2013: Marketing to the Fiscal Cliff

As 2012 draws to a close and 2013 appears on the horizon, one big topic for 2013 will be the pending “Fiscal Cliff” of increased taxes. This is not necessarily a time of doom and gloom, but an opportunity. Many companies will remain on the same path, while smart marketers will adjust to the changes in the marketplace. Potential fallouts (if Congress is not able to fix the problem) are increased taxes and decreased spending. Discretionary spending probably will decline, and consumers will be tighter with their money. Online, consumers are probably more likely to take longer to make a purchase and will click on more links and ads before buying. Additionally, Average Order Value (AOV) could take a hit as consumers might purchase what is needed and not needed/ wanted. How do you make lemonade?

Despite the Internet being approximately 20 years old, it still works with the same premise of garbage in -> garbage out. From an end user perspective, relevancy is still the gold standard. In direct response marketing, providing a relevant advertisement will ensure that your company has a chance to service a potential client at the precise time of need. To achieve this, review how your Google and Yahoo! Bing accounts are structured and how customers search. Maybe your company needs another account to handle meta data searches (such as model numbers or SKUs). Additionally, a review of landing pages to ensure that all ads are using the most relevant landing page would also be a good exercise.

The 4P’s still apply and promotions are king. Consumers will be increasingly looking for and demand promotions. Free shipping is now standard. Can your company offer “no additional taxes” by offering a “rebate” on local taxes? What about a price match guarantee which covers any regular online and offline retailer? Price match is complicated, and many retailers have found that 3rd party verification services are useful. Promotions can also be differentiators: are there promotions which the competition is not using which your company can use?

If you had to go through a corn maze to get into the mall, would you bother even trying to shop there? Likewise, online stores should be scrutinized for stumbling blocks and pot holes which slow down consumers from completing their purchase. Simplicity and guideposts can set your website apart from the competition: show consumers where they are and cut the unnecessary fluff which might distract from the checkout process. The ultimate goal is to efficiently get the customer to the “Thank you for your order”. Many online stores do not pay attention to their checkout process, and this is reflected in their lower than anticipated sales.

2013 is an opportunity – grab it by the horns and run with it. If you are not constantly working to improve, then you are falling behind everyone else who is.

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