follow us

How To Thrive in this Economy

March 17, 2008

For the past several months I have been addressing the need to target market. I came across some suggestions on this topic from a New York  consultant with Design Management Company, Lloyd Princeton, for the interior design and home furnishing market, that I believe will be most helpful when planning which customers you should plan to target.

    He writes, “I recently attended the Luxury Summit, an annual meeting hosted by the Beverly Hills Chamber of Conference with a panel of experts that addressed the economic realities of consumers in today’s economy. As you might gather by the title, much of the focus was on the very high net-worth individuals who have money to spend. Fortunately, there are basic tenets that are useful for every category of consumer. First, what I learned:

       The customer who aspires, the person who shops at Nordstrom and stretches for purchases, will pull back from spending.

       If the downturn continues, the very top-end of consumer will pull back from spending, in solidarity for those who are less fortunate–but we are not there yet!

      Of 1,000,000 Platinum & Black American Express Card holders, a survey suggested that 84% of men and 70% of women will continue there current spending habits.

       The economic data can be confusing: Homes sales over $5mm are up, while BMW sales are 7% down.

     Wealth acquired in the last 15 years is most likely by people whose parents were raised during the Depression era and whose values instilled upon this recent wealthy set is about trust—they want to trust the people they are doing business with.

       Customers want to feel important!

What does this mean to you?

       Segment & Target your Audience–branding messages need to be specific to your target market.

       You must have confidence in these uncertain times.

       Emphasize Service– people with money are largely hiring for service, so highlight that aspect of your firm.

       Quality and Value–this is what people are paying for and this is what you must deliver.

      Move away from being a commodity and wait-list your services and distribution, create an atmosphere of exclusivity.

    A final note with reference to the Wall Street Journal article "Fortunate 400" on March 5th, page D1, about the nations top 400 taxpayers. Their portion of the national income has increased over 10% since 2005 and the amount of money required to qualify for this list has tripled since 1992. This means that the number of people who can afford interior design services and home furnishings products continues to rise, not fall, with the economy. Think about it and focus your attention accordingly.

    Clearly, Mr. Princeton is speaking to the interior design community, but there are certainly aspects of this article that you can apply to your business.

     Primarily segment and target your audience, reminding them that you provide quality furniture for an excellent value and superior service.

    Create trust in your customer base and deliver exactly what you promise. Don’t pull back on your service or quality during these times and maintain your confidence. You will be rewarded.

    These are my Outside Views.

     Write a comment below, I would love to hear your Outside Views.