You Must Irrigate Your Neighborhood

October 07, 2011  |   Advertising and Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

Another classic short story about advertising from The Clock that Had no Hands And Nineteen Other Essays About Advertising By Herbert Kaufman

Half a century ago there were ten million acres of land, within a thousand miles of Chicago, upon which not even a blade of grass would grow. Today upon these very deserts are wonderful orchards and tremendous wheatfields. The soil itself was full of possibilities. What the land needed was water. In time there came farmers who knew that they could not expect the streams to come to them, and so they dug ditches and led the water to their properties from the surrounding rivers and lakes; they tilled the earth with their brains as well as their plows—they became rich through irrigation.

Advertising has made thousands of men rich, just because they recognized the possibilities of utilizing the newspapers to bring streams of buyers into neighborhoods that could be made busy locations by irrigation—by drawing people from other sections.

The successful retailer is the man who keeps the stream of purchasers coming his way. It isn’t the spot itself that makes the store pay—it’s the man who makes the spot pay. Centers of trade are not selected by the public—they are created by the force which controls the public—the newspapers.

New neighborhoods for business are being constantly built up by men who have located themselves in streets which they have changed from deserted by-ways into teeming, jostling thoroughfares, through advertising irrigation.

The storekeeper who whines that his neighborhood holds him back is squinting at the truth—he is hurting the neighborhood.

If it lacks streams of buyers, he can easily enough secure them by reaching out through the columns of the daily and inducing people from other sections to come to him. Every time he influences a customer of a competitor he is not only irrigating his own field but is diverting the streams upon which a non-advertising merchant depends for existence. Men and women who live next door to a shop that does not plead for their custom will eventually be drawn to an establishment miles away because they have been made to believe in some advantage to be gained thereby.

The circulation of every daily is nothing less than a reservoir of buyers, from which shoppers stream in the direction that promises the most value for the least money.

The magic development of the desert lands, has its parallel in merchandising of men who consider the newspaper an irrigating power which can make two customers grow where one grew before.

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