Why sharing our favorite local small businesses through word of mouth improves our standard of living:
Pay attention to the statistics found in the second half of this post and find out how our decisions and actions are key to economic survival.
I clearly remember how appalled I was when IBM told us (us being technical employees known as CEs or SSRs) we had to start selling.
Selling was a dirty word to me.
Marketing and sales were the people who promised what we could not deliver and pressured customers to buy what they did not want or need.
Customers trusted techs and we did not want to lose their trust.
In most organizations, marketing is paid much more because they are seen as an income source. The IBM salesman I knew best made 25 times what I made (and the IBM CEO pay is 530 times more) and their phones did not ring all hours of the day and night like mine did.
Support staff is paid much less because they are considered an expense instead of an asset. At least in IBM’s case that is a serious mistake because what we once called Customer Engineers and later called SSRs are the only IBM employees most customers see on a regular basis and the primary reason those customers keep buying IBM equipment. But we’re getting off track.
Let me explain WHY marketing is NOT Evil.
I know that I am not the only person who had a negative view of marketing. The thing is, if there were no marketing we would not know who offered what we need and want. If a business doesn’t market well and close sales they can’t stay in business. Marketing and sales are both essential to us as buyers and to make an honest living. What we need is a different perspective on marketing.
Marketing is how we find what we want and need.
Marketing is how we know who does what. Businesses must have a marketing plan so we will know what they do. They need to clearly understand the differences between marketing, advertising, promotion and PR. Brad Harmon’s excellent post Are You Confused about Marketing provides the perfect Definition of Marketing.
No matter what that plan is – even if it is only a sign in the window or handing out business cards – the purpose is always just that: to make sure those who need or want what they offer know about their products and services.
Marketing is essential to small business success and small businesses are essential to improving our standard of living.
If we want the most people possible to live a comfortable life with at least a roof over their heads, clothes to wear and enough to eat we have to change how we feel about marketing.
Why do we buy from Corporations whose commercials depict us as insects, animals or stupid? Why do many pay for clothing and products that make them walking billboards for brands?
Why is that kind of marketing acceptable while we refuse to allow small businesses to reach out to us? We create forums but refuse to allow them to add a link to their business or a description in a signature line.
What we need is a change in perspective.
Small traditional and online businesses are best for our economy because almost every penny we spend with them is almost immediately spent with other businesses.
When you buy your groceries from your local independent grocer or through a Food Coop or Consumer Supported Agriculture you support all the suppliers and businesses they use.
Money we spend with small businesses improves our economy and increases the standard of living for all.
What you spend in stores owned by multi-national publicly traded corporations goes to support boards earning seven figure executive compensation and continue to pay huge bonuses while their employees barely make a living wage – or for many of the worst Corporations do NOT make a living wage.
“The chasm between America’s haves and have-nots has reached Grand Canyon-esque proportions. Thirty years ago top executives at S&P 500 companies made an average of 30 times what their workers did — now they make 300 times what their workers make.“
Is it any wonder that the new television show Undercover Boss is so popular? This income disparity has a serious negative impact on our economy, on each of us and on everyone else in the world.
“Income inequality now is at an all-time high: The top 1 percent of Americans earn a quarter of all income, and the top 10 percent earn 50 percent.” More on tying CEO to employee pay.
If 50 percent of all income is in the hands of 10% of all Americans how much of that money do you believe is kept circulating where it can support other businesses and improve the economy?
How much of YOUR income do you spend? For a huge percentage of Americans the answer would be ALL of it and then some!
If we put more of our money directly into the hands of people who spend it our economy WILL improve and so will our standard of living!
Small business is key to improving our economy and is the bright spot in creating jobs – and not just any job – better jobs that pay well and have a future! Gallop estimates 30 million Americans – over 20% of Americans – are already underemployed.
Many are working two jobs and still making only a third of their former pay not to mention loss of benefits and the impact on their lives of working all the time and still not making ends meet.
I will borrow a quote from Andy Sernovitz‘ new book Secret and Mysterious Order of Word of Mouth, a book I highly recommend:
“Word of mouth marketing only works if you have good products and services. It only works if people like you and trust you. (If you’re a jerk,word of mouth with backfire horribly on you.)
If your product or service sucks, no PR campaign, clever TV ad, or announcement on your website will make consumers believe that it doesn’t. Not any more. And the speed of word of mouth on the Internet spreads the truth almost instantly.
You won’t hear a lot of good word of mouth about cable companies.
When word of mouth works, good companies are rewarded with gobs of free advertising and attention, and they make more money.
