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Monday, January 2, 2012

The reconciliation of 2011

Observation:   While on vacation over the holidays, I had time to think about how we could define “the year in consumers.”  The word that kept coming to mind was reconciliation.

Consumers spent much of 2007 through 2010 in various states of shock, fear and denial.  While a robust recovery still escapes the U.S. economy, a modest one is underway, and the economic temperature has at least stabilized.  People have had the chance to get used to this new set of economic realities, and manage their household finances accordingly.  In other words, by 2011, many people had reconciled their budget with the new financial landscape.

Implications:   Reconciliation means balancing the checking account… making sure your money is accounted for and you know where you stand.  Part of this process means defining one’s spending habits as either needs or wants, and prioritizing accordingly.  (By the way, not everything the consumer classifies as a need is truly a need… and many of their wants could, at one time, have been defined as a need!)

Consumers have reconsidered how they define value.  That makes it a good time for companies to reconsider their value proposition!  Have you taken a good look, lately, at the value proposition of your company, products or services?  Has your marketing strategy been altered to keep-up with the way consumers now contemplate spending money in your category?

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

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