prtothetrade

My Guest Blogs: How Antique Dealers Benefit from Social Networks.

In 1 on December 30, 2009 at 3:42 pm

While most ad agencies have been closed for the holidays, PR To the Trade has been a perpetual motion machine.  As we prepare a client’s relaunch, not a soul here is sleeping.  This blog comes from Harvey Gamm, who advises  us on new  business development.

Harvey Gamm

Harvey Gamm, Guest Blogger.

Gamm’s credentials stretch from salon.com to Buzznet. If anybody, understands the impact of the internet and social networks on business, he does.

I offer you Gamm’s thoughts on How Old Line Antique Dealers can Learn From a 91 Year Old Custom Boot Makers who has seen business soar 25% by embracing Google and more.

Forty-six year ago Bob Dylan  predicted  “The Times they Are a Changin’.”  The concept is still relevant.

On Christmas Day, Amazon reported that it sold more e-books for its own Kindle reader than physical books.  How can this be?  Amazon began as an online book retailer and now its 2 year old Kindle outsold its principal business!  And who ever heard of Amazon until about 12 years ago?  Now they are considered the “Wal-Mart” of online retailing and the single biggest threat to Wal-Mart itself.

Yes, The Times They Have a Chang’ed.

The Internet, email, blogs, Smartphones and social networks like Facebook are changing the very structure of our daily life and how we communicate. And…

If you think Facebook is just for college students, consider the fastest growing demographic are users between ages 35-44.  This target comprises over 25% of all Facebook users!

Social Networking sites are the new mass media.

Savvy marketers are embracing and most importantly benefitting from this opportunity.  Of course, with anything new…history has always had its doubters. For example,

The Top 10 Worst Technology Predictions

(according to the Wall Street Journal) were…

  • “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” Sir William Preece, chief engineer at the British Post Office, 1878
  • “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” H.M. Warner, Warner Bros., 1927.
  • I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
  • “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946
  • “The world potential market for copying machines is 5,000 at most.” IBM executives to the eventual founders of Xerox, 1959
  • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olsen, founder of mainframe-producer Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
  • “No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer—640K ought to be enough for anybody.” Bill Gates, Microsoft, 1981.
  • Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput.” Sir Alan Sugar, British entrepreneur, 2005

In each case, people – the target market, buyers, consumers – proved the experts wrong.  So, if you’re still sitting on the fence about using 21st Century internet marketing techniques to change your business, you can learn from a 91 year old boot maker.

I just saw a TV story about how Paul Bond Boots increased business 25% by embracing Google search.

Paul Bond (R)

Bound by Tradition but Embracing New Technology. Photo Courtesy Paul Bond website.

Paul Bond has been hand making boots since 1932.  His entire family is involved in the business. Much like yours, probably.

You would think this old line, family business would abhor technology and yet they have become its biggest advocates proving that some traditions can be improved upon.

The Decorative Arts business has a very long and successful history of doing business one way.  Unfortunately, the tectonic plates that underpin it are shifting as younger buyers expect a two way conversation with not only the expert dealers, but their peers.

I predict that within the next month you will see more of your competitors embracing targeted social networks. Of course, your social networking still has to be highly targeted and integrated within a complete marketing plan. But my point is …you must embrace change to grow.

Decorative arts dealers, antique dealers, businesses that trade in objects of material culture – call antiques what you will, antique dealers  benefit from social networks.

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  1. While there are some social networks centered around antiques, I know of few which are actually built by antiques dealers.

    Let me introduce one of the first. We’ve been using it for business now for over 6 months. Our best vehicle for our biz to date.
    see the website linked here, at http://greenspot.ning.com

    Built on a Ning social network site, as a single store-owned network, it is working great. Join in or just peek in for ideas. We’re glad to be on the bleeding edge here at Green Spot antiques. Our newest venture, a mashup of blog/store/items/tweetups, and news stories is also somewhat innovative, and we invite you to have a look at http://greenspotantiques.com/wp.

    We see exciting things happening in the antiques trade with new technology. Needless to say, we no longer use print or newpaper/magazine ads of any sort for the past 4 years, biz has only gone up, even during the recent recessionary times.

    cheers.
    Vince.

    • Thanks for the comment… After reading MAD’s November trashing of PRV2 for antiques dealers, you comment is a bright window on (not only) the future, but the present.
      Regina

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