Is Politics the New Spice for American Small Businesses?
I got introduced to Penzeys Spices by a friend last summer. She served a delicious home-made rotisserie chicken sandwich in a picnic. I complimented her for making such an excellent sandwich, and she credited Penzeys Spices. I checked their website. Then I attempted to buy a few spices, but for some reason or another did the worst thing every e-tailer hates. I abandoned the cart!
But, I somehow ended up in their mailing list. They have been emailing me all kinds of interesting spicy information. I didn’t mind their emails until today. IMHO, they mixed the wrong spice in their email — American politics. The subject of the email read:
Impeachment — Because America matters.
After reading the email, I decided to investigate their recent news-making activities. I regrettably decided that I need to say goodbye to them. So I did something every e-tailer dreads. I unsubscribed from their email list!
Penzeys Spices is taking advantage of what most decent Americans are ashamed of today — the sad state of American politics. Our representative government is gearing up for an impeachment drama, which is likely to be worse than England’s Brexit crisis.
They should be fixing our aging infrastructure; making real changes to our failing healthcare; putting a stop to our horrific immigration policies, and avoiding hot-headed foreign policies.
According to the company’s CEO, mixing American politics as a new spice in their marketing has worked well so far. Should it be?
Most small businesses in America represent numerous stories of great struggle. Most are busy keeping their heads above water. They have very little time or resources to focus their energy on national politics. It is odd for a small business owner to involve nasty politics in their marketing. There is an excellent chance of alienating their customers. But Penzeys Spices’ email didn’t care! I wasn’t offended too much. But I could have been!
I am more disturbed by the potential for this type of marketing stunts becoming a real trend. I do not want Noah’s Bagel or Bed Bath and Beyond to send me anything but coupons and deals. I don’t seek political news or advice from any for-profit goods and services company. I get my news in trusted news organizations such as PBS, NPR, etc.
Consumers subscribe to Penzeys Spices for product updates or tips. It is fine to send them such information. They never asked to hear the CEO’s interpretation of current politics.
We are all responsible for what American politics has become. It didn’t degrade to the current state only because a foreign country influenced the last presidential election. It happened because we let it be for many years!
The frustrated amongst us love to blame a scapegoat. We hardly look at ourselves as the root cause. The lack of real participation of the people in American politics has made today’s upset a reality.
So, my two cents for fellow small business owners would be to reconsider the effects of mixing politics in your marketing. If customers and prospects want to know your opinion or stand in politics, they can read your views on your blog at any time. Don’t force your political views onto them. They might leave for a less noisy competitor! Share your thoughts in the comments section below.