August 06, 2008

Economic Marketing

With the “R” word looming and gas prices soaring, it’s easy to get caught up in the economic frenzy. Watch your gas usage. Don’t spend your money. Put your savings in a coffee can under your bed like our grandparents did. While I think it’s good for us as a society to conserve our resources (from both a financial and environmental perspective), it’s hard to move the economy forward without injecting some cash into the system.

Companies are well aware of the consumer doubt and skepticism regarding our current state of economic affairs, and are consequently developing new marketing initiatives to get us all to open up our pocketbooks and spend with them. Here are some examples:

Dodge: offering 2.99/gallon gas for 2 years with the purchase of a new vehicle. Ingenious, since gas is rumored to hit $6/gallon by August. With the hubbub about buying low-emission, high mileage vehicles, this is an interesting move by Dodge.

Eastwood Stimulus: playing off the “economic stimulus” checks offered by the government, this Carolinas-based homebuilder wants you to spend your stimulus check on a new home, boosting the declining real estate market.

Grocery stores such as Stop-n-Shop began offering discounts on purchases if consumers spent a certain amount during their transaction, hoping to get shoppers to spend their stimulus checks on staple items such as food and beverages.

Even the luxury brands are getting in on the act. Restoration Hardware was offering $100 off a purchase of $750 or more earlier this year, titled as the “Economic Stimulus Voucher.”

An interesting contrast in this situation is the new Smart Car by Smart USA. Their current three month waiting list and anticipated sales of 30,000 cars this year give them pause to any new marketing tactic. The 40 mpg vehicle assuages the current consumer fear, making new marketing initiatives a moot point.

What other economy-driven marketing moves have you noticed recently?

One Comment

  1. Sarah Goff   August 6, 2008 9:05 am / Reply

    I see another example of a “luxury” brand getting into the promotion game with Starbucks. Their financial problems have been well documented in the news, and they are reacting — I’ve seen more promotions in the past two weeks than in the past 10 years. Last week, they were giving out free 16 oz samples of their new Vivanno smoothie. Today, with the purchase of any Grande beverage before 2pm, customers receive a coupon for any Grande cold drink for $2 + tax after 2pm. Looks like they’re targeting the twice-a-day customers who’ve had to cut back to once daily for financial reasons by basically offering 50% off in the afternoons. They’ve also finally instituted a rewards card to incentivize customers to keep coming back.

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