Marketing to Misers

September 4, 2011 Blog 4 comments

Ebenezer Scrooge
Ebenezer Scrooge may have more company this Christmas (image source)

Penny pinchers. Value-for-money shoppers. Bargain bin hunters.

Call them what you may, thrifty consumers have been around since time immemorial. The recent economic onslaught and accompanying rise in inflation will likely increase this group of discount shoppers. In a cash and job strapped situation, everybody – rich and poor alike – will pay more attention to their wallets.
Against such a backdrop, how should one adapt one’s marketing strategies? Here are some thoughts for consideration:

1) Improve consumer perceptions of your product/service value relative to price. This could be done by communicating dimensions that convey durability, quality, savings (eg utility bills), warranties or other similar benefits.

2) Match and mix complementary products/services while offering attractive discounts. This is especially useful when hot selling items are paired with slower movers. The more they buy, the more they can save!

3) Offer discounts but be selective in doing so. Focus on those that are more likely to be selected by consumers in a slower economy, eg your lower/medium range of products and services rather than premiumly priced items.

4) Provide options for service or product delivery that may sacrifice convenience for price. For example, customers willing to travel to a warehouse away from the city centre can pick up a product with a cheaper price.

5) Help customers to gain more bang for the buck. Other than offering your goods or services at a “value” pricing, look into your customer’s processes and see how using your product could reduce their costs.

6) Reward loyal customers even more when the going gets tough. This can be in the form of a wide range of specials: fire sales, hot deals, exclusive “members only” sales, discounts over discounts, and so on. Which bring me to my last point…

7) Aggressively recruit members when times are hard. To do so, reduce your cost of membership and make it even more attractive for customers to sign up (for instance, by offering an immediate discount on a product/service that they are already procuring). Use this window of opportunity to build long-term relationships that are win-win both for your customers and your business.

Are there other ideas for how we can better market our products and services to penny pinching budget shoppers? I’d love to hear from you!

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. I may be wrong but at times, I look at the way things are being marketed, I can’t help but wonder if marketers actually have their consumers in mind.

    Most of the times, marketers plan according to what they think their businesses want/need to tell customers but less of what consumers really want.

    I recently had a rather unpleasant exchange of conversations with a marketer about the silliest upselling tactic that seem to benefit the company but has zero value to a consumer.

    In such times when people are thinking twice about digging into their wallet, marketers should really work harder to adapt their strategies.

    Great post!

  2. Thanks for your comment Priscilla!

    I think that companies would do well to really put on their customer’s shoes and spend a day in their lives. It is amazing how we marketers choose to ignore our other selves as consumers when pushing out advertising and promotional messages.

    Perhaps what we truly need are more psychology and sociology lessons for marketers. And a huge dollop of common sense!

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