The next decade = less

by Bruce Kasanoff on August 2, 2011

Less.

That’s what we should expect in the next decade.

Regardless of your political beliefs, these facts are clear:

1.) Our economy is weak. Nothing is likely to change that for years to come.

2.) Government spending will decline for the foreseeable future. That means fewer jobs.

3.) New fees will be everywhere. Want to ride the school bus? That’s $125 a semester. In Connecticut, we have a gas tax on our gas tax.

4.) Our leadership is dysfunctional. If our political leaders worked for your company, you’d fire them all. But I don’t think the problem is just the people. We have been deferring a lot of very tough choices for so long that they are too tough for our system to handle.

How does marketing deal with a slump that lasts ten or twenty years? You can’t steal market share forever.

It’s time to help people thrive with less. For example, businesses that save people money are a good bet. Ditto for those that help them make what they have go further.

For example, imagine a Netflix-style book subscription for $9.99 a month. You pay one fee, read as many books as you like. This may sound financially unfeasible, but recurring payments like these turn into massive businesses with substantial negotiating power.

I know a lot of people who would happily cut off their cable TV and take the book subscription instead.

People talk about government waste, but the fact is businesses waste as much or more.

For example, instead of measuring customer satisfaction or even tracking the much better Net Promoter score, what if companies simply counted how many recommendations they receive? It’s possible to do this if you enable digital recommendations.

Companies spend money on advertising that few customers notice. They invest in “customer-focused” initiatives that deliver few on no benefits to customers.

Next time you’re tempted to do this, think: less.

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