Some of the key findings from our analysis of the survey include the following:
• Alignment between sellers and buyers.
Both sellers and buyers agree that online-to-offline attribution is the most difficult local marketing industry challenge. It is the top near-term R&D priority for over one-third (36%) of suppliers. When assessing customer needs, suppliers appear to zero in on a fairly broad collection of tactics that also align well with those of their target customers. Multi-location brands are most concerned with proving marketing ROI.
• Some hyped technologies have faded.
Technologies that generated a great deal of industry hype a few years ago, like beacons and on-demand services, are not very high on vendor R&D priority lists. Neither are newer buzz-generators like augmented or virtual reality and chatbots garnering much investment attention from the survey respondents. Instead, in addition to attribution, top R&D priorities include local presence and listings management (33%) and location data and analytics (31%).
• Company challenges include ROI, brand awareness, and selling to brands.
The hyperlocal supplier community may be missing some growth areas in email, search, and non-social digital display advertising, especially at enterprise local marketers. The fact that both SMBs and brands are increasing local spending across multiple tactics presents opportunities in campaign integration. Selling local marketing technology and services to multi-location brands continues to be a top challenge facing would-be suppliers. Offering tactics and tools to harmonize multiple customer data sources would help address the brands’ digital marketing pain points.
So, while vendor investments are largely following customer spending, it’s not getting any easier. The state of hyperlocal remains dynamic, and smart suppliers must remain flexible and open to partnership.