Spending Other People’s Money


If your target customer base seems to be a little more frugal than ever, you may be wondering if there is a future for your business. Luckily, most customers never get tired of spending other people’s money, no matter what the economy happens to be doing. There are two major ways for the average small business to tap in to this under-recognized market: by offering gift registries, and by marketing to other businesses.

People routinely register for a variety of events, from baby showers to weddings. The trend seems to be gaining strength, with many major websites offering registries for house warmings, birthdays, and even seasonal holidays. People who aren’t inclined to spend their own money seem to have fewer qualms about telling others which gifts they would enjoy. This means that offering a registry can be a substantial boon to your bottom line.

Large corporations have long been offering registries and business services because they know something that many small business owners don’t: that everyone enjoys spending other people’s money far more than they enjoy spending their own. Now is the time to get creative and to aggressively offer options that allow customers to stay on budget while partaking of your products.

Whether you are running a baby boutique or a travel agency, you can make this fad work in your favor. Allow customers to register for gifts, presenting your company as a less commercial and more local option. If you sell larger items or services, allow people to contribute money in lieu of a gift. For example, many travel agencies have found success in allowing a couple to ‘register’ for a luxury honeymoon. Instead of asking for standard gifts and house wares, the couple asks for contributions toward their trip. Getting creative can mean that your customer base gets what they really want for these occasions without having to spend a dime.

Another benefit of this approach is that it brings new people into your location. These people will interact with your staff, see your logo design, and encounter your brand in a highly personal way. If you offer a pleasant experience, many of these people will be more likely to return in the future when they need your services for themselves.

A similar way of promoting your business is by marketing to mid-level managers and executives. People in these positions often make financial decisions on a daily basis—with their employer’s money. Offering incentives that are meaningful to this market and a more streamlined buying process, along with a price that won’t incur the wrath of the boss, is the key to pulling in this market. If you are not reaching out to this segment through direct mailings and other targeted advertisements, you may be missing out on a healthy profit.

Are you encouraging customers to spend other people’s money at your business? This is an often overlooked area that can pad your profit margins while getting more exposure for your brand and bringing new customers through your doors. Desperate times call for creative marketing, so figure out a way to make this trend work for your business.