Member Event: “Lunch and Learn” Teaches Small Business Owners Internet Marketing, Highlight Dangers of Proposed New Federal Privacy Legislation

No marketing tool is more effective than the Internet when it comes to advertising for small businesses, but the effectiveness of digital ads could be severely limited by new Congressional legislation – that was the predominant message shared at a recent “lunch and learn” event by advertising expert Drew Ament, a member of Internet for Growth, a national coalition of small businesses and creators who depend on digital advertising to reach customers and audiences.

The event, co-hosted by Internet for Growth, Local First Arizona, and Milkweed Arts drew about a dozen attendees to Milkweed’s west Phoenix studio space on December 16th. Ament shared insights on how best to use the Internet to reach current and potential small business customers in a cost-effective way. Ament also cautioned the entrepreneurs about the ways in which new Congressional legislation directed at customer privacy could make it more difficult to advertise.

“The Digital Advertising Act and other bills like it could drastically curtail small businesses’ ability to reach new and existing customers, while driving up the cost of data-driven online marketing as it becomes less effective,” said Ament, who owns marketing firm Press1toTalk. “For a digital advertising agency like my business – and for our dozens of small business clients, from car dealers to Realtors who rely on digital ads – this legislation will deepen the competitive disadvantage small businesses face compared to big businesses with huge ad budgets.”

Internet for Growth Executive Director Brendan Thomas called digital advertising “a vital tool” for small business, and echoed Ament’s warning about Congressional proposals. Internet for Growth, an initiative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, comprises hundreds of marketers, agencies, publishers, platforms and ad tech providers, as well as hundreds of small businesses and creators. The coalition supports the transformative role the advertising-supported Internet plays in empowering small businesses, helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.

“Unfortunately, small businesses are going to get swept up in the politics swirling around Big Tech in Washington,” said Thomas. “Data powers everything from websites and social media to email marketing and e-commerce tools. In effect, it’s all advertising and marketing, which some politicians are calling “commercial surveillance” these days. The internet is built on the exchange of information. That’s what makes it different.

“A plethora of online tools make it easier than ever to start a business today. Think about the creator economy and all those free ad-supported products and services. Internet for Growth is all for privacy, but these bills have much larger ambitions. The aim is to reshape the online experience in ways most people won’t like.”

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