The past three years of the "Great Recession" have been grim for companies and consumers alike. But instead of crying into their oatmeal every morning over "failed" campaigns, marketers need to tune in to the real consumers, not the personas they've been marketing to.
Enter "Spend Shift: How the Post-Crisis Values Revolution Is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell and Live," by John Gerzema, Chief Insights Officer of Young & Rubicam, and Michael D'Antonio, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author. Gerzema and D'Antonio traveled across the country, collecting the success stories of businesses—both big and small—that responded to consumers' shift toward more thoughtful, values-driven spending. The authors write, "In this way, each dollar resembles a vote and everyday is Election Day for companies that provide goods and services."
According to Gerzema and D'Antonio, "55 percent of all Americans are fully part of this undeclared [Spend Shift] movement." Furthermore, that percentage can be broken into five value groups that began emerging before the "official" start of the recession. The five groups—Indestructible Spirit, Re-tooling, Liquid Life, Cooperative Consumerism and From Materialism to Material—are each represented in a chapter, along with a specific U.S. city and the businesses that address the value.
"Spend Shift" is not just a collection of feel-good success stories from businesses that figured out how to appeal to "spend shifters." The book also shares pertinent data from the BrandAsset Valuator (BAV), an ongoing study managed by Gerzema. BAV has data on 40,000 brands in more than 50 countries, as well as information on the purchasing and social attitudes of 17,000 Americans.
Esteemed marketing expert Philip Kotler writes in the foreword, "The lessons in this book are useful to anyone examining their business strategy after the crisis." Marketers, this includes you. Consider the spend shifters and what you need to do to regain their share of wallet.