BNET posted an article by Jeremy Quittner suggesting a new strategy. We are very familiar with “up-selling”, the practice of giving a product premium characteristics and a premium price too. There are success stories of luxury brands that began as basics all over the place. Think of what Starbucks has done to the 50-cent cup of coffee.
In this economy, down-selling might be a worthy strategy. Consumers may be spending again, but they’re doing so cautiously and with a newfound resolve to stick to a budget. If they’re giving up the bells and whistles in favor of more basic and affordable products, why not follow suit and take the “premium” out of your premium products?
It’s a much trickier proposition — that’s why. If you go too cheap, you risk, among other dangers, killing your profit margins and diluting your brand.
Ways to try this strategy:
Give Customers Something New
You could simplify an existing product by stripping it down to its essentials, or invent a completely new, cheaper product. Go to your customers for clues about what they’re looking for and what they’re willing to buy. Just make sure you don’t give them exactly what they say they want — your customers probably only know what’s already out there. It’s your job to figure out what’s new.
Pitch the Value
Marketing non-premium products in a down economy requires a different kind of sales pitch. Convey that they are still getting a valuable product, but it’s priced for this economy, and the value may not last. That way, customers get the message that you are looking out for their needs and you are still providing the high quality that they associate with your brand.
Know Your Brand
Down-selling customers won’t work for every company, particularly if your image depends on an air of high-end exclusivity to differentiate it from your competitors. Don’t cannibalize your core (business, products, brands or customer base) to stimulate sales in the short term without thinking long term and strategically.
When you are ready to introduce your new ideas, direct mail is a great way to test messages, approaches and innovations.