When word of mouth works better, bad products and bad companies are punished with negative buzz, and they lose customers.
Think about what this means for you and your family. We have a new social force that rewards companies with free marketing, sales and profits when they treat people well and produce good products. The same force stops companies from treating people badly by killing their sales.
For the first time in the history of modern business, we have a force for good that is also driven by the all-powerful profit motive. For years, government regulators and consumer advocates have tried to use legal and public pressure to make companies treat people well. I’ll bet that the profit motive works better.
This is why word of mouth marketing is so exciting. Everyone can do it. It makes money. It makes products and services more exciting. It makes business more honest and ethical.
It is better for all of us.
If you have a business or blog you need a copy of this book so you will avoid making mistakes that stay online forever. Also visit his site for viral marketing ideas on how to make your online activities memorable to tap into the power of viral marketing. (Follow Andy Sernovitz on Twitter)
We can each bring more power faster to word of mouth marketing. Marketing is NOT evil when it is honest and ethical. It is only evil when it is deceptive and only benefits the already wealthy.
Bloggers are especially important to making sure that small businesses thrive and we need to take action NOW while we still have small and online businesses to support!
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Most ecommerce and online businesses receive 60-90% of all their traffic and sales from one search engine that has publicly announced their intention to focus on brands to “clean up” the Internet.
Any traffic not directly attributable to that search engine is likely to also have been found using that search engine.
We must preserve our ability to find the businesses, products and services we want to use and a great way to do that is to start supporting them with our spending and by recommending them.
It wouldn’t hurt to use a different search engine too. DuckDuckGo is my favorite search engine and I hope you’ll try it out because their results are cleaner and every site I can find in you know where has been in theirs (and yes, I do test that regularly).
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO:
Participate in our BizLuv MEME to Support Small Businesses to support your favorite businesses, causes and blogs. You can get involved in Blog Outreach or join our private blog collaboration which has developed a process for generating and sharing unique guest blog posts.
If you own or work for a business, you MUST learn how to market it. The survival of your business will depend on it. You do not have to have money to spend and anyone can get free advice on what works and what doesn’t right here.
We are continually working and testing new methods especially for businesses like the Florida Millwork company Good Millwork hard hit by the economy such as those in the home improvement, construction and real estate niche. If we can make it work for them it can work for any business.
SCARY SEARCH ENGINE FACTS:
- Six Delusions of Search Engine’s Arrogant Leaders
- Working Two Jobs and Still Underemployed
- Reuters: The Massive Cost of Underemployment
- Underemployment is a Growing Problem Even as the Job Market Turns
TROUBLE MAKING ENDS MEET:
How little does the dollar buy and how high are expenses already? I will add links here to real people who are challenged to make ends meet.
- What if you can’t make ends meet on $25/hour, make too much to get assistance, and then lose your job? Angie Marion titled that post Her Fall From Grace but this is NOT her fault and not a fall. It is where the sliding dollar is going to land everyone who doesn’t have a new plan and soon. Read this post and the information in Support Small Businesses. If you have computer skills contact me and I will share how you can earn a good living online by providing services to small businesses including getting them Local Search Directory listings, Blogging for their businesses and using Article and Social Media Marketing to drive more traffic to their sites. I will teach those who are interested and send them referrals.
INTERESTING GRAPHS and VIDEOs on the WAR ECONOMY:
- Why the Internet Scares Politicians
- Truths about The History of the United States, the rise of Multi-National Corporations, “American” Corporate support of Hitler, suppression of competition, and who controls the economies of the world and how: The Elkhorn Manifesto
- IBM and the Holocaust
- Spending Freeze When Hell Freezes Over (See the graph Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes at the very bottom.)
- The Cost of War
- War is a Racket by Smedley Butler who was was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.This is the very best speech on the truth of war I have ever heard. I read a portion of it years ago and have been looking for it ever since. I sincerely hope everyone will take the time to watch it. It could change your life and the lives of everyone else on this planet.In recognition of its excellence I share here the StumbleUpon review of War is a Racket posted by mystiker:”This a re-enactment of the famous speech by two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Smedley Butler. Although the speech is dated around World War II the theme of the message is timeless.Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed “The Fighting Quaker” and “Old Gimlet Eye”, was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps and, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.During his 34 years of Marine Corps service, Butler was awarded numerous medals for heroism including the Marine Corps Brevet Medal (the highest Marine medal at its time for officers), and subsequently the Medal of Honor twice. Notably, he is one of only 19 people to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor, and one of only three to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different actions.”