This letter was written over eight years ago but funnily enough the sentiment remains true today.
When both consumer and business confidence is low, “There’s only one way to go – UPWARD”
Amidst the usual bluff and bravado it has been whispered around the traps (for the first time ever) that overall dated goods might have experienced a slight decline. You could read into that everything including diaries has been touched by the economic down turn. Or the diary doomsayer might suggest that another wave of tech savvy teenagers have leached into the work force and are using more electronics in place of paper based planning.
Whatever spin you put on it, one thing is for certain and that is corporate (or custom) diary orders have been affected by the lack of discretionary marketing funds of big business. In this category we feel there is more pain to come before (or if) it ever recovers any lost ground.
While last season’s result for Upward were the best of the last 15 years and next season’s forecast look extremely promising the atmosphere is reservedly optimistic rather than exuberantly over the top. Upward has identified there is a very healthy upside to stocking a broad range of quality dated goods. What appears more perilous to us is the price driven low end of the market where category killers generally love to play.
There is little doubt the real pain of this economic cycle is still ahead of us as thousands of Australian jobs are shed. Even if the predicted recovery begins in 2010 it has to be understood that the enduring landscape will be changed for at least the remaining working life of my (40 something) generation.
To be as effective as possible in these tough times Upward is paying particular attention to the consumers of diary product and measuring the relevance of what we produce against the consumer’s needs and expectation. It is only by meeting these needs year after year that we can claim to have retained a brand loyal consumer.
Never before has it been truer, that it’s more cost effective to maintain a customer than find a new one. Our resellers generally have a focused approach and empathy for their customer. They are willing to delight with excellent service and quality product, avoiding the temptation to substitute inferior wares in an attempt to gain margin. The penny saved will never cover the cost of the ensuing argument of a dissatisfied customer or the expense of enticing a new one.
After 50 long years of experience Upward remains bullish and continues to work hard avoiding all those nasty bear traps. We encourage our trade to take pride and pleasure in supplying their consumer with the habitual product they want and deserve.
“Upward” there’s only one way to go!
Author – Peter Annett, Managing Director Annett Group and owner of Upward Diaries