Marketing styles change to fit economy

March 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Trying to sell anything in this economy is no easy task. Marketing experts say even people with steady jobs are hanging on to their money. Now there are new ways businesses, big and small, are trying to convince us to spend.

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"There's one place you can go to live smarter. To eat better without spending more," says a Safeway television ad.

The marketing message nowadays is, "We feel your pain."

"I think consumers are looking to weigh the value of every possible dollar spent," says Alle Aufderhaar, from Ogilvy One.

Advertising and marketing firm, Ogilvy One, has come out with a handbook for marketing in a recession.

"It's a difficult time to be a marketer but there's also tremendous opportunity for smart marketers," says Aufderhaar.

Hyundai is taking a bold step to emblazon its brand. If you lose your job, it promises to make your payments for three months or you can just return the car. They're trying anything to get consumers to loosen the grip on their cash.

"I don't know why, it's just that we're very nervous about what's going to happen in the future," says Debbie Cowie, a consumer.

In the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, a wine store says people are drinking a lot in this recession, but with lower standards. And Gigi Fiorucci, an owner at Sotto Mare Oysteria, is offering fixed price meals to keep his customers from ordering just the salad.

"They're buying our fish and taking it home," says Fiorucci.

Some consumers still want to go out, but can't afford the baby sitter.

"If the kids can eat with us and it is kid friendly food, and kid atmosphere and family friendly prices," says Cornelius Lowenstein, a consumer.

So Pasta Pomodoro is offering specials five days a week including Tuesday when kids eat free.

Nowadays the business plan isn't about making lots of money. It's all geared toward survival.

"You know we're just looking to stay here next year, be here next year," says Frank Bumbalo, the Pomodoro Restaurant general manager.

Ogilvy One says the key to getting consumers to buy is to show them how they can do more with less.

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