Protect privacy but don’t take my advertising away

Over the past four years, our country has experienced a “small business” boom with Americans forming around 4.7 million businesses per year since 2020. What’s even more striking is that 80% of these businesses are solely owned and operated by one person. Small business in America is a cornerstone of our society and imperative to the health of local communities. And thanks to more tools and resources than ever, the opportunity to open your own business is a reality for more people than ever — including for me.

For the longest time, having enough capital to gain and retain customers has been a barrier to entry in creating new businesses and creating new jobs. The biggest companies were the only ones that could afford massive advertising buys in legacy media channels.

Today, the playing field has been equalized through technology and the creation of digital ad networks. At Uncle Charlie, we advise clients on how to maximize their marketing budgets. For example, I’ve worked with a client recently out of Miami, Florida. This client had a limited budget and was initially zeroed in on their local market, but thanks to our services, we could stretch that budget to the limit and work them into a variety of different markets, including here in Minnesota.

Companies like mine, with a limited advertising budget, in many cases can be much more effective than the bloated big business with a $1 million budget. You don’t need a massive budget, sometimes all you need is a giant cat filter and some humor.

Small businesses like mine use digital platforms as advertising agencies to save thousands of dollars when targeting new and returning customers, but the ongoing “techlash” that’s gripped Washington, D.C., risks hurting small businesses across America. For example, the Federal Trade Commission has proposed rules that could undermine how small businesses use advertising on these platforms, all under the guise of addressing harms from what they call “commercial surveillance” and lax data protection practices.

While the FTC is concerned about limiting the power and control of the advertising giants, many small businesses are growing concerned about their future ability to keep the lights on should laws change.

Limiting the effectiveness of digital data is bad for consumers and bad for small businesses. It leads to wasted ad budgets, unnecessary content experiences for consumers and fewer jobs for said small businesses. In reality, restrictions on digital data use puts more power into the hands of the large corporations who can afford to be less-targeted with their advertising.