Coming Out Of The Shutdown, It’s Going To Be About You…Not About The Product


Why Your USP Matters More Now.

As SMB’s move to their next steps in a “hoped for” emergence from coronavirus-caused busness shut downs, are local marketing service providers ready? Do we know what our role is? Are we prepared to provide what local businesses really need at this critical juncture?

If we are focusing on product packaging, discounted bundles of media goodies and bumper sticker agendas to motivate local businesses, we might be missing a larger issue. Don’t get me wrong, providing greater value and optimistic encouragement to customers is a good thing…worthy and needed. But longer term, as those local SMB’s that have the ability to do so, regain their footing what’s our relationship going to look lke as a local marketing service provider? Several clues emerging before and during the COVID-19 world may give us direction on how we can position ourselves for success in the future.

Remember the discussions of months (years really) ago comparing DIY (Do It Yourself) and DIFM (Do It For Me) marketing? On the one hand, DIY marketing meant that local businesses were not reliant on local marketing “expertise”. Instead they were free to manage their own Google CPC campaigns, run their own targeted digital display, update their own Facebook page, and update their own online directory listings. To most SMB’s this means “free” marketing service. Wow…such a deal! The counter to this was, and still can be, that local business owners don’t have the training, the digital savvy, the tools, or the time to do this right. You can argue that point, but trends were suggesting that argument was not winning as often as we’d like.

  • All the way back in 2018, Brandmuscles’s 2018 State of Local Marketing Report surveying over local businesses “dealers, agents, franchisees and distributors of national and global brands,” 64% said that the actual SMB owner executes all marketing efforts. Another 26% said marketing is a team effort but not anyone’s full-time job and 7% have a dedicated marketing professional on staff. Only 3% said they outsource marketing to an agency or vendor.
  • Digiday’s recent quarterly benchmarking survey found that about 83% of marketers are managing their marketing either mostly in-house or completely in-house. That’s up from the 55% of marketers six months ago who said the same.
  • And very recently, SearchEngineLand had this to say about Google My Business, the ulitmate DIY marketing tool…“Google, and the pandemic, have made GMB into the most important local marketing tool for SMBs and multi-location brands.”

What’s behnd all this DIY momentum? If local marketing service providers are so “special” why would local businesses be adopting DIY so aggresively? I recently attended a local business seminar for SMB’s which shed some light on part of the answer.

The seminar was sponsored by the local community college Small Business Center. During one of the sessions, many of the attendees talked about the fact that doing their own marketing meant FREE advertising. Not one business owner countered that thought with the idea that the time they spend focusing on their own marketing meant time not accomplishing something else for which they were better equipped. That is too bad because it basically says that the time they normally spend on their “real” job is worth nothing, i.e. no loss of revenue when they are not doing their job. And it also meant that the local business owner did not think that the expertise that a local marketing services provider was worth the difference in price between DIY and DIFM. Both of these issues are on us as local experts in marketing and business consultants. And that is where this is headed.

As we (yes, we are in this together) begin to emerge from business shut-downs and slow-downs resulting from coronavirus impacts, we need to be focusing on the real value we are brigning to our communities and local busineses. Pricing and product do matter, of course. But we have to understand that too often local businesses are not placing the same value on our products as our price suggests. Our strongest value, or most powerful argument should be focusing on our expertise, our marketing knowledge, our training, and our ability to make a difference in the local business owner’s life. This means communicating differently. The words we use, our position in the market, how we view our contirution to the managemnt of a local marketing campaign need to go well beyone product and pricing.

Working at the local newspaper, radio or TV station, ad agency…all just mean that we have jobs at the local newspaper, radio or TV station, or ad agency. They don’t equate to real knowledge and expertise in local marketing. Local business owners don’t buy that argument any longer. Our Unique Sales Proposition should be about our abilities, our capabilies, our expertise. It should not be focused on our products. If we are selling anything, we need to be selling expertise and excellence in execution first instead of a bigger bundle, a lower price, or a catchy phrase.


Quote Of The Week

“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”

— Winston Churchill

Mom’s Library

(what’s your mom been reading lately?)

  • Google My Business will be more important than ever for small business in a Post-Pandemic world. More and more it is becoming the “go-to” and “came from” for information. Check out why, on SearchEngineLand.
  • Yes, flush toilets once were high tech! And it took a while for them to catch on. Want to see how long it took many modern marvels of their time to be adopted by the public, in an interesting interactive way, check out
  • We need fewer clients…said nobody ever? Not so fast, that is almost what many publishers are driving at in 2020. The catch is that the fewer also need to be better, and bigger. Publishers are searching for higher value customers with more robust opportunities and solutions. But that also will require publishrs to change themselves. Check it out on

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Author: David Prizer

Digital media executive and thought leader, emphasizing local and small business strategies. 20 years of experience in metro and community markets. Still watching Seinfeld reruns and holding out for a Cubs-White Sox subway series in my lifetime.

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