Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wal-Mart Shops for a New Look

After Wal-Mart's extended run of drowsy revenue results, the company's marketing team has decided to embark on a new marketing campaign, entitled, "Save Money. Live Better." This effectively ends the 19-year run of "Always Low Prices."

The campaign is based upon a recent report that Wal-Mart supposedly saves the average household a sum of $2,330 each year, thus allowing families to take that money saved and improve their lives in another way.

While I, personally, think it's a nice marketing slogan--because it's straightforward and because of its economy of words--I tend to agree with Rob Frankel, who is quoted in the article linked above. If Wal-Mart keeps focusing on price and price only, they shouldn't expect big changes in customers' attitudes towards their company.

From personal experience to stories I hear from friends to the jokes that comedians repeatedly tell, Wal-Mart stores are a mess, selling mostly cheaply made products, with average customer service at best. Now this perception may be completely wrong, but it is still a widespread percpetion... one that is strong enough to keep people from going to the stores, hence declining sales. A new slogan, particularly one that essentially conveys the same message as before, won't change any of that. Improve on the customers' experience in the store, like Target has done as Wal-Mart's competitor or like Wegman's has done for supermarket shoppers, and then Wal-Mart will see improvement. Until then, I'll gladly choose to "Spend MORE. Live BETTER than Better."

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