Cheap chic: a marketing trick to prepare Generation Y?

by Laurent François

David Welch introduces a controversial marketing concept this morning called “cheap chic“:

What many companies are attempting to do now has worked in the past. After the crash of 1929 few people could afford a Cadillac, so General Motors (GM) created a budget model to keep its luxury sales going.

Finding new ways to target Generation Y that has to be “captured” by companies as we represent the future of consumption integrates the fact that we don’t have enough money yet to sustain some current companies positioning.

There’s a supposed translation of this cheap chic approach in the online and/or Social media strategies:

In addition to these new sites being less expensive to produce, the approach has to do with clients wanting more of an emphasis on igniting conversation and less on the rich, textured sites that have typically accompanied their campaigns. The goal, as EVB CEO Daniel Stein put it, is to “stop building $1 million microsites that attract [only] 10,000 visitors.” Too often those sites are “rich, deep and disconnected,” he said.

Less expensive to produce, maybe (not quiet sure about that…) but more demanding in terms of conversations’ and ideas to manage. Social media is a way to test new approaches and I actually think that it’s pretty dangerous to use “cheap” because it can be translated in a very wrong way in marketing departments.

What is smart, flexible and quick cannot be related to a “cheap” notion. Words matter, though.

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