Location data and analytics are a key R&D priority both now and in the longer term for companies supplying technologies and services to the connected local economy, according to Street Fight’s latest reader survey. Those companies deem AI and voice technology as two areas that require investment now, with an eye on a later payoff.
As local merchants increasingly shift their marketing spending to digital tactics, they’re becoming more sophisticated in how they manage those programs. Street Fight’s latest analysis of its local small business survey shows a much higher adoption rate of digital dashboards and the like compared with previous research.
The fourth edition of Street Fight’s Local Merchant Report shows a continued movement to social media as a preferred marketing tactic among local merchants. They deem it their most effective tactic, so they’re increasing their spending. Analysis of the survey suggests that would-be marketing suppliers can help them integrate social with their own site and email campaigns, as well as assisting them with reputation management and reviews.
The report—a key franchise for us—has regularly served as a guidepost for vendors seeking to expand their reach into this market. What’s been missing? A way to tie the data directly to a vendor’s business. So for the first time, we’re offering time with the report’s author, Street Fight director of research, David Card, to discuss the report’s findings directly.
A new report from Street Fight Insights found that many local businesses don’t feel they’re getting return on their social media efforts. That’s in spite of the fact that two-thirds of them are using social media for marketing, and many plan to increase their efforts. Companies in the connected local economy value chain looking to best serve merchants should supply them with tools and services to measure the impact and efficiency of their social media marketing programs.
Hyperlocal, mobile, on-demand contextual commerce enabled by buy buttons within mobile apps — that’s the new string of buzzwords making the rounds at industry conferences. The market reality: It’s going to take a while for this string to play out in the connected local economy. A key reason is that even as mobile disrupts search, most marketers and merchants can’t expect to get their own app on a majority of users’ home screens.
The venerable apps vs. mobile web debate continues to rage on but it is largely a distraction for local merchants. Business owners do need to understand the changing media landscape to make the most effective possible use of their limited marketing budgets, but their time and their dollars are better spent on marketing fundamentals rather than investing in the increasingly difficult and crowded race to acquire, retain, and monetize app users.
Preliminary results from our forthcoming executive survey suggest that industry players are investing the most in mobile, followed by data and analytics. Respondents indicated that mobile marketing and managing company websites were the biggest challenges for local merchants, along with SEO and listings management. More complete survey results will be revealed at our upcoming Street Fight Summit in New York City.