Do Marketers Feel Your Pain?

I have blogged about the need for marketers to adjust their messages and approaches based on the sorry state of the economy.

Do I say this because I think we should wallow in depressing topics and remind people of how bad things are?  Certainly not.  Do we want to feed into a cycle of fear and panic, as some say the major news organizations are doing?

No, I am not saying that at all.  After all, marketing, especially advertising, is to a large degree about escapism and feeding into hopes and dreams for a better way.

But it is difficult to connect with people if you are indifferent to their needs and experiences.  Messages and tactics that are tone deaf to the pain people are going through can turn them off and show that you don't care.

Above and beyond that, there are a variety of drivers behind buying behavior and, as conditions change, you may need to find different levers.  Clearly, buying for status and performance – bling for bling's sake – has taken somewhat of a hiatus.  See my post, which relates to how the tone has changed in tech PR.

Having said all this, I thought I'd do a reality check to see if PR folks are adjusting the language in their press releases to reflect the realities of the day.  I attempted to investigate the question through a series of searches as described below (I know the exercise might not be rigorously scientific but I thought it might shed some light and make for an interesting post).

I ran two searches using Factiva, across the press release wires from yesterday to find out how many mentioned "economy" or "economic," and compared this with the results using the same search terms for the second Tuesday in April 2006 (4/1//2006) – a time well in advance of the current mess.

I also searched for occurrences of the terms "cost effective" OR "low cost" OR value OR ROI to compare numbers for the same days.  I tracked the total number of releases for each day to account for differences in volumes, and factored this in by stating the numbers as percentages.

Here are the results – the upshot is I think we have some work to do.

 

 4/11/2006

4/14/2009

PRs mentioning value

26%

30%

PRs mentioning economy

12%

19%

 

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