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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The big "If"

Recently, I read yet another story suggesting that consumers were coiling-back into their more cautious spending stance.  This time, the article came from the Lempert Report (click here to see it), and it blamed the behavior on uncertain economic prospects.

Implications:    Over the past few months, I've had the chance to interview several consumers about how they're feeling right now.  My questions have been general, and the responses have been varied.  Here in my state (Minnesota), folks are talking about how the budget battle that shut-down our state government became hostile enough to make national headlines... and how it's a scenario being played out in different ways from California to Florida.  Indeed, it is happening at the federal level, too, as both parties argue their points for the budget-slash-debt ceiling-slash-tax bill.  Folks are unsure about the number and type of military conflicts the U.S. is currently involved with.  They're not confident about gas prices, jobs, or the future of healthcare.  And the big “If,” of course, is whether the recovery will prevail or whether the recession will again rear its ugly face.

Access to certainty is particularly valued in uncertain times.  Is there anything about your product or service—or the way you sell it—that can be made less mysterious, more transparent… more certain?

That one thing will get you mileage with consumers who are not so sure right now.  

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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