After shoveling stuffing and cranberry sauce into our collective faces, the Thanksgiving ritual long has dictated that we waddle off to the mall the following day and face the crowds for deals on crap that our loved ones probably don’t really want. Does anybody actually enjoy the Black Friday tradition? Clearly someone does; but in these creative technical and financial times, the whole concept of Black Friday seems a tad tired. So, thankfully, Small Business Saturday has arrived.
The brainchild of American Express and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Small Business Saturday is definitely strategic but you can’t argue with the motives behind it. On the campaign trail in 2008, we heard everybody running for president blather on about the importance of small businesses and saving local-grown companies. The government hasn’t exactly hopped in to save the day, but small businesses have found a way to stay afloat using social media marketing and other homespun techniques.
American Express is rewarding this ingenuity. The credit card company is giving 100,000 cardholders who register their cards and use it on Small Business Saturday a $25 statement credit for shopping at local businesses that accept American Express. AmEx is sweetening the deal for shop owners too by giving away $100 of free Facebook advertising to 10,000 business owners who sign up at facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday.
Facebook has joined in on the promotion by donating $500,000 in Facebook credits for these small business owners to use in the future. Business owners can find free downloadable marketing materials online to promote the event. And to give the promotion a truly holiday spirit of giving, American Express is donating $1 for every person who “˜likes’ Small Business Saturday on Facebook to Girls Inc.
American Express naturally has a full-throttle ad campaign in the wings to support Small Business Saturday. And it will certainly need it. Small Business Saturday is an idea whose time has come – but that doesn’t mean it will be an easy sell to the throngs of cash-strapped folks looking for bargains. As usual, changing our preprogrammed minds takes a lot of time and love for local companies won’t happen overnight. Small Business Saturday is at least a step in the right direction.