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small town_1.jpgI absolutely DESPISE the term “small business.” I think it’s misleading and downright demeaning!

There is NOTHING small about a small business if it gives the entrepreneur the life he or she wants! If that business takes care of a family, there’s nothing small about it. If the business creates jobs, there’s nothing small about it. If the business betters its community, there’s nothing small about it. If the business makes the life of even ONE customer better, there is NOTHING small about that business!

The only usefulness of the term “small business” is that it’s easier to say than “entrepreneurship.” Just try saying “entrepreneurship” a few times fast and see what a slip up sounds like!

Any business that does some good is not small at all. There is nothing small about a “small business!”

Any time you build a new business, any time there’s an end-use customer getting a product and enjoying it better than a competitor might be able to offer them, you’ve created wealth for our society. So, the best way for you to make money is to create wealth!”– Paul Zane Pilzer, The Fountain of Wealth

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That we live in a wild, crazy, slap-happy world these days certainly comes as no surprise to any of us, yet exactly what’s causing all the craziness, what to expect next, and what the heck we can do about it are mysteries that seem to consume the energy of a lot of folks I know.

Here’s one expert’s opinion of why things are the way they are and what may be coming next. His name is Malcolm Berko and I’ve enjoyed his columns for years. In A Brief History of Creative Destruction he offers some good food for thought.

Enjoy!

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan

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Caution.jpgA couple of entries ago I remarked about the more graphic packaging that is being required on cigarette packs. I praised the campaign for the results it is already getting even though it hasn’t officially launched yet. Results are the ultimate measure of success, but even with that as the most objective measure, can we go too far in an effort to get them? As much as I want to discourage my 4-year-old son from smoking when he’s older, I’m not too sure I want to have to explain these ads to him if we happen to walk by the tobacco counter in the grocery store in the coming months.

Here are a couple of examples of ads that the public thought went too far. As with the cigarette packaging, let me caution you that these are very emotionally stirring and are videos rather than just print ads, so before you click their accompanying links you might just want to bear that in mind.

The first is related to domestic violence. You can click here to view it on Youtube, and let me again caution you about its graphic nature. You may also want to turn down the volume on your computer if you’re in a public place. This was ran by the United Way, and I remember being absolutely stopped in my tracks when I first saw it on television and later heard it on the radio. I thought it was good because it dramatized the seriousness of the situation and that there are more victims in these cases than just the person who is on the receiving end of the assault. This ad got some people very upset and had them demanding the United Way discontinue them, which to their credit, they promptly did. I remember hearing one mom on a news program who said she had heard the radio version of this ad when she was in the car with her kids, and she didn’t know exactly how to respond when the children asked, “Mommy, is that lady going to be alright?”

Click here to see a more recent example. This one is also an anti-smoking ad and it features a child being abandoned in a busy train station. It also generated a lot of push-back not only because viewers thought it played a little too heavily on emotion, but because they wondered what on earth the producers of the commercial did to the child to make him cry.

Something we have to consider as marketers is that we don’t want to attract the attention of our target market at the expense of spurring the ire of other stakeholders. They have a bigger voice than ever in today’s digital marketplace. If we push the emotional buttons too hard or too often, our very effective, results-yielding campaign could backfire on us in the form of negative press that could in a very short time undo a lot of brand goodwill that took years to build.

Marketing may look easy, but it’s not a game for amateurs” – Ries & Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

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