The Only Sustainable Advantage For Local Business, Use It Or Fail…Permanently

By: Dan Kennedy on: March 19th, 2013 16 Comments


In January, Forbes published key trends to watch regarding local marketing in 2013.

Among their predictions was that Facebook paid advertising will continue to be “a flop” with most local service businesses. They also said national brands with multiple locations will transfer more of their marketing dollars to local marketing and away from branding.

There are two key items to pay attention to in these predictions. The first is that the promise of new media, while seductive will continue to disappoint.

The second is that big companies – your competitors – will be investing more money in advertising and marketing. That means if you don’t want to be eaten by all the “wolves at your door,” you need to beef up your special bond with your customers, clients, or patients NOW.

A new report from the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Council reveals that senior marketers indicated that it is essential to engage in localized marketing for lead generation and revenue to stimulate business growth and profitability. Yet surprisingly only 7% rated their ability to activate local audiences as being highly evolved.

In other words, companies are failing at local marketing.

In my book, No B.S. GrassRoots Marketing, co-authored by Jeff Slutsky, I discuss the fact that the strongest, most profitable small businesses are owned and operated and promoted by people who rely predominately on what Jeff calls “grassroots” marketing. This is magnetic marketing done at the street level, by direct connection by integrating with their customers, their community, and their daily activities.

When you think of it, this is very similar to politics.

In politics, it’s the guy with the most doors knocked on, the most yard signs and bumper stickers that wins. So, one of my big pieces of advice for local small businesses is the same today as it was 35 years ago when I began giving it: Get up every morning and act as if you were running for mayor.

Being a local business has one advantage no big box retailer or big company or distant discounter can match – the  customers, patients, or clients who you’ve formed a special bond with consider themselves ‘customers for life’ and in a monogamous relationship with you. Examples of these are the car repair shop owned by Joe who’s lived in the community all his life, or the dry cleaner on Main Street or the corner restaurant.

Despite hard times and discounter competition, people prefer to shop at locally owned, independent retailers. A small business survey from American Express found that 93% of respondents believe it’s important to support local businesses.

This advantage however can become a huge hazard, and even more so in light of the movement of marketing dollars from big companies to your local market. The hazard? This may be the only sustainable advantage available to you and if you fail at it, you fail entirely.

NOTE:  Up until now, we’ve had to keep the identity of our local marketing SuperConference speaker, Mr. X a secret. But, for the first time, Mr. X is allowing us to reveal his identity as Ryan Deiss!!!

Like you, Ryan knows the wealth in your business is in the lead flow. The more people who know about your local business, the more opportunity you’ll have to win against Mr. Big Box  and Mr. Discounter.

The problem is how to compete against the marketing dollars these big companies are now throwing at local advertising. Ryan Deiss will show you how to get thousands of leads in just a few days using a new strategy which is based on a model I believe EVERY business needs.

In addition to Ryan Deiss, this year’s SuperConference will give you ample opportunity to arm yourself with what your business needs to win the “mayoral” race in your local community. In an entirely new presentation I’ll be introducing ‘The Specific-Customer-Focus Process®’ which will show you how to attract the hugely valuable customers within your market.

We also have three presentations that will give you three fast and easy strategies that’ll drive more leads to your local business so you achieve more certainty, sustainability and control in your business.

Want more insider information on how to leverage marketing and sales to improve your business?  Click here to claim your special free bonus of $633.91 worth of marketing materials.



Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

16 Responses

  1. Marion Lynn Connell says:

    As much as I would like to come to your conference or even just have a membership, it is not in my budget. Looking at your picture,though, I am incline to think that you may have some health issues. This is my area of expertise…I am a Personal Health and Wellness Consultant. I usually like to meet my clients face to face,but perhaps we can work something out.

    • Mike Stodola Admin says:

      Marion…appreciate the offer…but there are many fine physicians in Cleveland and I appreciate your concern and I’m in great health though (I was having a bad hair day though I’ll admit.) I would say if you can’t afford membership with GKIC, you actually can’t afford not to be a member of the GKIC Insider’s Circle. Go to now and join us for 2 months and if you implement a fraction of what you’ll get for free here…a measly $59.97 a month will be chump change to you within the trial period.

  2. Rusty says:

    “In politics, it’s the guy with the most doors knocked on, the most yard signs and bumper stickers that wins.” If you believe that you are sadly misguided.

