The New Normal Consumer: Setting Boundaries for Sales Success

This article was originally posted by Dana VanDen Heuvel over at MarketingSavant. MarketingSavant is a consulting-led B2B marketing firm specializing in helping businesses attain thought leadership in the markets they serve using social media, digital marketing, and content marketing.

new normal cosumer

Americans’ worries about maintaining their standard of living (51%), or being able to pay medical bills (43%) or losing their job (34%) in the next 12 months are among the highest Gallup has measured in the past 20 years, on par with the levels seen in 1991 and 1992.

What’s a marketer to do? Are people still spending money? (Yes, of course, they are!) What do we need to do to attract the New Normal buyer?

Set Boundaries

Consumers who feel a lack of control over circumstances seek boundaries — including physical borders, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Keisha Cutright of the University of Pennsylvania authored the research, which indicates that people who feel a lack of control seek tangible boundaries, such as frames around paintings, fences around yards, or prominent borders surrounding a firm’s logo. Moreover, boundaries can manifest in other ways, which marketers can use to their advantage.

  • Using boundaries and borders in printed material. Time Magazine has done this for years under the guise of “everything worth knowing fits in our red border.”
  • Add structure to your pricing and service offerings. Bundle, package, set parameters and leave less to interpretation.
  • Reduce uncertainty in terms and conditions and seek to reduce the randomness in working with your company.
  • Offer realistic guarantees that inspire confidence in your brand.
  • Logically organize your purchase or shopping experience for maximum sales. In Cutright’s experiment, she found the retail layouts with a disorganized structure led to lower purchase behavior than in stores with an organized or “bounded” structure.

TIME’s iconic red border symbolizes a bold, even arrogant idea. Everything inside that red border is worth knowing, and whatever is outside of it, well, not so much. That idea contains a concept that is even more essential today than it was when we first proposed it 87 years ago.

Look around your organization, look at your catalogs, your marketing materials for this year and other brand touchpoints. Are the bounded or unbounded? Organized?

Simple changes to add boundaries and structure to your offering could pay large dividends in the world of the New Normal consumer.

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