Spotting future Marketing Sociologist trends
Local First; return to brick and mortar

by Richard Kelleher, M.B.A.

Marketing Sociologist

Friendfeed/Twitter: phoenixrichard

This weekend I was at the mall and it was packed. There weren’t than many shopping bags in hand, but it is a start to recovery.

I also discovered a “new economy” trend. For years those much wiser than me have been saying “brick and mortar” was finished. You’d buy all your music as downloads, books as Kindle, even buy your cars online. I’m as guilty as the next guy of doing this.

I discovered “Local First Arizona” through its founder Kimber Lanning. It started locally nearly five years ago. It is a national trend the likes of what you’ve never seen. It is like a glacier being propelled by the new economy. Local First organizations are sprouting up like spring weeds; probably near YOU!

There’s a Local First Arizona, Local First Utah, Local First Vermont, Local First Lexington. Lanning’s site claims, ‘When you shop at a locally owned business, 45 cents of every dollar stays in Arizona - versus only 13 cents of every dollar spent at a national chain!’

Every organization has a slogan. Mine for the Heart Association was half of every dollar donated goes directly to medical research in Arizona – that was true at the time! Public relations’ was first called “propaganda.” That’s why, even today, a good slogan is always part of a Marketing Sociology campaign. Quick, what is the slogan of President Barack Obama’s economy recovery plan? You wonder why it’s going to fail?

So the concept is to keep your money locally. Several years ago a reporter was buying a guitar for her son. She asked Marketing Sociologist where to get one. I recommended – even before knowing of this organization – she buy local at Bobby Turner’s Bizarre Guitar rather than Guitar Center or online at Musicians Friend. It made sense to keep Bobby in business. He spends the money here and it doesn’t go off to Woodland Hills in California or someplace near Seattle. It is good for the economy. Dumb ignorance even told me buying local was good.

Denver’s Public Relations Society of America is practicing this. It’s having a local Denverite, Andrew Hudson, speaking at its yearly gala event; rather than paying $50,000 or more for an out-of-town speaker who will only be spending on a hotel room, rental car and some meals. Hudson’s speaking fee will stay in Colorado.

Just this weekend local mainstream media commented how our local convention center is not meeting its targets financially. I’m sure local groups are taking their convention out of town.

Local media and citizens didn’t help when they publically criticized, quite severly, General Motors for bringing a huge trade show here. Come on people, we have the weather Detroit doesn’t. GM already got the government money – it’s to be spent to help the economy. Wouldn’t you rather have it being spent in your back yard, creating jobs locally?

The future trend will be to buy local. Go to Bizarre Guitar, Changing Hands Bookstore, Peter Piper Pizza, Basha’s for groceries rather than Albertsons. The new economy will dictate this. You’re going to see a return to brick and mortar as unemployment climbs even farther. If you believe unemployment (including underemployment) nationally is only 8.9 percent, I have swamp land in Florida to sell you.