Go where the money is…

It’s an urban legend that bank robber Bill Sutton (also known by the police as Flash Willie) explained that he robbed banks (rather than our current penchant for believing that the banks rob us) because “that is where the money is.” In his autobiography Willie explains that it was the entrepreneurial excitement that got him going:

“I will now confess, that I never said it. The credit belongs to some enterprising reporter who apparently felt a need to fill out his copy. If anybody had asked me, I’d have probably said it. That’s what almost anybody would say… it couldn’t be more obvious.

Or could it?

Why did I rob banks? Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than at any other time in my life. I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I’d be out looking for the next job. But to me the money was the chips, that’s all.

Go where the money is… and go there often.”

Which all goes to bring us back to the future as unemployment hits records lows, the US bond market plunges, the DOW is up 9% for the year and NASDAQ is up by around 15% for 2010, while our banks continue to plead for the right to raise rates above the RBA level.

Australia has had among the highest rise in national per capita wealth per adult (211%) over the past decade and now ranks third in the world with US$320,909 after Switzerland.

So if we are to follow Willie’s entrepreneurial advice, smart companies will adjust their business and marketing plans to Gillian Franklin’s lead by segmenting their customers into those who have a lot versus those who want a lot more.

While Michele Levine and Gary Morgan report that the shape of consumer confidence is not changing much from its square root curve, it is clear that customers with an “AB” profile are 20 points more likely to be out there spending and the young are 30 points more likely to be out there getting the new tablets and technology tablets as gifts.

In fact the best target market would appear to be the young students in the Inner ‘Undecided’s’ still miffed by Ted’s tactics of placing the Green’s last on his wish list, and the worst may be the elderly electors of Bentleigh who turfed John out of office.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research confirms that consumers are still at very high levels of consumer confidence and that there has been a small rise driven by Australians having more confidence in terms of personal finances, 31% (up 2%) of Australians say their family is ‘better off financially’ than a year ago compared to 27% (down 6%) that say their family is ‘worse off financially’ than a year ago. Now 38% (up 1%) of Australians expect their family to be ‘better off financially’ this time next year compared to 13% (down 4%) that expect their family to be ‘worse off’.

Gary Morgan reports, “Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence was measured before this week’s decision by the RBA to leave interest rates unchanged at 4.75% — a decision likely to support Consumer Confidence in the weeks leading into Christmas. Consumer Confidence is virtually unchanged this week at 120.9.

As a warning about the Christmas sales and the potential for the conservatives to be proved prescient, increasing confidence about personal financial situations has been almost cancelled out by falling confidence about the Australian economy over the next year and five years and also a slight fall in those saying that ‘now is a good time to buy’ major household items.

So smart companies will follow Willie and Gillian’s New Year’s resolution to “Go where the money is… and go there often”, by building their customer relations management programs, rewarding their best sales and marketing staff for solid 2011 plans, hoarding cash in the first months of the next year and getting their banks to review their lending terms based on this year’s solid improvements before the national conservative surge hits the customer’s back pocket.

For more Futurist blogs, click here.

Dr Colin Benjamin is an entrepreneurship and strategic thinking consultant at Marshall Place Associates which offers a range of strategic thinking tools that open up a universe of new possibilities for individuals and organisations committed to applying the processes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Email dr.colinbenjamin@marshallplace.com.au
Contact: CEO Dr Jane Shelton, Phone +61 3 9640 0099

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