The recession and its effects on consumers in the form of job losses is creating a new approach to marketing. Michael Silverstein of Boston Consulting Group calls it “altruism marketing.” Companies are reaching out to consumers by offering guarantees, fee waivers, or in some cases free services. Examples include GM, Ford, and Hyundai all have some form of payment relief for car buyers who lose their jobs and cannot make payments. Jet Blue is waiving $100 flight cancellation fees for those who lose their jobs. Walgreens pledged to provide free basic services for the rest of 2009 at its Take Care Clinics for any Take Care customers who lose their jobs and are uninsured.
Altruism marketing is an example of what marketing is at its core: responding to the needs of the market. Tough times have hurt many consumers; any company insensitive to their plight looks… well, like AIG. Marketers that meet customers where they are now will have the opportunity to remain connected with them when economic times get better. Someone helped when in need tends to remember who helped… and who did not.
Link: USA Today – “GM, Ford Are Latest Offering Help to Those Hit by Job Loss”