying   problems  and  solving  them  is  what  business  is  all  about.    “People  don’t  buy   products.  They  buy  solutions  to  problems.”  His  conclusion  is  the  key  insight  to   modern  marketing.  And  it  recognizes  that  what  people  need  is  based  entirely  on   their  problems.  Big  marketing  ideas  come  when  we  recognize  common,  unsolved   problems  that  are  shared  by  the  most  people.     Between  1929  and  1941,  the  US  experienced  a  problem  boom.  The  Great  Depression   cranked  out  more  problems  than  any  other  episode  of  our  history.  The  crumbled   economy  produced  rampant  unemployment  and  that  produced  devastating  poverty   for  much  of  the  country.  Long  food  lines.  Crowds  of  men,  each  waiting  to  be  one  of   the  few  selected  to  earn  a  day’s  wage.  Hungry  children  with  frustrated  parents.  The   problem  of  scarcity  was  as  widespread  as  problems  come.  And  it  was  shaping  a   nation’s  idea  of  what  their  “needs”  were  for  decades  to  come.         numantra  •  2900  Gateway  Dr.,  Suite  620,  Irving,  Texas  75063  •  214.635.2300  •  numantra.com  
  •         The  Depression  finally  ended  and  was  followed  by  the  “post-­‐scarcity”  period  —  a   time  when  Americans  were  encouraged  to  fill  every  driveway,  closet,  garage,   drawers  and  refrigerators  to  overflowing.  And  fill  them  we  did.  To  capacity.  But   along  the  way,  we  discovered  something  that  seems  to  have  no  limit  —  consumer   debt.  We  were  miles  away  from  the  physical  threats  of  the  Depression  and  yet  we   were  still  controlled  by  the  problem  of  not  having  enough.     Throughout  the  post-­‐scarcity  period,  our  needs  became  more  sophisticated  and   more  removed  from  basic  requirements.  The  products  we  bought  were  no  longer   about  their  functionality  as  much  as  they  were  about  the  experience  they  provided.   For  example,  a  car  is  not  simply  a  mode  of  transportation.  It  is  about  excitement,   fun,  and  fantasy.       Products  in  the  post  scarcity  period  are  not  about  value.  They  are  about   empowerment.  Kitchen  appliances  used  to  make  work  in  the  kitchen  easier  but  in   the  post  scarcity  kitchen,  they  make  their  owner  amazing.  Products  are  no  longer   about  quality,  but  instead,  they  are  about  celebrity.  Good  or  bad,  it’s  a  purse  that  was   designed  by  a  famous  reality  TV  personality  and  its  sales  are  in  the  millions.     These  are  all  familiar  examples.    Even  though  they  seem  like  current  examples,  they   actually  describe  our  past.  You  see,  we  no  longer  live  in  a  post-­‐scarcity  period.  The   economy  hammering  recessions  of  the  twenty-­‐first  century  have  seen  to  that.       First,  the  amazing  dotcom  boom  went  bust  when  the  speculation  bubble  burst  and   sent  thousands  of  small  businesses  crashing  to  the  ground.  Then,  after  an  economy-­‐ crushing  blow  was  made  by  Al  Qaeda  on  September  11,  the  travel  industry  tanked,   oil  prices  surged,  and  investors  lost  their  minds  as  they  grabbed  every  easy-­‐money   deal  they  could  find.       These  economic  pressures  were  more  than  the  banks  could  bear  and  something  had   to  give.  It  was  the  housing  market  that  proved  to  be  the  weak  link.  And  like  a  house   of  cards,  it  all  came  tumbling  down,  creating  the  worse  economy  since  the  Great   Depression.   numantra  •  2900  Gateway  Dr.,  Suite  620,  Irving,  Texas  75063  •  214.635.2300  •  numantra.com  
