Aside from having a product or service to sell, and a

business license as well as accountant, what is the most important thing needed for the development of a successful business? Location and visibility. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, location and visibility was accomplished by opening a business on Main Street and adding an advertisement painted on a brick wall, or a sign hanging over the door. An occasional advertisement in the weekly newspaper would round out the marketing campaign. If the town was small enough you didn’t even need to include an address. However, if you really wanted to promote a business or product, you added lengthy, wordy text to the advertisement.

As with so many things in our society, the automobile played a major role in changing how products were marketed. Initially automobiles were marketed with simple advertisements and a high profile location, at least until Ernest Elmo Calkins entered the advertising game in 1903. Utilizing artistic standards and text carefully developed to illicit a predetermined response, his advertising agency provided automobile manufacturers that retained his services an edge over competitors locked into traditional marketing. 

The Calkins & Holdin agency did not break the rules of marketing and advertising, they rewrote the rule book, and with the campaign developed for Pierce-Arrow, America’s preeminent automobile manufacturer, raised the bar to unprecedented levels. This campaign commenced with the retention of the world’s finest illustrators. As a result, some of the original promotional pieces created for this company now sell as fine art.

Cadwallader Washburn Kelsey, Carl to his friends, further transformed advertisement and promotion by harnessing technology. In 1905, shortly after establishing a Maxwell-Briscoe agency in Philadelphia, he retained the services of Lublin Film Studios to capture new Maxwell’s on endurance runs, in stylish settings, and performing attention grabbing stunts. These were shown in nickelodeon theaters throughout the country. Kelsey had created the filmed automobile commercial.

KIngman, Arizona circa 1953 courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

The development of radio, neon, and television further transformed business marketing, advertisement, and promotion. Then as now, however, some business owners clung to what worked in the past and justified the shortsightedness by claiming it was a cost saving measure. And they fell by the wayside, withered on the vine, and became historical footnotes. When was the time you stopped by the Porter Stanhope or Winton dealership for a new car?

Technology, today, has provided even the smallest business owner with unprecedented marketing and promotional opportunities, and for a fraction of the cost of former advertising budgets. This is an underlying component behind Promote Kingman; create a network of partners, utilize pooled resources for customized international marketing, and provide this service to business owners regardless of available budget for advertising. Through the Promote Kingman initiative, any business can utilize social media campaigns, website design and maintenance, video, and the latest promotional opportunities such as Facebook live to market their business or service to the world.

Now, that network of partners is about to grow rather dramatically. This week the social media stage for Promote Havasu (Lake Havasu City) and Promote Bullhead (Bullhead City) launched with a a website to soon follow. Next up, Promote Route 66.

So, are you marketing your business as your grandfather did?