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Surviving The Recession: Don't Listen to Us "Experts."

Recession Marketing to Moms - Tips & Insights

By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk

Lately we've all been seeing many marketing messages aimed at us women that are embracing the fact that we are in a recession. Some are good, some not so great. If you now Google the term "recession marketing" you've find quite a few recent articles on the topic as well as some paid "sponsored" ads from those jumping on the bandwagon as well. 

I wrote about this marketing trend last month in this post here which was about giving value for consumers as well as values! The recession today is affecting most people, but specifically women with children, no matter what age their kids are. Young children are just not in tune with the economic concerns of today even though moms are trying to teach them. And teenagers, well there teenagers, and even though they are aware of what's going on, the world still revolves around them and they "need" many things. 

So one thing moms today are doing is seeking more products that are durable. We need to make things last and brands and companies that are offering this are experiencing growth. This image is an example of "brands that last" which I've included courtesy of John Gerzema, author of  "The Brand Bubble".


Most recently I came across this article in PROMO Magazine written by Elizabeth Harris who is a marketing professional at an agency in Chicago.  Elizabeth wrote about the "Lipstick Effect", a phrase that is very close to the heart of this blog. Here's what she says:

"She (today's mom) hasn’t given up on shopping, but is fostering what’s known as the “Lipstick Effect.” When times get tough, women stop splurging on the large extravagant purchases and start treating themselves to small luxuries, like lipstick. Ever since The Great Depression, female lipstick buying patterns have been the reverse of market indices. Marketers must realize that in times of crisis, the American mom doesn’t stop shopping, she just shops differently—which usually means more strategically and less often."

Elizabeth's article goes on to outline some key questions marketers need to ask themselves when evaluating properties and promotional tactics in 2009.  I think these are great tips and since Lipsticking is mostly about marketing to women I thought I'd share them with our readers here as well.

  1. Is it helping women bring home fun—for herself and her family?
  2. Is the creative upbeat and positive? She is hearing doom and gloom from all sides. Partner with upbeat properties. Play up the good and happy, downplay the bad.
  3. Is it a “fly-by-night” or a tried and true entity? Is it an entity that she trusts and with which she has experience? Partners with strong brand recognition like Disney, McDonald’s and Nintendo may be a better bet right now than unknown new kids on the block.
  4. Is it a potential teaching tool—for her and her kids?
  5. Is it helping her bring her family together? For example, promotional sweeps and contest, which the whole family can participate in will be a hit.
  6. Is it helping her to do more with less or the same with less? Kellogg’s Corn Flakes make a great breakfast cereal, but also a snack on the go or a topping for veggies and casseroles.
  7.  Is it converting a “want” to a “need”? For example, a high-end cappuccino maker may seem like a want, but when amortized over a two-month period, the product will pay for itself in the money saved by not buying pricey coffee drinks out of the home.

So, if you go back and read the post I did on this subject you'll see some great examples of brands that are doing what Elizabeth is recommending and succeeding at it, such as McCormick Spices and Campbell Soups. Plus I couldn't agree with her more that marketers should be doing more promotional sweeps and contests. This has always been the area of my expertise and is a great tactic to build a brand, connect with customers and also let them have some fun as well.

Country-Crock Here's a good example of a current promotion from Country Crock where they're asking customers to test their knowledge of how much they know about calcium with a quick quiz. Those that take the quiz could earn a $25 Visa Gift Card and then be entered in a sweepstakes to win a family trip to Yellowstone National Park.

So it's back to the basics, which is a good thing. Please keep these tips in mind when evaluating your marketing and promotional plans and as consumers embrace those brands that you see following in this path. 


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