Adapting to the culture of "less"

Share this content:
Marian Salzman
Marian Salzman

 

American consumers are waking to a harsh reality: We, our wallets and our natural resources are overextended, over­weight and overwhelmed. The reaction is to pull back and say, “less.” The push away from mega-consumption is today's mega-trend.

 

Following the lead of Real Simple, a maga­zine that touts the organization, efficiency and simplification of your life with a focus on home, we seek ways to organize, priori­tize and reduce our overall consumption, especially of the unnecessary stuff.

Responsible consumerism has always been visible on the fringes, but the green move­ment and support for local markets has now taken root in a mass fashion, gaining the attention of consumers in places other than highly populated urban areas. Farmers and producers of local goods can benefit from this turn of the tide, as consumers do more shopping closer to home. This also is not a bad time to be selling low-cost, travel-free forms of entertainment.

The millennial generation is also driving this focus on community. Raised with access to both their parents' disposable incomes and the Internet, members of this genera­tion are globally and technologically savvier than any before them. This educated, earnest group seeks more than flash; it understands global issues and seeks to make changes in their own communities. When using their purchasing power, they rely on grassroots approaches, use social networking tools to swap product experiences and reviews, and discriminate based on research rather than reactions to brands or campaigns.

Even brands known for their ethical busi­ness practices or environmental friendliness — Ikea, Whole Foods or American Apparel, for example — will have issues because of the new emphasis on less. We will still con­sume. But increasingly, we do so thoughtfully — weighing cost vs. value, reading labels, choosing recyclable materials over plastic, researching low-energy appliances or buying from local vendors. Successful marketers will appeal to this restrained consumer with thoughtfully researched products.

Consumers are redefining how we relate with what we purchase and how we spread the word about our acquisition. Lack of pre­tension is a driver of curiosity. Consumers want genuine innovation, not froth.

Marketers must find new ways of getting their products onto consumers' radars, rein­venting their game plan to keep up with this shifting landscape. While “want” drove the last decade, “need” is the new litmus test. Marketing cannot sustain itself in this envi­ronment as it has in the past, by inventing desire. It's a brave new world — where less is more.

marian.salzman@porternovelli.com

close

Next Article in Multichannel Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

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