Marketing During Inflation

Marketing During Inflation

I read a few interesting articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Harvard Business Review, and a few others recently about advertising during times of economic turmoil. I hope the insight will help you examine your marketing position during inflation. Each article offered wonderful tips but they all carried one common theme—redefine value. By making slight adjustments to your messaging you can redefine your value in the minds of your customers. Here are a few examples.

  • You may have noticed Walmart went from advertising food and clothing back to their basic branding message of “low price.” 
  • In the same theme of price, Mint Mobile, now owned by actor Ryan Reynolds, put out a series of videos using this catchy phrase, “We decided to deflate our prices because we don’t hate you.” 
  • The RV industry is hitting inflation head-on by reminding consumers they don’t need to spend money on flights and hotels. 
  • A Canadian Pizza chain is offering “a 12-month fixed-rate” on the price of their product. 

You will be amazed at how these same marketing theories in this Harvard Business Review article, written during the downturn of 2008, continue to apply to today.

There are two steps you can take to redefine your value. 

The first is to differentiate yourself from your competitor by educating your customers about your value. Home Depot did this decades ago. Their “You Can Do It, We Can Help” campaign helps people see themselves accomplishing home projects. What, I can save tons of money by laying carpet myself? Can I also be a drywall expert, a master painter, and a savvy carpenter? Yes, you can! Home Depot has positioned itself as a mentor. They will teach you how to do it and even sell or rent you the right tools so you do it correctly. 

Wayfair is positioned as the place where “You can create a space that’s all you on any budget.” Hey, that sounds like me! I’ll take a couch and loveseat, please!    

The second is to be a partner. Shoppers love businesses and brands to be their partners when times are good but especially during times of economic stress. Businesses that understand their needs and deliver value to customers not only win the battle but also win the war. 

A local construction company is really showing their customers they are a trusted partner. Yes, they explain, costs are up on nearly everything you need to renovate your home and the wait time to get a new refrigerator is months instead of days. This company is taking the initiative to educate customers and help them realistically prepare for the process. No one wants to hear a project is going to cost more and take longer but their customers appreciate knowing what to expect before they’re halfway through to learn the real truth.

How do your customers perceive the value of doing business with you? If you’re not sure what your customers need right now, ask them then start using your marketing to tell your story! 


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Paul Blair

About the Author : Paul Blair

Paul Blair serves as our Creative Services Director writing and producing many award-winning branding and public service campaigns for clients such as Bergstrom, Settlers Bank, Gunderson Life Celebration Centers, Window World, Chalmers Jewelers, Saint Vincent de Paul, The Healthy Place, Genesis Painting, Benjamin Plumbing and many, many more. His successful career at Mid-West Family Madison spans over thirty years.