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posted by Teresa Coles Feb 23,2009 @ 04:41AM

Take time to count the pennies.

It has finally happened. We have more time than money.

I saw it first hand, just today, sitting in the drive-thru at Wendy's. The line was snaked all the way to the curb, forcing the back end of my car to hang precariously out into the street. As for parking spaces, forget it. We had all come to worship at the altar of the 99-cent value menu.

It had made the drive over to Knox Abbott worthwhile. After all, what's 15 minutes sitting in line when you can get a chili, fries and tea for $3.79? (It's that $1.70 drink that puts me over the edge every time).

But I digress. The value menu is a microcosm for two things smart marketers know in this new economy:

1. People will go out of their way to find you if you deliver what is perceived to be more value for the dollar.

2. People are no longer content to buy bundled, or combo'ed, products just for the sake of convenience.

We've finally realized we never needed those super-plus-biggie fries, even though it saved time to just order a "number 5." We now know, in fact, we can live without the "electronics package" on our car featuring the GPS that's automatically programmed to drive us to our mother's house on Thursdays and put our makeup on for us at the same time.

People are looking for simple value on the things they need. And they are willing to spend more time looking for them, one at a time. Remember that, and stop trying so hard to up-sell to customers and instead, listen to what they want to buy. Give it to them at a fair price and with a smile, and you'll both be happier in the end.

posted by Cathy Monetti Feb 10,2009 @ 04:28AM

Make “Private Label” Work for Your Brand

My shoulders tighten. My hands clinch. And I hear myself thinking “this is a crappy time to be in the business of marketing.” Jobs, AND THEREFORE THE ENTIRE U.S. ECONOMY, depend on our ability to get customers to spend money. And yet the resources we have to accomplish that Herculean task get thinner every day. I don’t have to tell you, it’s your reality: Margins get tight and the marketing budget is the first to go.

And yet there are brands out there doing it well. Each of us can learn from every move they make—no matter what our category. Just watch and think: How does that great idea translate to banking? Or tourism? Or healthcare? Or retirement living? Or widgit making? There is always a parallel because the real change is in consumer behavior. And that is relevant to all of us, no matter what the business line.

Take, for instance, the move to private label, or “house” brands. In a recent New Economy Consumer survey, eight out of ten consumers said “house” brands offer good value; four in ten report buying more in the last three months than ever before. Great information if you are in a position to develop a new packaged goods line. (Publix is rocking the house with theirs.) But can you take this idea and apply it to your business?

Home furnishings direct marketer Grandin Road did—and the move didn’t require a single change in product offering. By simply designating some products in their line as “GrandinValues” (and denoting these with a GV logo), online shoppers can get “exclusive, designer-inspired styles, at irresistibly low prices.” There’s a brand within a brand.

Grandin Road "Grand Value" Ad

Our client, Yesterdays Restaurant and Tavern, has a different—but very compelling—spin on it. In addition to the “based on what’s in season” daily specials for which this local eatery has become known, they now offer a designated Blue Plate Special for lunch and dinner every weekday. Value-based at $6.99 for an entrée, two sides and iced tea, it’s comfort food (another biggie in this economy) at a price you can afford. We are promoting the Blue Plate Special heavily this first quarter, positioning it as a high quality, low cost alternative to other restaurant options.

Still from Yesterday's Blue Plate TV

This kind of thinking is a great way to sustain your brand’s equity through a down economy while providing customers with an option they can feel good about.

What opportunities do you have to promote a more basic version of your core offering?




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