As Public Relations consultants we not only have to promote our clients through various media platforms, we also have to consult about how a business can maximise sales through other facets and understanding the needs of the target audience is of course vital.
Since the beginning of the year we’ve undertaken a lot of research to understand the demands of the 2012 post-recession consumer and it has returned a lot of interesting facts that every business in every sector should take heed of.
Market researchers, industry experts and enthusiasts alike have all created their own forecasts for what 2012 holds but what is evidently clear throughout the research is that the majority of predictions have a similar, if not identical, theme. Many predict a prosperous year ahead for the large majority of industry sectors but concurrently agree that for this to happen in a post-recession market, businesses will have to shape their services and approach around the purchasing habits of a more tech-savvy and time, price and quality-conscious consumer.
Many of the forecasts predict that the new breed of post-recession consumer will demand premium and quality products at reasonable prices, with an after-care service to match. They will shop with ethical, environmental and community principles firmly in mind, but also demand convenience and hyper-localism. In summary, consumers are going to shape, more than ever, the way that businesses operate, and those that don’t adhere run the risk of losing business to competitors and seeing their profits tumble.
One thing that is clear is that brand loyalty can no longer be taken for granted. The new consumer is evidently on the lookout for the best return on investment and where they get it isn’t, in comparison, as important as it was once perceived to be. So, as obvious as it may sound, as well as ensuring that quality control standards are consistently high, businesses need to align their prices with those of their competitors, or as close as possible while retaining affordable profit margins.
On the customer service side, social media platforms will play an important role so businesses are advised to set-up and closely mange profiles if they haven’t already done so. Not only do these channels provide a quick and simple means for customers to give feedback, they also helps them to engage and feel aligned with the businesses at hand – which is one way of helping to combat, or at least reduce, the brand loyalty issue.
Much of this may seem like common business sense but it certainly highlights the importance of businesses understanding their customers and target audience and reacting suitably, ensuring that they don’t lose business to competitors. Those that sit back and rest on their laurels and past successes are putting their businesses in jeopardy. For those that adapt to the new consumer, 2012 may certainly turn out to be a prosperous year.
Punch Communications is a PR, social media and SEO agency, offering integrated or single campaigns including trade and consumer online PR. For more information about Punch Communications please visit www.punchcomms.com