Fear, Loathing, and the Need to Define True Customer Value In 2023 – An Agency
Fear, Loathing, and the Need to Define True Customer Value In 2023

Uncertain times such as these suggest a rethink of how marketers approach brand messaging in 2023. Let’s start with an optimistic view. A recent Ipsos survey found that 64% of Americans are hopeful that 2023 will be better than 2022. Perhaps that’s why holiday sales rose 7.6% from the prior year. Underpinning that growth were two factors, the first unsurprising, the second critical to addressing marketing opportunities in the year ahead.

Retailers discounted heavily. Not a surprise, and not a tactic that should be universally pursued.
Consumers diversified their holiday spending to accommodate inflation — directing more dollars towards shared experience and festive gatherings.

While inflation has slowed (so-called ‘core inflation’ stands at 4.7%, more than double the Fed’s preferred level of 2%), its impact is clearly felt — particularly for grocery items — with prices increases of 12% year-over-year.

How Have Consumers Responded?

People are reevaluating where they shop and which items they choose to purchase. Short term, both discount retailers and private label brands benefit. Longer term, discretionary purchases are reevaluated. Consumption continues as Americans decide which products/services we value and which we can reduce or eliminate. In our world, that suggests that people are shopping harder, a continuation of two megatrends from the past decade: empowered consumers and omnichannel shoppers. Proof points: holiday season on-line sales were up 10.6% from prior year, while in-person spending rose 6.8%.

Stepping away from the sales register, the Chapman University Annual Survey of American Fears digs into our deeper concerns:

  • Corrupt government officials heads the list of concerns with 62.1% of Americans stating this is a significant problem. Forget political allegiance. These are cynical times.
  • Three of the top 10 fears revolve around war: use of nuclear weapons, use of biological weapons, and the USA being drawn into a third World War. These are end of days fears — with the potential to drive more nihilistic behavior.
  • Economic collapse and not having enough money for the future are in the mix. To be expected given inflation, perhaps overrepresented given low unemployment rates.
  • Pollution and its impact on drinking water and general food supply round out the top 10.

One last piece of troubling news. Experts predict that 2023 will be the tipping point year for AI messaging on-line. We have come full-circle with our Terminator moment. Fact and fiction becoming completely impossible to distinguish while being rapidly disseminated through social media.

How we see it:

  • American cynicism fuels American resourcefulness. Never underestimate the optimistic spirit that underlies our society. Americans, by habit, find a way forward.
  • Transparency and truth in all messaging is more critical than ever. Deceiving prospective customers has never been a successful long-term strategy. That said, earning customer trust is foundational. This is a good time to keep it real.
  • Omnichannel is all-important. Yes to brick-and-mortar experiences. Yes to ecommerce. Yes to live streaming shopping experiences. It’s not one channel or the other — it takes all to win in challenging times.
  • Value is every marketer’s mission to define. When discretionary spending overtakes impulse purchases, it’s essential that your brand, your product experience, and your customer contact points are all well defined and working in tandem to lift your voice above your competitors’.

An Agency creates brand love. We drive commerce through creativity — from a single project assignment to a fully integrated brand campaign. What we lack in overhead, we make up for in well-seasoned expertise. Get to the big idea faster by calling Michael Littman at 502.541-4454 or sending an email to michael@anagency.com.

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