One of the jobs of a marketer is to people watch looking for trends to emerge. As someone who likes nothing better than watching people this is something I love to do.
And from time to time I come up with my own little theories about consumer behaviour to give it its proper marketing term. A couple of years ago well before the economic downturn I began to feel that people did not trust big companies as they maybe once had. To take an example the relentless march of the supermarkets was starting to annoy people well before the downturn.
This trend has been exacerbated by the economic downturn and for the past few years I have expanded on this theory and belive that this is a time for small local companies to benefit. People are certainly buying less but when they do buy they are more interested in what they are buying and who they are buying it from. It’s my theory that people would rather buy from a local supplier and get a better quality product. So I would recommend that local companies communicate their message out as much as possible. But what ever you do don’t copy the communications of the big retailers.
I think that the big retailers this year have got their adverts badly wrong. So wrong that it’s led me to consider it at length. How come with the marketing spend that these companies have with massive allocations for research are they so out of date with their messages? They actually don’t have to spend too much on research to see where they are going wrong all they have to do is look at what people are saying on Twitter to realise that their adverts are doing the opposite of what they want. The worst by far is the Littlewoods advert closely followed by Marks and Spencers. But they are all in the same vein with the same message which is to make Christmas an enjoyable experience we need to spend, spend, spend on lots of material goods.
The adverts belong in an era that is over and came to an end a couple of years ago. Not only do people not have the money to spend like we have done in the past. My theory is that society is starting to change and we don’t want to spend as much. A far better message would be to focus on what matters to people which is time with the people they love. Great experinces and happy memories.
But you know something? I am glad they have got it so wrong as hopefully my theory is correct and more and more people will shop locally this year and support small businesses. And if you are a small business don’t despair communicate with your customers and create great experinces for them. But whatever you do don’t copy the big guys.