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Cracking the code in a local community

Quite a few small businesses operate within a small geographic range. There are certainly some online groups that perform the majority of their transactions on the internet, but by and large, small businesses are local businesses. As a result, the most important task for such organizations is to understand the ins and outs of a community. This may be slightly more difficult than one would think.

Even if a small business owner has lived in a community for her entire life, she still might not have all the information necessary to appeal to the right types of customers in that area. Marketers and analysts often spend years studying demographic information to accomplish this same task. Local entrepreneurs won’t need to expend that much effort, but there are some important questions to ask. Consider the following queries.

What is this community’s style?
One of the most important parts of marketing is to understand the story that customers tell about themselves. This allows advertisers to then adjust the story so that a company, product or service fits in nicely with it. In the case of a local community, its self-perception informs this story. Some towns are most proud of their independence and isolation, things which give them unique characteristics. Other areas think highly of their proximity to a larger, more famous city that offers them certain cultural or social benefits. Incorporating advertisements that either praise a town by itself or as part of a larger region can reap success.

How is the local economy?
In general, the economy has been in rough shape for some time. However, it can vary greatly from one town to another. The industries that support an area and the types of work that people do nearby can make the difference between two rather distinct zip codes. Scaling back the decadence or richness of marketing materials is a good idea if wallets are lean, but going all out can be good when things are going well financially for a community.

Who makes financial decisions?
Many communities are full of white-collar workers who commute to other cities and towns for work each day. Others may be composed of blue-collar employees who rarely leave the area during the week. This influences the type of marketing materials that should be used. White-collar workers, for example, would have much more of a use for promotional products such as USB logo drives, while blue-collar people would get more use out of promotional flashlights. The financial decision-makers in an area should essentially define any organization’s marketing strategy.

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