Think those “buy local” campaigns are a waste of money? Or, think they are great? Well, whatever your opinion, there is research on the matter that seems to show that they are worth the time and investment. For the 4th consecutive year, a national study by the Institute for Self-Reliance has shown that “buy local” campaigns really do support local businesses. “Independent businesses in areas with ‘buy local’ campaigns have much greater revenue growth than independent businesses in areas without such campaigns.”

Independent businesses in “buy local” campaign areas saw their revenue grow 5.6% in 2010 and independent businesses in other areas only saw their revenue grow 2.1% during the same time.

Local business owners noticed the effect themselves as well.

“Almost half [of business owners in cities with active ‘buy local’ campaigns] reported that the campaign had brought new customers to their business and 55% said it had made existing customers more loyal,” Stacy Mitchell of the New Rules Project reports. “More than two-thirds said local media coverage of independent businesses had increased and 51% said that local government officials were now more aware and supportive of the needs of independent businesses.”

I wonder if other policies are in place in jurisdictions with these “buy local” campaigns that could be skewing the results a bit and making the campaigns seem more important than they are, but saw no indication of that in the surveys.

What are local businesses putting in to the campaigns in order to receive that growth in revenue and public support? Not much according the the study authors.

“Remarkably, most of the campaigns operated by Independent Business Alliances are funded by businesses paying $20 or less per month in dues. They’re getting quite a return on their investment,” Jennifer Rockne, executive director of the American Independent Business Alliance, noted. Looks like a good investment.

Photo Credit: Intiaz Rahim