Small Business Saturday image with shops against a blue background, image courtesy of American Express

The Genius Behind Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Looking at that another way, it’s sandwiched between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.

Small Business Saturday Rocks

I heard people talking about Small Business Saturday days before Black Friday kicked-off. That’s pretty impressive, considering that it was launched less than a decade ago.

Small businesses like it. Folks who support small businesses like it, and who doesn’t like small? Local businesses have a reputation for the kind of personal service that you might not receive from a bureaucracy or impersonal multinational corporation.

The surprise is that American Express Marketing & Development owns the Small Business Saturday trademark. They also run the Shop Small web site.

Strange Bedfellows

The reason this struck me as strange is because small businesses have a reputation of not accepting American Express cards. I experienced that myself when traveling for business with a corporate credit card. The higher fees charged by AmEx are at least part of the reason that some businesses accept only VISA and Mastercard.

It looks like Small Business Saturday is one way American Express reaches out to small businesses. In fact, it’s part of a mutual marketing campaign: If a small business accepts American Express, they will provide marketing materials and promote your business on their Shop Small map.

Eyes Wide Open

None of this is necessarily bad. Cooperative marketing has been around for as long as marketing itself. It’s just one of those Things That Make You Go Hmmm.

Did you know that the card that’s often not accepted by small businesses runs this campaign that promotes small businesses?

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