'Stop crying about the economy'

Sir Philip Green, CEO of fashion empire Arcadia has told retailers they should stop “crying” about the poor state of the economy and get on with it. Hear hear.

Rosie

Never one to mince his words, Sir Philip’s advice should be heeded by everyone in business.

Consumers might have less money to spend but if there’s one thing worse than being strapped for cash, it’s constantly being reminded of it.

Yes, businesses can all look back on the halcyon days of organic growth rolling in without anyone having to do much about it, but those days are behind us. What we’re experiencing is the new normal and the sooner we start looking ahead rather than comparing the current state of the economy to the past, the better.

As marketers your job is to sell optimism - both internally to the rest of the business and externally to consumers.

Sales, profit and growth cannot be built on optimism alone but it’s a start. Optimism makes consumers feel better, lightens the mood and naturally encourages progress. Pessimism merely holds you back and offers excuses for why a business isn’t doing better.

Our cover feature this week takes a look at the latest Chartered Institute of Marketing’s annual confidence monitor which shows that marketers are feeling optimistic about the coming year in a number of different ways.

Worryingly though, 40 per cent recognise the economic uncertainty but are not adjusting their marketing plans. This is staggering.

Consumers are not so stuck in the past and more than 83 per cent have changed shopping behaviour in the last year to maintain values within squeezed budgets, according to Sainsbury’s. They want to get more for less money without forgoing quality. Sainsbury’s says shoppers have developed “new fashioned values” and it set itself on focusing its marketing and businesses on satisfying those - not the values consumers held a few years ago.

The CIM also found that the majority expect their budget to be cut this year. Instead of whining and thinking about the multi-million budgets of years gone by, take Sir Philip’s advice - stop crying about it and do something. In the same way that consumers have adapted, marketers must change strategy and figure out how to get more marketing impact for less money without forgoing quality

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