FORBES: Navigating Reduced Consumer Spending

With significant price increases, consumers are cautious with spending, leading to decreased sales and struggles for many companies. Marketers now face the tough task of attracting hesitant buyers. While reduced consumer spending poses significant challenges for both customers trying to manage their finances and companies striving to stay afloat, it is possible to navigate these tough times successfully with the right strategies in place.

Gratitude in Customer Relationships: Strengthening Customer Loyalty Amid Economic Downturn

Jonathan Sasse, Chief Strategy Officer at Metova, emphasizes the importance of showing customers genuine appreciation, especially in hard economic times in a recent Forbes Communications Council Article, “Customers Cutting Back On Spending? 13 Smart Ways Marketers Can Respond.”

Show Customers You Appreciate Them

“Depending on your brand, product or service, this can be a real challenge. Appreciating your customers goes a long way, so thank them for their business and loyalty and find ways to reward them if you can. Customers on the fence may be actively trying to decide where to make cuts, and knowing you appreciate them can give them a reason to make cuts elsewhere.” – Jonathan Sasse

The Power of Gratitude in Customer Retention

In challenging economic environments, businesses need to make their customers feel valued and appreciated. Jonathan’s suggestion to thank customers for their loyalty and find ways to reward them can significantly impact customer retention. But why does gratitude matter so much, especially during tough times?

Gratitude as a Business Strategy

In a study published in the Journal of Marketing titled “The Role of Customer Gratitude in Relationship Marketing,” Palmatier et al. reveal that gratitude plays a vital role beyond trust and commitment in relationship marketing. Their research shows that when companies invest in relationship-building efforts, it generates feelings of gratitude among customers. This gratitude, in turn, leads to significant long-term benefits such as higher purchase intentions, increased sales, and greater customer loyalty. The findings underscore the importance for businesses to focus on fostering gratitude as part of their marketing strategies to enhance overall performance and customer satisfaction.

Being Appreciated as an Experience

In a study published in the Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, researchers examined how different types of brand experiences—sensation, affection, behavior, and intellect—affect customer loyalty. They found that these experiences play a critical role in shaping customers’ true brand loyalty, influencing both purchasing behavior and attitudes toward the brand. This emphasizes the importance for businesses to focus on creating memorable brand experiences, and better yet, experiences expressing customer appreciation.

By expressing gratitude, businesses can create a positive feedback loop, where satisfied customers are more likely to continue their relationship with the brand and recommend it to others.

Combining Gratitude with Strategic Moves

While showing appreciation is crucial, integrating it with other strategic moves can further enhance customer loyalty and engagement. Here are some additional strategies to consider, provided by other council members.

  1. Focus on Value Content: Highlight how consumers can get more for less, adjusting messaging to fit your brand’s value proposition.
  2. Create Urgency: Emphasize products or services as essential needs rather than optional purchases to drive immediate sales.
  3. Prioritize Personalization: Use AI-powered personalization to enhance customer experiences, which fosters greater loyalty than discounts.
  4. Increase Thought Leadership: Provide insightful content to build trust and authority, positioning your brand as a valuable resource in tough economic times.
  5. Focus on Retention and Referrals: Leverage first-party data and digital touchpoints to drive engagement and growth cost-effectively.
  6. Highlight Clear Value: Clearly articulate the specific benefits and value your product or service provides to customers.
  7. Utilize User-Generated Content: Encourage your community to create content that fuels demand and engagement.
  8. Articulate Measurable Outcomes: Communicate tangible business outcomes and ROI to demonstrate the value of your products.
  9. Create Win-Win Scenarios: Develop strategies that add value for consumers while maintaining profitability for your business. – Tom Treanor, Snipp Interactive
  10. Focus on Your Offering’s Value: Clearly communicate how your product or service solves customer pain points or improves efficiency.
  11. Prioritize Transparency and Authenticity: Engage authentically and transparently with consumers to build trust and maintain credibility.
  12. Meet Consumer Needs: Tailor marketing efforts to meet the financial and emotional needs of consumers, ensuring purchases feel worthwhile.


Implementing these comprehensive strategies can help businesses not only survive but thrive during economic downturns, fostering stronger customer relationships and long-term loyalty. Read the full Forbes article, “Customers Cutting Back On Spending? 13 Smart Ways Marketers Can Respond.”

Alondra Cruz
Alondra Cruz