We're talking about the consumer demand regarding local products and services and those small business owners who have recognized the trend and now incorporate "local" into their advertising and marketing efforts..
Here are some quick examples:
- Food - Once relegated to road-side stands small farmers are bringing their produce and farm-made products to thousands of farmers markets that have sprung up all across the nation. In addition large grocery store chains now direct shoppers to locally grown products and consumers don't mind paying a premium for food...when they know where it comes from;
- Local TV and Appliance Dealers - These folks have found a way to battle Big Box by delivering exceptional service and sharing with consumers the importance of keeping dollars in the local community;
- Recreational Sporting Goods - Sure if you want a cheap bicycle you can go to Walmart but if you want something that lasts and somebody who knows what they are doing...you stay local. Even some big box stores understand this. Sheels Sporting Goods started running national ads that feature "local knowledge by local people". It's not by accident;
- Banks & Financial - Credit Unions have started chipping away at the "big banks" all across the country. Family owned small banks continue to market the fact that people, not computers, make decisions on loans;
- Health Care - You think it is "by accident" that we're seeing more "health care systems" ditch the clinical aspect of care and now focusing on the individual? Nope...
The direction your local business needs to take is celebrate local. Include the message in your marketing plans. Make sure your service performance is exceptional. Build "brand warriors" out of your local customers. Encourage customers to share their experience on social media channels. Deliver solid local success stories as often as possible. Engage with your local business community. Use video to bring the local experience to life. Be a "go to person" on the benefits of local for your area media.
Two other important things to consider...
Do NOT abdicate your local marketing efforts to the Chamber, while they are your friends they also have plenty of dollars rolling in from non-local folks. Besides...it's your business...take the lead.
If you live by price you will die by price. Focus on quality, sustainability and familiarity.