Demand creation

Back in the 1960s, as the anti-war protest movement gained momentum,  there was a saying, “What if they gave a war and nobody showed up?”

I think today’s version of that saying is, “What if they gave a sale and nobody showed up?”

That pretty much describes the shopping season lately.  I cannot walk down Broadway without coming across one store after another announcing sale upon sale.  

Consumer demand is falling for just about everything.  And where the demand isn’t falling, consumers are doing more trading down to lower cost options. 

At the same time, many corporations are cutting their marketing spend.  

There is nothing wrong with making some cuts in marketing.  Many companies can probably cut their marketing spend by 10 to 20 % and increase their overall effectiveness at the same time by making some very strategic moves (more about that in another post).

However, many companies seem to be engaged in a paradox of counter-productive cutting.  They are seeing falling revenues so they cut everything possible.  Marketing is an easy target because the savings go right to the bottom line.  It’s hard to justify running advertising or launching a new brand when people in other departments are losing their jobs.  

The paradox is that brand marketing is essential for a company to create demand.  At a minimum it will slow the decline of demand.

Some companies use these conditions as a catalyst for deeper changes in their marketing.  

For instance, all the research shows that there is a growing need for better cooperation and coordination between marketing, product development, customer service, CSR, online development and so on.  At the same time, our study with Forrester shows that 78% of marketers see internal silos as the biggest barrier to integrating marketing with other parts of the customer experience.  Isn’t this the perfect opportunity to remove those silos and make everyone more efficient and effective?

In some categories as single dominant company can raise demand for that category.  But that is an unusual situation.  

But imagine if every company did all they could to raise consumer demand.  Not by spending more but by spending more effectively.  Imagine how that would contribute the economic recovery.  Alone we can influence our own destiny.  Together we can shape society.

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