Editorial: Marketers must adapt to new expectations

Share this content:
From the buzz around backyard gardening and DIY culture to the increasing popularity of coupons, ‘staycations' and fuel efficiency, it's clear that broke is the new black. And, with penny-pinching en vogue, some customers are easing into new market expectations.

Last week, The Conference Board announced its consumer confidence index vaulted to 34.5% in May as compared with last month. Many analysts, pointing to the subsequent rise of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, took it as a sign of a rosier future. However, the downward trend has not disappeared: US unemployment remains at a peak of 8.6% as of April and national public debt has risen $3.79 billion per day since September 2007.

While we may watch the stock market crawl back to a healthier average, it's undeniable that there are some long lean days of summer ahead. Businesses must manage their expenses, debts and credit lines while trying to figure out what consumers are spending money on and giving it to them at a sustainable profit — no small feat.

The US Postal Service summer sale on rates for direct mail and catalogs, which has discounts as deep as 30%, is the agency's latest attempt to address shrinking mail volume. In this week's issue, USPS SVP of customer relations Stephen Kearney was candid about the likelihood of a “major change in future mail volume.” He told DMNews the latest reduction in rates is a “big grand experiment” to impact trends in declining volume. Will marketers, who have in many cases moved to new prospecting technology and smaller mail budgets, return to previous behavior in time to truly impact the agency's financial health? Every business that is spending or innovating to stimulate growth in its market is fighting this same struggle.

Many may find overpaid Wharton MBAs with golf memberships and luxury cars at the roots of this recession. Certainly, investment professionals' promise of consistent market growth led to a false economy from which banks are now stumbling to recover. More at fault, I believe, was each individual's selfish belief in continued profit – regardless of how unrealistic. Continued wealth is an exciting fantasy. Think about credit card junkies: it's easier to shop with plastic and good intentions than an actual budget.

Marketers are often trapped by the expectation of continued increase. This quarter's response rates have to outstrip last quarter's. New creative must outperform the standard control. Click-through rates and page views must be up from week to week during a new campaign. In a climate of “broke,” there are some other metrics that I expect to take center stage. Market share, customer attrition rates and even the good old-fashioned quick ratio can play a considerable role in moving forward. What will your brand's next “big grand experiment” be?

Next Article in Direct Mail

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above