Consumers, Businesses, and Governments During an Economic Crisis: A Marketing Perspective

Consumers, Businesses, and Governments During an Economic Crisis: A Marketing Perspective

Taner Sigindi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2716-9.ch011
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The purpose of this chapter is to highlight how consumers are affected from a crisis and reveal a marketing perspective for businesses to struggle with economic crisis. From this point of view, marketing strategies and marketing mix revisions were discussed and government interventions affecting marketing strategies were also examined. Consumers' purchasing behaviors in crisis are affected from personal, cultural, environmental or financial factors. Segmentation and proactive marketing are the key elements for businesses in order to cope with the crisis. Government interventions during crisis can be classified into two groups, increasing the domestic demand and supporting the financial stability.
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Crisis is an unexpected and negative issue affecting businesses or at least creating the impression that businesses are affected. Even when stakeholders have the impression that the business is affected from any variable, then the existence of a crisis can be talked about. Natural disasters, technological disasters, economic crises are all different types of crises; but in this section of the book, what is meant by crisis is the economic crisis faced by businesses stemming from different causes. As a result of globalization, all the markets across the world have become connected to each other; accordingly, when an economic crisis breaks out in the world, all the businesses are directly or indirectly affected (Candemir & Zalluhoglu, 2011; Grewal & Tansuhaj, 2001). Moreover, income levels of households are affected from economic crises and thus consumer behavior changes (Zurawickia & Braidot, 2005). Therefore, businesses have to develop new consumer-oriented strategies to cope with a crisis.

There are three factors shaping the effects of a crisis. The first of them is the structure of the crisis. A crisis can break out due to shortage of critical raw materials such as petroleum or due to failures in financial markets. The second factor is the country structure made up of elements such as functioning of business life, commercial freedom and socio-economic situation. The last factor is the culture of the consumers in the market (Ang, 2001). The effects of crises are determined by different variables and stakeholders try to take some measures to reduce adverse effects. These stakeholders primarily include businesses, consumers and governments. Businesses need to understand the behaviors of consumers in a crisis to construct their marketing strategies. On the other hand, during the past crises, governments took various precautions to protect their national economies against crises (see, Ang, 2001; Kotler & Caslione, 2009; Quelch & Jocz, 2009).

The stable periods of the economy are more suitable for the implementation of marketing mix elements. In such periods, as the financial situations of consumers are stable, it is relatively easier to make marketing decisions. In periods when economy is in a crisis, as many things including the financial situations of consumers undergo a change, decision makers need to come up with solutions to overcome these difficult times (Grundey, 2009). One of the main tools used by businesses to cope with a crisis is marketing. Yet, there is a gap in literature focusing on what strategies have been developed and how they are implemented to cope with crises by using marketing (Gulati, Nohria, & Wohlgezogen, 2010; Kaytaz & Gul, 2014; Srinivasana, Rangaswamy, & Lilien, 2005). A study that investigates how crises affect consumer preferences and businesses’ decisions from the perspective of marketing is believed to offer a holistic viewpoint. In this regard, in this chapter, first consumers’ reactions in crisis situations are discussed. Then, strategies developed by businesses to cope with crises in different conditions and marketing mix applications are addressed and finally government interventions that can affect marketing activities are discussed.

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