As consumers cut back, marketers offer “recession specials”

Earlier this week, comScore released the results of a study examining recent changes in consumer attitudes and perceptions about the state of the U.S. economy. The study found that consumers in all income segments are cutting back on spending due to concerns about the economy, and that they were doing so to an even greater extent in July 2008 than in April 2008.

So, what does this mean for search engine marketers?

Many consumers have become increasingly cost conscious and are turning to the Internet for pricing information. The survey findings revealed that nearly three out of four consumers believe the Internet has made it “a lot easier” or “somewhat easier” to find better, more useful pricing information.

In addition, 75 percent of respondents said that they believe the Internet will become an even more important channel for pricing information, with 41 percent of respondents saying it will be “a lot more important” and 34 percent of respondents saying it will be “somewhat more important” in the future.

Do you need some examples to drive this point home?

In New York, Andrew Jeffery of reports, “It appears the city that never sleeps has finally succumbed to the economic slowdown, and it’s not just the neon “Recession Special” sign outside Gray’s Papaya.”

In San Francisco, Liza Zimmerman of the S.F. Wine & Cocktail Examiner reviews a “Recession special: the Viansa 2007 Dolcetto is another well-executed example of using classic Mediterranean grapes on California soil.”

When Hyundai asked the Complex Blog to review their first Genesis offering touching down in the states, the company best known for econo-boxes “threw Complex the keys and we took this recession special for a ride.”

But wait! There’s more!

Go to the Rates and Registration Details page for SES Chicago 2008. Just like last year, there is an Early Bird Rate that enables you to save $200 if you register before November 21. But, unlike last year, there is also a “Recession Special,” which lets you save $600 if you register before September 26.

Recession%20special.jpg And if you want to appear as “sartorially challenged” as one SEM industry observer said “the brains of Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization are,” then turn up at SES Chicago wearing the “Recession Special Shirt” being offered by Ten Deep at According to the review, “Nothing like a nice, timely shirt that reflects things going on in today’s headlines.”

Of course, wearing such a shirt violates the dress code in the SES Speaker Guidelines, which states: “Business casual attire is recommended. Formal business attire is perfectly fine. If in doubt, overdress. You won’t feel out of place, as many speakers will also be in formal attire. How you look has an impact on how well the audience receives your presentation.”

It’s a classic dilemna for marketers: Follow the guidelines or take advantage of today’s headlines. What would I recommend? I’d advise you to jump on the “recession special” to save $600, but skip over the shirt. But, I should disclose that SES is a client. If you want to take more of a fashion risk, that’s a decision that you’ll have to make for yourself.

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