    • Mike Stodola Admin says:

      Rusty…we can agree to disagree because it’s the spirit of the idea of being known to your local market that we were trying to express. If you can tell me the last time someone won a contested election without getting their name known to their constituency (I believe mickey mouse did win in a student council race…though I would contend millions has been spent getting his name known as well) I’d be all ears. The point is, if you think just because you open a business that people will come, you’re sorely mistaken. You need people to have a need for your product or service AND need to know you exist if you’re going to have a chance. Thanks and please keep reading!

    • Chris says:

      Well, I agree in a way that the guy with the more doors knocked, the most signs and bumper stickers could win but at the same time I believe it’s also imperative to have other virtues aside from those, for example social skills.

      But I would like to know what Rusty proposes…who does he think wins?

    • Joe says:

      Umm, if you follow politics, you know that the ground team is hugely important in winning local and national races.

  3. How true: local businesses, instead of chasing new money, should serve their existing “customers for life” better and better, more and more often.

  4. Mike Filsaime says:


  5. Mike says:

    Love your comment about getting up every morning and acting as if you were running for mayor.
    Great analogy.

    I saw two local elections here in my corner of Australia last year, one for mayor and one for local councillor. In both cases it was the guy who spent the most on public signage, on advertising, on telling the public who to vote for that got elected.

    The interesting thing was, neither gave valid reasons for voting for them. They simply blanketed the area with pictures of themselves and told the public what boxes to tick on voting day.

    Voting is compulsory here in Australia so when people went to the voting booths the majority voted for the person they remembered from the advertising.

    Anyway, “Act like you’re running for mayor” is my new marketing motto”. Thanks Dan.

  6. Edwin Soler says:

    Your comment about getting up every morning and acting as if you were running for mayor reminds me of a saying that says: if two dogs are in a fight, which one do you think will win? The one that is fed better of course. Same goes for marketing. You need to continuously feed your “marketing dog” so that it can also win.

  7. That’s the attitude I fully agree with you Dan what you express. Local marketing is a plus that no large-scale marketing of large corporations. The direct connection to the customer.

    Marion certainly are a rude, assess a person for a photograph speaks volumes about your professionalism. That’s your local marketing?

    Greetings from Spain.

  8. Mark S. Fitzgerald, Architect | LEED AP says:

    This comment is directed towards Marion and to anyone else who may be sitting on the fence questioning why they cannot afford this access to GKIC.

    I say, invest in the FREE two months of access to GKIC and you will never look back at marketing and sales in the same viewpoint as you once had. How do I know? Well, what do architects know about marketing? Practically nothing…That is why when the Great Recession hit back in 2005 (- more like 2008 where I live -), I was not ready to recognize the signs of economic collapse and my profession and business pretty much tanked. But by early January 2010, I discovered GKIC and took the plunge, and you know what? Now I am an entrepreneurial architect who is expanding his brand and business beyond what I could ever anticipate. I now see how to bring WOW to my clients so that they will become “customers for life” (or to put it another way, they are my Raving Fans) – think football, basketball, baseball, etc.

    To borrow a mantra from the Marines, I IMPROVISED (recognized what GKIC principles could do for my business), ADAPTED (my business plan to implement these “new-to-me” principles) and OVERCAME (my doubts and therefore am killing my competition).

    I suggest you do the same, or I’ll see you in my rear-view mirror!

  9. Daniel James says:

    Dan looks ill? Whatever Dan you look amazing and I love your stuff. Thanks for all the advice! :-)

  10. Krisz Rokk says:

    Love your comment Dan re. the ‘monogamous relationship’ with customers. It’s definitely a huge bonus for local businesses.
    I worked in the corporate world for several years and I can only reaffirm Forbes’ statement #2. Corps are investing big money into local marketing; I’ve seen this happen very aggressively both in Europe and Asia. And I’m pretty sure we’ve not seen the end of this trend.

  11. Jacob says:

    in local business you have less competition but you need to strive more to encourage the people to appreciate your business.

  12. Paul says:

    Much like you Dan, I travel to do face-to-face meetings with groups of people. Conversions are substantially higher at these than on the back-end of webinars, web pages or any other type of online marketing. Having said that, I do believe local businesses lack the know-how to implement a solid grass-roots campaign supported by their online presence.

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