Business

The Business of Change | How the Internet Dictates the Industry

In my 40+ years in business, Flag and Banner (FAB) has been through decades of drastic changes. When first starting out in 1975, I sold flags door to door and even carried some inventory in the trunk of my car. But when gas prices soared, when my daughter was born, and when long-distance calling became affordable (due to the deregulation of Ma Bell’s monopoly), I changed to a telemarketing sales strategy.

Eventually, consumers got wise to the constant barrage of telemarketers, and they bought answering machines to filter their calls. This is when I learned the power of data collection and began mailing catalogs to our customers.

Bleeding Edge of Technology

At a luncheon in 1995, I heard about this thing called the world wide web and promptly bought the domain “flagandbanner.com.” For the next 2 years, I learned a new language; uploads, downloads, ping, select, cursor, mouse. And I threw good money after bad as I worked with Aristotle.net to design a website that the world was not yet ready for. During this time, I learned the meaning behind, “the bleeding edge of technology” because we were hemorrhaging money.

At one point, I thought, “Well I’ve done it now … and bankrupted my company.” But when the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers happened and flag fervor surged, FAB was prepared and positioned for the web sales that would ensue. The technology changed our business.

The Information Highway

Today, it is Google that weighs on my mind. No longer are users finding the internet to be the “information highway” of the past. It is now page after page of ads that are becoming increasingly expensive to the advertisers that bid on them. At FAB, we joke that all we do is work for Google, because that is where all our money goes. But, without them, there would be no sales.

Like in the era of telemarketing, there will be a paradigm shift as consumers grow smarter and wary of the barrage of ads.  I feel another change a coming and I am keeping my eyes and ears open for the next big change. Change is Good.

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