Friday, November 27, 2009

Does your Post-Consumer business have a lifestyle coach for your clients?

If 70% of our economy is based on consumer products (and I think food, shelter and clothing are included in that category) then we are going to continue to buy plenty of stuff, it's just going to be a different kind of stuff.

BEA says personal wage earnings are up, those results must come from some world I can't see. If 500,000 people lost their jobs last month and there have been no new jobs in a year, where is the wage growth coming from? Maybe those pesky banker's bonuses have driven up the earnings in gross dollars.

If the incomes of U.S. citizens and residents are down 20% or more (not counting the losses in your savings and real estate), it follows that we will be spending 20% less. We will continue to spend on what we deem to be "essential" to a rational modern lifestyle. We haven't completely made up our minds about what defines a rational modern lifestyle, but we will.

I am sure that only a very select group of Americans are reading the Robb Report (The global luxury source)  to define rational modern lifestyle. But power to those who have more money than sense. (Until the revolution, and don't think it's not coming, history tells us otherwise. Just pray that it is peaceful)

I digress, so let's move on to the central theme of this posting.

I choose to define post-consumerism products/services as something necessary to carry on a rational modern lifestyle, they are not necessarily product  made from recycled materials or a "green service". (Although that is a good idea).If you are selling a post-consumer product or service what added value can propose to your potential buyers
How about a Post-Consumer lifestyle coach for your clients?

If your product and service sales force doesn't include lifestyle coaching services, it ought to. Potential post consumerists number over 300 Million in the U.S. alone. Many of us are casting about for someone to show us how to reset our lives and live rationally without moving into a cave and eating raw roots and tubers.

So here goes, five good reasons for adding a post-consumerism lifestyle coach to your small business retinue.

1. It's a about being positive and upbeat. Hey, we can help. use our product to live better!
2. It's about moving forward and not being left behind waiting for things to return to normal. Frugality is the new normal!
3. It's about being rational. If your product or service can lead to a more sustainable world, then go for it.
4. It can satisfy your need to do good while getting rich! I never worried about making money as long as my products and services helped others to live better.
5. It's about the money. Extracting a little extra from happy clients is what capitalism should be about.

Think I'm crazy? The other day I was talking to Bill Inglis of Inglis Homes LLC in Phoenix. The core values of Bill's company are sustainability, renewability, responsibility, and affordability. (Sounds post-consumeristic to me). When I suggested a lifestyle coach as part of his services, he laughed and said that he had just added one to his service consultancy.

PS Dubai has asked the banks to delay repayment of $60 Billion of their debt, so don't say the world hasn't changed!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The times, they ARE a changing. Back to basics and the "New" Consumerism.

I apologize for staycating and missing last weeks blog, but here is today's.

Parade Magazine, not the bastion of negative thinking nor teh hot bed of radical thought reported on the economic crisis and its effects on common Americans.

How the Economic Crisis Changed Us
by Michael J. Berland and Douglas E. Schoen
published: 11/01/2009

The Recession Hits Home  
  • 79% have personally felt its impact
  • 42% delayed or canceled their vacations
  • 27% pursued extra work to make money
Americans See Benefits, Too  
  • 52% are forming stronger bonds with spouses
  • 63% have become more do-it-yourself
  • 30% are volunteering more for charities
The first numbers aught get the attention of government leaders and market makers. The second set aught to get the attention of all of us. My postings about post-consumerism over the last few months have been pointing out indicators of a change in the way ordianry Americans are going about adjustign to the new economic relaities.

Humans as a species are adaptive, and we Ameircans are especially receptive to change.

Over the last two decades we have gotten way too wealthy and accustomed to having easy times.

It appears with these difficult times we are looking for what's important, and the advertisers have inevitably figured that out. If you google "back to basics" you will get 15M plus hits, by the time you read this, the number will be higher.

I'll grant that "back to basics" as a phrase has been around for a long time and it resonates with us, but  "New" Consumerism as a term for scaling back and shopping around for deals, strikes me as kind of weird.

"New" consumerism is the new normal. Yikes.

I really liked the Allstate ads for back to basics of spending more time with family and friends, finding pleasure in simple things. Now we are faced with the "new normal", spending our time in stores searching out the best deals. In this model just run to WalMart as they price compare. I do too: I know that this week milk and soymilk are cheaper at Safeway than at Sam's and that wine on sale (as it always is) at Safeway is way cheaper than Sam's.  But if we follow the new normal our shopping time will be increased and advertisers will be assured at work trying to find new ways for us to part with our cash once we hit the inside of the mall.

But we can be assured that AARP is on the ball: The 10 commandments of new conumerism were posted in the e bulletin

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Best post crash business: Travel to Washignton DC.

The best post crash business is Hotels in and around Washington DC and the airlines that serve DC.

Every hick mayor and city manager and their official posses have been descending on Washington DC for the past six months or so.  Wink, wink, trying to make sure they get their piece of the stimulus pie. Our hick mayor has burnt the city travel budget in four months of DC sightseeing. My guess the 4000 college and university presidents in the United Sates and US Samoa have also done their best to help the DC service industry rebound.

With the massive influx of money, DC cab drivers might be called on to restart the consumer wave rolling again!

What they should be doing is trying to balance their city budgets with a dose of reality. What I have observed around here are government officials with their heads in the sand or up their _____ peaking out their navels, waiting for the recovery to begin.

What recovery, as far as I know 15% of American's are without work and deeply in debt and the vast majority of American households are down 10-40% in their earnings while fundamental household costs of necessary stuff like healthcare and heat and electricity goes up.

Why can't our leaders get their heads out of the sand? Because everything they have been taught and observed revolves around buying stuff. George Carlin pray for us!

If 100% of our income goes to cover basic costs (some extra for food and clothing maybe) and our savings are a few thousand a year, how can we can spend more without getting the country further in the hole.

My suggestion: get over having stuff, and begin to save, and that includes the federal government (Save, for crying out loud!)

When we save enough to feel comfortable, then we can begin to figure out how to spend our incomes. I think we will spend them on common good issues, and not buying useless crap made in China.