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Marketing during a recovery.

Over the past two years I've offered points of view on ways marketers can tailor message, media and product strategies to win share during the Great Recession.

Recent economic indicators – namely steadying home prices, declining unemployment claims and increasing consumer spending – point toward a slow but steady recovery.

Now we must summon the power of optimism and begin thinking about marketing strategies for the Great Recovery. An article in this month's Harvard Business Review offers two good starting points:

  1. Withdraw recession-pricing tactics. It's time to phase out those lower-margin price-leaders and promotions (two-for-one, 18oz size for the price of 12oz, kids eat free).  If your brand cannot command a marginal price increase, then you must question if you really have a brand.  After all, the role of branding is to be able to charge a slight premium in exchange for intangible emotional values or a tangible point of difference.
  2. Introduce new premium products.  I've written about the fallacy of the "new normal."  It always sounds dreamy, yet always gets trumped by the "pleasure revenge."  As paychecks become more secure and 401k plans once again conjur a sense of wealth, consumers will likely seek their hard-earned reward.
It would be wise to not abandon all strategies that worked during the recession.  For example, in earlier posts I wrote about marketers investing more in product innovation to increase differentiation and demand; developing programs to listen to and serve their best customers; or rethinking old rules and using interactive for branding, not just transactions.  These are sounds strategies during good times  as well.