Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nielsen's 2009 Outlook: When times get tough, the tough go back-to-basics

Nielsen's Consumer Insight Magazine put out a set of predictions for the retail and advertising landscape next year, and as one might expect they're not too optimistic about experiencing a quick economic turnaround. In summary, they expect:
"a no-frills philosophy to kick into high gear in 2009, reflecting not just a consumer mindset, but one that is paramount to retailers and manufacturers alike, who are looking for growth in a downturn economy. From sustainable manufacturing techniques to innovative national brand offerings, the products and services likely to succeed in 2009 will be those that appeal to the sensible consumer looking for a rational benefit."
They go on to highlight twenty trends across the consumer spending board, a few of which gave me pause. Consider:
Marketers will think "renovation" as much as "innovation"

Nielsen has seen steady growth in testing of established brand restages and re-launches over time, and we expect this trend to continue into commercialization as marketing budgets are tighter. Reinventing established brands can be managed as a lower risk innovation strategy.
However, making this strategy a success requires a delicate balance of providing continuity to current buyers while offering sufficient novelty to attract new triers.

Ad spending will be tight.

Nielsen reported significant ad spending declines in the first half of 2008 by eight of the top 10 advertisers—down roughly 6% during the same period in 2007. As companies continue to downsize and scrutinize spending, expect these declines to continue, especially within the automotive category and with Financial Services companies. However, product categories such Direct Response Product, which increased spending 20.48%, and Credit Card Services (+18.95%), should continue to spend on advertising.

Coupon redemptions will rise.

As consumers look for more deals, expect coupon redemptions to increase. While coupon activity is actually flat versus year ago, this is positive news as it is the first time in many years that redemptions didn’t fall. As more manufacturers and retailers make it easier for consumers to gain access to coupons via email, mobile phones and in-store methods, consumers will take advantage of this cost-cutting strategy.

and

Brand prestige will be driven less by premium price.

Expect to see fewer premium-priced new products introduced into the market in 2009. However, focusing on low price may under-deliver on expectations. Marketers should look to emphasize a brand’s value proposition in new and unique ways by linking the value message to the consumer benefit.
These three, if true, will present some unique challenges and opportunities for in-store marketing experts. Price differentiation, typically considered a form of trade promotion, will probably be king for the time being, especially if the shift from brand-name to lower-priced private label or off-brand continues. But the opportunity to deliver customized marketing and promotions via interactive loyalty terminals or digital signage systems that can beam offers to a shopper's mobile phone could make them more valuable during the recession than previously expected.

2 comments:

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Useful info, As companies continue to downsize and scrutinize spending, expect these declines to continue, especially within the automotive category and with Financial Services companies.

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As more manufacturers and retailers make it easier for consumers to gain access to coupons via email, mobile phones and in-store methods, consumers will take advantage of this cost-cutting strategy.