Discounts or outrageous cost cutting, if overdone, can detract from brand quality and credibility instead of increasing sales and growth. So, how do you attract new sales in this economy? The secret is understanding the new consumer. Your advertising and marketing needs to be more creative than ever and you need to understand consumer behaviors and how the global financial crisis has changed them.

You must forget about what used to work and give yourself permission to change course and try new strategies to attract this new consumer. Don’t wait around for things to get better and then think you can go back to business as usual. Savvy marketers will find a way to convince and create an argument for their product or service that the new consumer will want to buy.

Consumer behaviors have changed to a saving mindset and frugality is popular once again. Think about what you can do to help and find ways to partner with your customers and make sure the balance between costs and value is correct. And, keep in mind that outstanding value does not always mean the lowest price.

Consumers have become more cautious about what and when they purchase. They are eating out less and preparing easy to make traditional comfort foods. They are buying at the time of the month that they get paid. They are not afraid to barter and ask for deals and discounts. They are buying private label brands and scaling back on vacations. They are learning to consume in other ways like sharing and swapping as opposed to buying and to reuse and exchange instead of disposing.

There is also a segment of the population that is so strapped financially that they have simply decided to walk away and stop paying their debt including defaulting on loans. They find themselves trapped in a endless cycle of jacked up interest rates, fees and job loss while they watch lenders get huge government bailouts. They have watched as their house prices continue to fall, equity evaporate and all hope of retirement fade and they are really mad.

The days of over-consumption are over and people are looking for more fulfilling uses of their time and money and consumers’ values have changed. They will be looking to pursue the basics of conversation, entertainment including dance and music, crafts and the arts, sports, parenting issues and family time. These are basic elements that help truly fulfill our lives and make us happy when we don’t have a lot of money to spend.

The shift to the web as our main source of news and information is happening fast but don’t expect print to go down without a fight. The power of new media, including the Web, online news sites, e-mail marketing and social media like LinkedIn, facebook and Twitter, continues to grow quickly. It’s crucial to the success of your business to stay aware of these new consumer trends and continue to look for more creative ways to reach this target market.