Published: May 28, 2009
Commerce Department officials announced last month that the nation’s GDP fell more during the third quarter than at any time since the Internet bubble shriveled; logically, a precipitous drop in consumer spending is largely responsible. And yes, economists seem to agree that the fourth quarter numbers will be worse. But hope springs eternal: As George Carlin famously observed, “buying things” continues to serve as “the only true lasting American value that’s left.” In other words, consumption will inevitably bounce back, and when it does, America’s corporate illuminati should continue to tailor their products and marketing to an evolving marketplace.
Aside from recession-induced financial realities—rising unemployment and fear of layoffs tend to tighten wallets—a key element shaping today’s marketing and product development landscape is the nation’s blossoming segment of non-white consumers. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by the year 2042, today’s minorities will actually compose the majority of a growing population; these are consumers to whom you will increasingly market your product. This is no closely guarded secret—witness Miller Brewing Co.’s lime-flavored Miller Chill, rolled out last year, and McDonald’s bilingual website, launched at the turn of the millennium.
Granted, companies have been scaling back their advertising budgets as economic downturn became full-blown recession, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t scrutinize and refine your company’s approach as you ride out the storm. Savvy marketing execs act upon emerging trends and attempt to anticipate demographics shifts before they’re fully realized—and the slumping consumer marketplace provides a prime opportunity to do just this.
Look for crossover potential in your products; if you find it, develop your marketing and revise your approach to ad placement to capitalize upon this when spending rebounds. Leading C-levels whose current customer base comprises a sizeable percentage of non-whites have long since targeted those markets. If you haven’t begun to consider such campaigns, you may be missing out on a promising source of future sales growth.
These are challenging days where innovative, freeform thinking is essential to survival (who hasn’t been asked by a boss to “do more with less” at this point?). Use this time to make sure your house is clean—so that when consumers do return, you’re positioned to appeal to them in a way you never have. In broader terms, despair not—there are many ways to strengthen your business model even as your bottom line bends.
A year ago, two of my best friends—a married couple, in their 30s, with children—decided to quit their jobs and spend some time doing volunteer work. After a lot of research and deliberation, they chose an intentional community in Georgia where they would be able to work with refugees.
Job creation is one of the key reasons cited by President Trump for pulling out of the Paris Agreement.
Specifically, coal jobs:
"The current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America," the President said in his remarks announcing the decision.
In recent years, green has proved a popular concept among consumers,with many buyers, especially the millennial set, ready and willing to pay more for sustainable, environmentally friendly products. That’s contributed to the rise of careers in corporate sustainability, with employees who hold these jobs managing production and facilities to ensure the least wasteful business practices are used.
“New hire’s remorse”—at least under this name—is a recent phenomenon that we broached last week. Also called “shift shock,” it arises when an employee regrets taking a job because it isn’t the right fit or is completely different from what was expected.