Starting from the Icebox

1920's refrigerator compared to digital marketing for business
1920s ice box as displayed in the Smithsonian Institute American History bog

Did you ever see an Icebox, maybe in a museum?  I had the occasion to see one when I was a kid.  We had a neighbor that lived in a one room, I guess you would call it a shack.  The story goes that his house had burned down years before.  He was confined to a wheelchair, but he managed to plant a small garden every year and he shared some of the cucumbers and tomatoes with us.  One day he asked for some help transporting vegetables into the house, my mother said it was OK to help so over the fence I went.  We had a large family so we had a refrigerator with a top freezer as well as a huge chest freezer.  You cannot imagine my surprise when I entered the small home to put vegetables in an actual Icebox!  This is true you cannot make a story like this up.  My only other exposure to the notion of an icebox came from my Grandmother’s accounting of the “good old days”.  If you are the curious type, check this out the Smithsonian Institute at

Well, that was a fun start, but this blog is about marketing.  Just like refrigerators, marketing has evolved over the decades.  At one point print was the biggest form of marketing. It focused on local markets since the reach was very small.  The coming of radio and television expanded marketing’s reach from thousands to millions.  But television is now and has always been out of the reach of a small local business.  These meant newspapers were still the way to go for marketing of small local businesses.

I don’t know about you, but when was the last time you picked up a newspaper?  The few newspapers that are still around publish editions that are smaller and except for classifieds, advertising is virtually nonexistent in newspapers.  That just leaves a few local publications that are strictly targeted at advertising and a few articles focusing on community events.  The problem with these publications is that they often go straight to the trash unless the reader is looking for a particular service.  A decent sized ad in one of these rags is not particularly expensive but to get the coverage you think that you want you often end up with several upgrades without the assurance that you will actually reach your ideal potential client base.  Let’s face it these newspapers are in the “sales” business and their telemarketers are pretty good at convincing you to buy more than you need or want.  They often catch the business person off guard and they fail to sit down and strategically calculate if this type of advertising will reach their ideal customer.

So now let’s look at 21st-century advertising.  It relies almost exclusively on Internet connection.  It can be very affordable and targeted if done properly.  Downside is businessmen are not always marketers.  They have no clue where to start.  They don’t set aside enough capital to cover a campaign.  And they are foolish enough to think that just putting up a web site is going to make the big bucks.  Instead, the site turns into an expense, sometimes a huge expense instead of an asset.  Yet a problem here is there are many unscrupulous marketing companies that take that advantage of the uneducated business person.  We hope to offer advice on how not to make a big dollar marketing mistake in our future posts.

Wishing you the profitable week and we’ll talk again soon about moving from the icebox to the bottom freezer refrigerator.