Marketplaces are sexy. They have disrupted long-standing lead-gen sources like Google, Craigslist, HomeAdvisor, and Angie’s List — all of which caused disruption within yellow pages years before.
Two areas in the industry I see creating genuine value are in-app search, or “deep linking,” and on-demand tech. In both cases, the value these two segments of our industry bring is in the efficiencies they create. In other words, where and how they reduce friction in consumer transactions is where we will see 2016 investment and M&A activity.
We tend to think of fragmentation as a major hurdle, but it means opportunities as well — to leverage content, data, and analytics to create an efficient, effective lead pipeline. Investors are turning their attention to this opportunity, pouring money into and acquiring companies that facilitate sales and marketing automation. What distinguishes the companies receiving investment dollars this year is that they uniquely embrace the concept of “growth hacking.”