While there is doom and gloom on the economic horizon with debt crises in the USA and job losses in Australia, one thing I've heard talked about from a marketing viewpoint is that in times like this you should focus on the optimistic people in the economy.
The people that feel safe in their job and positive about the future will continue to spend. This is reflected in the chart above from Gallup. It shows that in the USA those earning above $90k per annum have actually increased their year-on-year spending to July 2011.
Similarly in Australia look at your research and find your optimistic customers and focus your efforts on them. You will be able to put some money towards stemming losses from pessimistic customers (possibly through discounting) but focus the majority of your effort on optimistic customers, possibly by direct marketing to high-value customers.