Getting Small Business Marketing out from under the TARP

December 10th, 2009

Put aside your politics (yes, even in DC!) and evaluate a case study of communications opportunity presenting itself.  This past week, President Obama hosted a White House forum on job creation, and part of the discussion focused on possible federal incentives to support small business recovery.

Obama made the point that while he supports such incentives, “ultimately true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector.”


Always remember, in public relations, perception consistently trumps reality.  Accordingly, here is what the public perceives and/or is real.  First, the TARP program that blunted the recession actually will cost $200 billion less than the forecasted $341 billion.  While this certainly is good news, the common perception is that TARP helped Wall Street more than it did Main Street, USA (a nod to for excellent analysis).  So, Obama’s private sector argument immediately gets a leg kicked out from it.

Second, with all the discussion on what TARP does for big business, the public misses the point because they don’t hear about (i.e., perceive) what could be done for small business.  This is where small business marketing and small business PR can play a big role, even if it’s just talk being made by one small business.

Effective small business marketing tactics could turn part of the conversation toward the idea of steering more federal bailout money specifically toward small business programs.  The narrative and talking points almost write themselves – with small businesses success offering feel-good stories and great statistics, the small business community has ample room to enter the federal bailout discussion aggressively.

Through blogs, trade associations, chambers of commerce and other platforms, messages of support for small business programs can be broadcast and ultimately force public officials to acknowledge the questions being raised.  When these officials begin making relevant statements and proposals, allies and opposition can be defined, and small business public relations tactics will then prove their worth.

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