As more and more manufacturing jobs move overseas, American companies go bankrupt and merge, will consumers look to continue to support American-made products? According to a Yankelovich poll last year, 83% said buying U.S.-made products is important to them, but only 37% said they are willing to pay at least a little more for American-made products.
I have to be honest and say I personally never have purchased a product just because it was American made. Not because I’m not patriotic, but rather I am always looking for the best product at the best price (just ask my husband).
For example, as a marathon runner, shoes are a very important purchase. I need a shoe that is lightweight, does not give me blisters, supports my high arches and feels comfortable. After trying various brands, I continue to purchase Asics. Even though I don’t base my running shoe purchase on price because I feel my body is worth the investment, I’m not going to switch to New Balance just because it promotes its products are made in America. When in fact, according to an Advertising Age article in June, only 25% of New Balance’s footwear is made in the United States.
From a marketing standpoint, companies that manufacture products in America should absolutely use this as a key message; however, it most likely will not be the primary or even secondary message. Perhaps it is just a mention on the product packaging or on the web site. Also, the New Balance example brings up the ethical dilemma of when is it appropriate to market that your products are made in America? How much of the manufacturing process needs to take place here – 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% – to make it a valid claim?
It is probably safe to say that the FTC is unlikely to set a standard for “Made in America” like it is currently doing with “green” products. But it will just make you consider what the term “Made in America” really means and how much value it should be given.