The Other Side of the Economy

Thumbing through my new issue of the Robb Report, (today’s “Wish Book” for men), my eye was drawn to the article about a $50,000 mattress.

The article caught my eye because Linda, my wife, had just purchased a couple of new mattresses for one of our guest rooms, and a wave of fear momentarily ran through my body before monetary reality helped me “know” her credit card didn’t go that high and such a purchase was impossible. In any event, once captured by the article, I read it.

While it is always interesting to muse on the thought that the old $50,000 record price had been replaced by a $75,000 version, this was not the point that my mind began to focus on. Instead, it was the main lesson of the entire magazine. There are two economies going on in the world simultaneously. One is the economy of higher gas prices that spoil the whole day of many Americans who get depressed every time they fill up. The other, is the economy of the ‘Affluent,’ as marketing guru Dan Kennedy, labels the other group of people in the newsletter he writes on the topic each month.

There have always been economic differences in this country, and the world for that matter. We might wish that it weren’t true, but pretending otherwise is simply not to face the truth. It is also not the target of this article.

The point to focus on here is the lesson that, to the extent you can, now is the time to refocus your business on that group of people who can afford your products or services, or at least a certain segment of your offerings. If you don’t have a product or service that is targeted to this group, you should create one so that at least one area of your business is less affected by the weak side of the economy.

Here are some examples to consider:

· A doctor could have a high-end portion of his practice that offered special service and extreme physical checkups

· A car dealership could offer a concierge level for its high-end clients that had free car use, special waiting rooms, client appreciation days, and a breakfast club

· A funeral home could offer a special offering of wakes that included catering service, or special spots to spread ashes like the top of the world

· A law firm could provide total annual service for a flat fee or a monthly continuity program. The same for a CPA or other professionals

· Retail stores could slot their offerings so a mattress company could have regular mattresses, but also a “behind the velvet ropes” display of the $50,000 mattress. . (Similar to the way Vegas Casinos display the $1,000,000 cash prize)

· A dry cleaner could offer pick up and delivery for customers of its monthly “Inner Circle”

· A barber shop could have a monthly membership club that offered special prices and services

· A pizza restaurant could offer “all Organic” or a Gourmet membership level

And in case you haven’t guessed, all of these examples have been done, and done successfully. How can you do it in your business? What way can you create a level of service or a higher price line of products that appeals to the economic group that is still spending? Answer this question for yourself and the price of gas won’t depress you as much.