Yes, the news is grim. But we know that now is the time for marketers to strengthen the relationships they have with their customers. Managing customer churn is a top priority for many companies today and it can and should be done, even in these uncertain times.
Here are a few success stories that emerged from the Depression. We hope they spark ideas for your brand:
1. Sponsored Content
You’ve undoubtedly heard how Proct3r & Gamble developed several Depression-era radio series that were sponsored by two of their soap brands. The programming earned the nickname “Soap Operas.” One company-owned series (As The World Turns) moved to television and had a 54-year run. Fifty-four years! The media landscape has changed, but creating relatable content remains an opportunity to connect with customers, especially when the content is delivered for free over the channels your audience uses. Plus, there are so many ways to leverage technology to create individualized experiences (compared to the days of radio).
According to a survey of the American brewing industry,
Eight of the 10 largest brewers in the U.S. started before Prohibition. Those brands survived an economic disaster and several years when their products were illegal! To survive, some breweries, like Yuengling Brewery, created near-beer and opened dairies to diversify their revenue stream by using their assets for different products. Help your customers find new uses for old things or roll out completely new products.
3. Affordable Luxury
The “lipstick effect,” where consumers substitute small luxurious purchases for large extravagant expenditures, was first identified during the Depression and was noted again during World War 2 and several other economic downturns. Connect your brand with consumers by providing little luxuries.
4. Diversified Price Points
General Motors revolutionized the idea of owning a car by offering a variety of models, prices, inventory, parts, and extended credit to their customers. Brands who are able to offer a range of products at multiple price points can deliver a long-term customer life cycle — from entry-level to aspirational.
5. Price Discounts and Giveaways
Movie theaters cut prices in half, and created double features – two movies for the price of half of one! In-person giveaways motivated more people to get to the theater. These measures kept content creators – er, movie studios – busier than ever. There are two concepts here: simple price cuts and giveaway promotions tied to content that audiences crave.
By analyzing how your customer base engages with your brand, you may be able to determine novel ways to meet them with relevant offers.