  •       So,  no.  We  do  not  live  in  a  post-­‐scarcity  period  any  longer.  This  is  a  post-­‐abundance   period,  like  it  or  not.  We  have  double-­‐digit  unemployment  (or  very  close  to  it   depending  the  reports  you  read)  and  a  growth-­‐stifling  economy  that  stubbornly   refuses  to  budge.  It’s  time  for  some  of  that  American  ingenuity  our  grandfathers   were  so  well  known  for.           When  they  were  faced  with  a  baby  boom,  they  met  that  problem  with  Gerber  baby   food  and  disposable  diapers.  And  when  those  babies  became  teenagers,  they  met   that  problem  with  McDonalds  and  television  programming.  Marketers  thrived  in  the   post-­‐scarcity  period  when  they  focused  on  the  problems  of  their  day  and  produced   products  that  were  solutions  that  met  the  needs  of  the  most  people.     This  post-­‐abundance  period  is  no  different.  Even  though  the  problems  have   changed,  the  opportunity  for  marketers  is  still  equally  great.  So,  what  are  the   commonly  experienced  problems  of  the  post  abundance  period?  Ironically,  the  post-­‐ abundance  period  is  also  marked  by  scarcity.  But  scarcity  in  this  period  is  rooted  in   abundance,  not  deprivation.     The  post-­‐scarcity  period  created  an  abundance  of  everything.  We  have  a  load  of   things  to  do  on  our  plate.  Who  can  find  time  to  relax  with  a  book  or  even  exercise   regularly  with  everything  else  that  has  become  a  priority  in  our  lives.  It’s  not  just  the   work,  kids,  house,  and  hobby  life  anymore.  Now  it’s  the  job  that  follows  you   everywhere  on  your  smart  phone  and  laptop.  It’s  the  two  or  three  social  networks   that  constantly  remind  you  that  someone  commented  on  what  you  posted.       It’s  the  three  DVDs  in  you  mailbox,  the  three  new  albums  you  subscribed  to  in  your   iTunes,  and  the  three  hundred  episodes  of  programming  left  on  your  DVR  to  sift   through.  You  have  news  pouring  into  your  email,  popping  up  on  your  computer   screen,  posting  on  your  Facebook  wall  by  friends,  and  reaching  you  wherever  you  go   on  your  smartphone.   numantra  •  2900  Gateway  Dr.,  Suite  620,  Irving,  Texas  75063  •  214.635.2300  •  numantra.com  
  •       Creating  too  much  of  everything  produces  just  as  many  problems  as  having  too  little   of  everything.  Today,  we  have  too  much  to  do.  Not  enough  time.  There  are  too  many   distractions  and  demands.  Not  enough  focused  attention.    There  is  too  much   information  to  know.  Not  enough  processing  capacity.     Instead  of  having  too  little  to  have,  too  little  to  own,  to  buy,  to  consume,  to  rent,   manage,  etc.  —  we  now  have  too  much  to  have.  Too  much  to  consume.  We  have   overshot  the  needs  of  deprivation  by  a  country  mile.  The  riches  of  abundance  have   created  the  ironic  need  for  less.     And  there  lies  the  key  for  marketers.  The  need  for  less  is  the  common,  unsolved   problem  that  is  shared  by  the  most  people  today.  So  we  have  to  learn  to  market  to   consumers  who  want  less.  New  needs  will  have  to  be  discovered  and  new  solutions   will  have  to  be  mastered  and  delivered.  The  biggest  growth  opportunities  of   tomorrow  will  be  those  that  address  the  needs  of  consumers  that  are  overwhelmed   by  super-­‐abundance.  It  means  creating  value  for  consumers  by  giving  them  less.     So  we  need  to  give  consumers  less  to  spend  and  save  them  money.  Give  them  less  to   do  by  making  thing  simple  and  easy  and  you  will  save  them  time.    Give  them  less  to   worry  about  by  eliminating  barriers  and  you  will  make  it  convenient  for  them.  Make   it  small  and  compact  and  you  will  give  them  less  space  to  have  to  manage.  Give  them   less  waste  and  they  can  feel  good  about  making  things  greener.    And  keep   everything  simple  and  you’ll  give  them  less  to  understand.     Today,  if  you  want  to  get  the  most  out  of  your  marketing  efforts,  offer  consumers   less.     Up  Next:  Your  3  most  valuable  marketing  assets           *If  you  can’t  wait  for  the  next  Numantra  whitepaper  and  what  your  three  most   valuable  marketing  assets  are,  please  contact  us  for  a  free  consultation.  We  can  show   you  specific  examples  of  how  your  business  vertical  can  effectively  leverage  your  assets   and  identify  specific  opportunities  for  your  own  brand.  Please  contact  Dave  Evans  at   214-­‐635-­‐2220  or  at  devans@numantra.com  to  schedule  your  free  consultation.   numantra  •  2900  Gateway  Dr.,  Suite  620,  Irving,  Texas  75063  •  214.635.2300  •  numantra.com