As we step bravely into 2012, I believe it is time for every marketing professional to embrace Positive Marketing. The Irish psyche has been on a three year endurance test on its sense of self. From interest rates to negative equity, IMF deals to burning mysterious bond holders there has been a slow erosion of the confidence we had during the Celtic tiger. While we can all probably agree it was a time of madness (uncensored shopping and consumer indulgence), it was also a time where, for once, the Irish had a collective belief system of “we can achieve anything”.
The media has a huge part to play in the dissemination of negative news stories on a daily basis. For the past year, I have found I have had to limit my intake of various media as a new business start-up so that I do not get lost in a sea of unease. While it is important to understand the challenges people face and acknowledge the immense burden of our national debt on each individual, I do not believe it is necessary to burden us with this knowledge with such fervour.
As marketers we have the unique ability to influence the beautiful minds of the Irish consumers. With €508.3m* spent in H1 2011 alone in various advertising mediums, we have huge opportunity to use that spend to bring a positive message that can restore the confidence of the Irish people. According to Maureen Gaffney**, it is recommended that people think three positive thoughts to every one negative thought to achieve the minimum platform needed to just to stay well and manage life in an average way. I believe there is an opportunity for each individual marketing manager to feed positively into the minds and hearts of the Irish consumer.
Over the last number of years we have all seen the reams of data about consumer behaviour. We have all read the monthly data on the ebb and flow of consumer confidence. We are all fully aware that consumers have reduced incomes, are cash poor, looking for deals and are feeling worried about the on-going budgets that we face over the next couple of years. What we now need to agree on, is not only to deal with where consumers are now but help shape a vision of where we want them to be. To begin to use our media spend to mould and foster a sense of belief in ourselves again. The benefits of consumer confidence are obvious for our brands so we need each play our individual part in making this happen with conscious consideration of “how will this make my consumer feel long term”.
So let us make this our New Year’s Revolution. I am aware that we all face the commercial realities of the P+L and the need to increase sales and satisfy the current consumer reality. We need to satisfy these needs by promoting value and use our recession understanding as means to drive sales. What we also need is to be conscious of the part we each play in determining the future confidence of our nation and that we can also build this into our current media messages. As Mohandas Gandhi so eloquently said “We must become the change we want to see in the world”.
Muireann Fitzmaurice, MF Marketing Consultancy
Ph: 0868932768 Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.mfconsultancy.ie