Street Fight hosted three events in 2013, two in New York during the winter (thanks to Hurricane Sandy) and fall, and another in San Francisco in late spring. The programming for the events, and the stories flowing out of them, reflect the continued transformation of the local marketing industry and the emergence of a new, technology-driven local ecosystem. With the year coming to a close, here is a look back at the biggest stories that came out of Street Fight’s Annual Summits.
Local Commerce Shifts Toward Retention: With the hangover from daily deal craze behind us, Belly CEO Logan LaHive argues that the number of new customers and the amount they spend is no longer the killer metric for local businesses. Instead, customer loyalty, particularly as the local commerce ecosystem shifts focus from acquisition to retention, is taking center stage. Signpost’s CEO Stuart Wall took a somewhat different approach, emphasizing the need for consumers to link new leads with real, measurable commerce.
Solving the Local Data Problem: In order to get local data right, panelists from Factual, Yext, Locu and UBL agreed that solving the problem was bigger than any one company. The execs all shared the same sentiment that the future of local information is editing, deleting, refreshing, and going directly to the source — even if that means going offline to find it.
What Search Did for the Internet, Maps Will Do for Mobile: Maps allow businesses to track users’ behaviors and target them within a particular radius — a capability that will become an integral part of the holy grail for small businesses, says Andy Ellwood, senior director of business development at Waze. Ellwoord, along with panelists from Esri and Placed also discussed the challenges faced by mobile analytics in dealing with the growing privacy concerns among consumers.
What Investors Look for in a Hyperlocal Startup: With the growth of funding in the elusive local market, venture capitalists from Bessemer Venture Partners and Scale Venture Partners analyzed recent investments to discuss what opportunities they are looking to fund in the hyperlocal space over the next year.
Yelp VP Ghaffary: 2.5 Trillion in Commerce Will Remain Offline: Offline retail is not going to die, Mike Ghaffary, VP at Yelp said at Street Fight Summit West in June. During a keynote, Ghaffary argued that the opportunity lies in using the web to support commerce offline, not bringing it online altogether. Ghaffary pointed to Warby Parker and others as examples of how companies can use a combination of online store with local fulfillment to find a third-path for local commerce .
Local News as a Loss Leader?: As local media companies struggle to subsidize their fledgling news operations, many legacy firms have invested heavily in a marketing agency model. Panelists from Deseret Digital Media, Speakeasy, and Propel Marketing discussed whether reselling digital marketing services and website building could prove a cure for replacing lost revenue, discussing opportunities and obstacles including pressure on expense management against reinvestment.
Who’s The Future Of Local Search? The Consumer: As consumers look to find, discover, and transact with local businesses, the local search industry is scrambling to adapt. To better understand the role of the commerce in local search, panelists from Yext, Yelp, and Bing discussed strategies for the industry to adapt moving forward. Panelists pointed to commerce functionality and semantic markup as a the key differentiator for local search companies.
What Brands Are Doing Wrong On Mobile: Brands need to change the way they approach mobile marketing from an advertising medium to a tool, which can create a better consumer experience, Brent Hieggelke, chief marketing officer at Urban Airship said during a keynote. To improve the user experience, Hieggelke argued that brands need to go deeper in the data, building experiences around purchase history, behavior, and location.
Why Partnerships Are Key to the Future of Local: Panelists from Delivery.com, Google’s Wildfire, and Leaf argued that partnerships would be the cornerstone of a scalable and efficient local ecosystem. From local search companies to to payment and delivery firms, there’s a massive opportunity for companies to reach across their silos, and partner with complementary services to improve the overall consumer experience and reduce sales costs.