Local digital marketing firm ReachLocal has been engaged in a lengthy turnaround effort. It announced last week that it was exiting direct sales in the U.K. and focusing on markets with “potential for positive, sustainable economics.” The announcement indicates ReachLocal is still focused on cutting things that aren’t working rather than regaining growth momentum.
The past few years have seen the introduction of a whole universe of new tools designed to address individual aspects of digital marketing. In 2016, we will see a shift away from many of these discreet, single-purpose tools toward more comprehensive marketing solutions, DataSphere’s Gary Cowan predicts. Here’s a look at five ways SMB local marketing will mature in the coming year.
Almost half of small business owners say they’re being overrun by basic administrative tasks. When Roo’s World of Discovery owner Michelle Pollak Landwehr found herself in that same position, spending hours each week on basic administrative tasks like tracking member visits, scheduling classes, and managing recurring payments at her Washington-based children’s indoor play space, she began looking for digital solutions.
With the holiday season upon us, local merchants are pulling out all the stops to entice shoppers into their stores and away from their computers, with many focusing on customer service as their differentiator. Here are five ways local merchants can improve customer service this holiday season by implementing hyperlocal technology.
What’s on the mind of technology and marketing suppliers targeting the connected local economy? They’re keen on mobile — perhaps too keen — but struggling with their own companies’ brand awareness. The dichotomy between small businesses and national chains that sell locally is profound, and presents difficult challenges in scaling to support either, let alone both, according to Street Fight Insights analysis.
Booker CEO Josh McCarter opened his Street Fight Summit keynote address with a question that’s on the minds of many small business solutions providers: “How do you take a system that’s designed for one vertical and take it across more categories?” Factoring in the differing needs of various service-based businesses makes that question even more complex. But given the size of what McCarter termed the “local service commerce” opportunity, answering it could be tremendously lucrative.
The future of SMB marketing solutions isn’t do-it-yourself, do-it-for-me, or even do-it-with-me. Rather, it lies in a new go-to-market model called “do nothing” that combines context, content, software, and automation into solutions that are low-cost, have next to no barriers to entry, and require little in the way of learning or doing from customers.
Speculation over the best model for providing and marketing SMB solutions — do-it-yourself (DIY), do-it-for-me (DIFM), or the middle-ground option, do-it-with-me (DIFM) — has been swirling for years. Columns from two Street Fight contributors indicate that while technology is part of the current problem, it’s undoubtedly part of the solution as well.
The question of whether or when SMBs are going to self-provision online marketing has been a topic of intense debate for at least a decade. Signs now point to the emergence of solutions simple enough to make self-service viable within three to five years. Ultimately, rather than a do-it-yourself vs. do-it-for-me dichotomy, we’re likely to see an increasingly stratified local market that looks a lot like a three-cabin airplane seating chart.
A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Apple Pay Partners with AmEx to Expand Internationally (Fortune)… JPMorgan Chase Says It’s Building a Rival to Apple Pay (Channel NewsAsia)… Is Amazon Killing Small Businesses? (Forbes)…