Thanks to @MarketingProfs on Twitter, I was directed to a piece by Paul Williams – “Can Your Brand Afford to Discount?” The main concern projected in the piece is that a lack of creativity on the part of companies trains consumers to accept discounts as norms.
The guiding philosophy right now seems to be “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Survival discounts offered by companies do cause confusion. Discounts communicate that the product/service really is only worth that much and that the companies were overcharging previously. Then again, in tough times, if someone wants me to buy something unnecessary, they’re going to have to offer a substantial discount to secure my purchase.
On the other hand, I’m quite irritated to see gas prices so low. Not that I’m a fan of high gas prices, but I thought the gas prices would finally force Americans to change their consumption habits.
I think companies have been taking advantage of the fact that so many Americans have been willing to go into debt to obtain luxury items and other things that are just not important. I’m kicking myself for it now.
Throw in the fact that credit card companies are now changing APRs “due to no fault on the part of the consumer,” and it’s nearly impossible to buy anything regardless of the discount. Discover upped my APR to 24.9; I told them I was going to cancel my card and pay off the balance; the jerk on the phone offered me 19.9 because that would at least be “going the right direction.” I again told him I’d just assume cancel the account and he offered me 1.9 for 6 months. (Ok, so I’ll cancel it within 6 months.)
Yep, it’s pretty tough to buy anything these days… huge discounts or no. And I can tell you that when I do buy something, I’d rather buy something locally created or produced. That makes it harder for Target, Starbucks, Outback Steakhouse, and other “brands” to attract my business.