Monday, March 16, 2009

Marketing & Media in a Down Economy

On my drive into work this morning I heard on the radio that the popular morning show Today is making some adjustments to its content to better relate to its target audience during these less than stellar economic times. Today has been doing a "Where in the World is Matt Lauer" segment - showcasing exotic places all over the world. To be more practical given economic times, Today has decided to take a different approach.  Matt Lauer and the other Today folks will take road trips within the U.S. instead of traveling abroad. This is interesting because it is a way for msnbc to cut back on the show's production budget and also a way to better relate to its viewers and make the show more relevant to them. 

After hearing the news about Today, I got to thinking  about something my boss said recently about positioning and how not only is brand positioning about the company, its competitors and customer wants and needs...but it also must align with market conditions. Today is adjusting its content based on market conditions much like Target has adjusted their messaging to better reach out to people looking to shop at a better retailer but still get value. Target's "Fabuless" campaign conveys that point precisely. They haven't changed their position but have adjusted their messaging to better reflect that position given market conditions. 

With so many retailers going out of business and experiencing declining profits, maybe it's time for them to look at their brands and assess where they started, where they are and what can be done to refine the brand's appeal and messaging given today's market conditions.  Promotions may be helpful to reaching out to cash conscious consumers but in the long run will probably not be strong enough to sustain success for the retailers.

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