The words “Buy Local” are showing up in all kinds of marketing pitches. For food and farm commodities, the words guarantee fresher foods that have not traveled miles to get to the dinner table. For service work or contractors, the words guarantee that the provider lives in the same town or county. For the consumer, the words guarantee that the company is not only local, but available and accountable.
Many consumers have grown weary of dealing with impersonal, big box warehouse types of businesses. They still don’t want to pay a whole lot more for a product or service BUT they will if they think it will benefit them in the long run.
For instance, let’s say Jane Smith is looking for new carpet. She has an idea of what she wants and goes to Store A. The person in Store A can tell her about the products in stock, show her a catalog for special orders, and answer questions about delivery times.
Then she goes to Store B. The person in Store B can sell her the same products but also asks her questions. What room is she looking to carpet? Does she plan to live there for two years or 20 years? Does she have pets? Based on the answers to those questions, the person in Store B might recommend a carpet that is better suited to her personal situation. Jane Smith evaluates the information and decides to make her purchase at Store B because the person there was genuinely interested in helping her figure out what was best for her.
Running a business and marketing a business is always about more than the bottom line. It is about your knowledge, your reputation, and individualized customer service. As Bill Maynard and Tom Champoux, of The Effectiveness Institute say, “It does not need to be a choice between head decisions and heart decisions. An organization that balances head decisions and heart decisions has a far greater potential for achieving and sustaining success than an organization that doesn’t have heart.”