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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recovery, now 33 months old, continues to have strong points and soft spots

Observation:   An article in today’s New York Times reminds us that just as the recession did not treat everyone equally, the economic recovery has both favorites and underdogs… driven by employment, geography, and industry category.  Click here to see that story.

Implications:   If you’re a business owner, manager or marketer, it remains critically important to tune-in to the customers you serve and aspire to serve—locally—more so than you focus on the national headlines of the day.  Just as the headlines out of Wall Street and Washington tended to be overly gloomy as we entered recession back in late 2007, the national news can be misleading during the recovery; while the country, as a whole, is gaining economic momentum, there are parts of the U.S. that are not feeling the upswing as much.  Further, because we are approaching an election, candidates are extremely critical of the current economic climate, and incumbents tend to be extremely positive about it.  Reality often lies somewhere in between.

In what ways can you determine how your local customers are feeling about their future prospects?  Could it be as simple as walking around the store, lobby or dealership… and asking folks how they’re doing?  Or might you pay closer attention to products and services you sell that are related—either directly or indirectly—to things like employment, the price of gas, or other household spending influences?  Could it be that a little primary research is in order?

Consumers can be a great source of information.  And they’re a source that’s very close to your cash register.

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

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