I’ve been a little perplexed lately about the whole “LOCAL” goldrush.
If you know me at all, you know I started with local internet marketing, way back in…1999. LOL
At big conferences like Pubcon, I was one of the first people to be asked to speak on Local SEO. At the time, it never made any sense to me why it was a big deal. All I would do was tell people to do cool shit to get links to their website with their city name in it, and then try to entertain them.
These days you see Groupon with all its copiers, Mike’s Main Street Marketing killing it, Yelp going nuts, and the super stealth secret sauce I have been working on that you will see soon.
It makes a lot of sense looking back on why it was so hard at the beginning as a local marketer trying to go big online.
Along the way I had to learn programming (at least a little), SEO when no one knew what it was, Social Media before it even existed, and just to help our little Chiropractic office kick ass in the local La Jolla market
So I been thinking and thinking and thinking.
This may sound simple, but it was profound enough for me to want to share this.
All marketing is ultimately local.
Every purchase is made by a person. That person has to be somewhere. Local marketing is simply another way of saying, we finally got our technology down well enough that we know where you are.
It is no more than an increased granularity of knowing what your customer is up to.
Where they are, has a lot to do with who they are and what they are into.
10 years ago my wife and I also discussed a lot about what was going to happen to local stores.
Well most of it has happened, so I might as well let everyone know what the end game is.
Everything that can be delivered online will be. In fact it almost is there now, with books, music, video etc.
The next step which is coming will happen with durable goods like clothes, lawn mowers etc. There is no reason to waste physical space with inventory at malls. They always can keep a little inventory for people who want to buy in an emergency.
The physical space for selling durable goods will be used only for demonstration of products.
Imagine walking into a toy store, and instead of it being lined with boxes of toys, it is instead a play area for kids to play with the toys until they find the one they love the most. Or instead of you trying on the same clothes you are going to buy, “who tried that on last?” the clothes are simply trial ones to look at, try on, and then order.
Car dealerships can become tracks to try the cars on, not big lots of cars to walk through.
Maybe all of that won’t become exactly what will happen, but I know you will see more and more of it.
I sure wouldn’t be investing in or buying any retail commercial real estate the next decade.
Big business should, and is slowly, moving toward customization of products, moving inventory to low rent areas.
While I am at it, I will let you know the other secret to this.
People have a need to socialize and interact in person.
Facebook is cool, but still doesn’t cut it for a warm look in the eye, or a fist bump.
Places like a chiropractic office, or a coffee shop allow people places to get together.
I expect movie theaters to continue to drop out as people watch more and more good content at home.
What I have been thinking on, and I know some people will create, will be some new ideas of ways people can meet and interact, offline.
Things like skating rinks, and bowling alleys will get busier.
With all of our creativity and technology, I also think we can can create some new ideas of ways we can interact live, that no one has even thought of yet.
So, like I have been saying since the beginning, let’s take this super cool technology we have been working on, and figure out ways we can make the world better.