A Consumers Perspective on Advertising

As I went through my daily cruise through some of the various financial internet sites which interested me this morning, I came upon this headline. “Retailers report steep sales declines in October; Wal-Mart was among the few exceptions.” The article went on to say this, “ the nation’s retailers saw their sales plummet last month to what is likely the weakest October level in decades, as the financial crisis and mounting layoffs left shoppers too scared to shop.”

Folks, economists tell us that our nations economic condition has rapidly deteriorated in the course of a few months, contracting at a 0.3 percent pace in the July to September quarter which signals the onset of a likely recession. These same experts say that this is the worse showing since the recession in 2001, and reflected a massive pull back by consumers. And it may only get worse!

The unemployment rate now at 6.1 percent is expected to climb to 6.3 percent when the government brings out it’s October jobs report on Friday, November 8th.

What does this type financial news mean? It means that as American consumers (you and I) watch our jobs disappear and our wealth shrink, we will most likely take stock of our personal financial condition and scale back our spending.

Folks make no mistake, this is prudent, responsible and necessary behavior, but it also darkens the outlook for the coming holiday season and panics all who are directly involved in the retail industry. Will everyone in retail survive a severe recession that some of the most pessimistic among us say has the potential to be the worse in our lifetime. Not hardly, because as in every aspect of life only the strongest survive the most difficult of times.

So what encouragement and advice can I give you today if you have a retail business and you’re struggling to make ends meet and keep the wolf from howling at your door ? Two simple suggestions. One, be alert to find areas in your business where you may be able to cut expenses. Gas, electric, water and all types of business supplies, and labor should be scrutinized. Take a keen look at all these areas and make adjustments where necessary. As someone once said…. “Save a dollar here and a dollar there and soon you will be talking big bucks.” Secondly, and this may totally go against all your business intuition. Continue to, and if possible increase your advertising budget. Say what? Business owner, I believe that to not heed this suggestion is a recipe for failure. And I don’t give this advice because I am some kind of marketing genius, but I do know that even in the worst of times I’m still a consumer who has daily needs.

So when the economy catches the flu and my financial condition takes a downward turn (and I don’t believe I’m any different from most) I try my best to get the most bang for my limited bucks, and look for the best deals or bargains.

In the best of times I may sacrifice money for convenience, but during difficult times I will go out of my way to save and that is where advertising pays off. I want to find the best price which means that I frequent the establishments which promote their sale items, specials, and other bargains. Mr. or Mrs. business owner make no mistake, it’s in the most of difficult times that your advertising dollar will make the greatest impact on your bottom line.