The Search Landscape, Localogy, StreetFight, Humans & AI (& Pasta)!

The Search Landscape, Humans & AI (& Pasta)!

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The New York City landscape has changed,  and so has the local search landscape. On November 7th, at Localogy‘s Place23 conference,  a range of powerhouse groups and more than 100 senior marketing professionals came together to be the architects of our new future.

Two of the panels at the Place event covered the challenges faced by MULO (multi-location) brands and how some of the solutions were being developed using AI, sophisticated analytics, and practical use of behavior data in growing customer bases.

We at Street Fight led two sessions sponsored by DevHub. 

The first was comprised of four leaders in the MULO space. Each plays a unique role in the industry.

  • Bennett Maxwell, founder of Dirty Dough Cookies shared the challenges of scaling a local business to a national one. He emphasized the importance of operational efficiency, ensuring your store footprint is no bigger than it needs to be, and choosing the right markets for expansion.
  • Craig Winning of Batbox talked about the growing eatertainment and sportainment trend, and how restaurants need to serve today’s consumers with experiences rather than just food and products.
  • Andrew McCarthy of Aikito helps MULO brands scale faster by automating the build-out process and making sure operators can open faster and cost-efficiently without compromising brand standards.
  • Emily Steele just secured funding for her groundbreaking company Hummingbirds. A new take on local influencer marketing, the company engages real fans of products and services to serve as field marketers. Because authenticity is so critical today, the recommendation of a friend or neighbor can be more powerful than that of a random social media poster.

So, the panel took the audience through all stages of MULO expansion — from concept to outreach, emphasizing that some of the simple principles of customer service, a high-quality experience, consistent branding, and word-of-mouth marketing are still critical. What’s changed is that they’ve all been simplified and automated.

In the afternoon, Louisa Schneider, founder and CEO of Rowan, took the stage for a “fireside chat” with yours truly.

As you may know, only 2 percent of VC funding goes to women founders, and Louisa is part of that minority, although the journey was not an easy one. (She has raised $30 million to date after multiple rejections, despite the fact that her background was at a hedge fund.)

She began with her origin story; her ear-piercing brand concept was hatched via conversations with other mothers and the need for a more sanitary and pleasant experience. Early press exposure led to a partnership with Target, but Rowan is now going it alone and focusing on its own branded stores.

They are scaling rapidly but rationally and are looking for a CMO. She also stressed the changing search landscape has increased the importance of word-of-mouth marketing, customer care, and delivering unique and positive moments to consumers.

Street Fight announced the relaunch of its live event — currently scheduled for October 2024. There, MULO brands across industries and the agencies and technology providers that support them will meet to reinvent brick-and-mortar and win the battle for consumer eyes and wallet share.

Among the most powerful moments of the day, however, were the connections made among the attendees. The beauty of curated conferences like this one is that professionals can learn from each other, combining the physical and digital to grow their knowledge of consumer needs, expand more efficiently, and market to buyers, utilizing technology in this new search landscape to understand better who wants to buy, when they want to buy, and what media will deliver the best results.

The evening ended with an intimate gathering on a Manhattan rooftop sponsored by Yext.

As we looked out on the city that never sleeps, we thought about an industry that never sleeps and how technology can help us all build customer loyalty and revenue — using AI and technology-powered insights as our guides through the new search landscape.




Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.