What People Don’t Get about Local

At this week’s Outrider client summit I moderated a local search panel. The room was full of marketers and agency types. Most were new to local or were dabbling in it. It was clear from their expressions and questions that they weren’t generally clued in to why local is important. Many people think about it as a SMB phenomenon exclusively.

And from a certain point of view it is about acquiring SMB advertisers (or geotargeting for larger marketers). But from a consumer perspective local swallows the Internet. As I tried to explain: Local is actually the biggest thing on the Internet because it’s really about offline transactions. It’s about people using the Internet as a research tool and then buying or transacting in local stores (be they mom and pops or big boxes) or with local service businesses.

Local is about where the money is changing hands. E-commerce is a niche (in terms of relative dollar value [4% of US retail]). Local is also about solving the “last mile problem” of search — getting people from their research online to the cash register (or its equivalent) in the real world.

6 Responses to “What People Don’t Get about Local”

  1. Gib Olander Says:

    Well said, if you believe in search (which you should) Then understanding local search is vital. It’s about where a searcher is when she/he IS searching, it’s where the buying power is, it’s about actual physical engagement, it’s about closing the loop and leading to a transaction for all businesses with a physical location.

  2. “Local swallows the internet” at Ghost of Midnight Says:

    […] Greg Sterling… … from a consumer perspective local swallows the Internet. As I tried to explain: […]

  3. Local Connections and Garden Doors | LocalPoint - Perspectives on the Local Internet Says:

    […] not only by email lists, are the basis for what Greg Sterling has recently argued (see “What People Don’t Get About Local“) is really the entire value proposition of the local space: the reach of the online into the […]

  4. Matthew Berk Says:

    Well said, Dr. Sterling.

  5. Alex Rambaud Says:

    Thank you so much Greg for your post (as usual!).

    I will always remember the advise a savy local advertiser was giving to an IYP top executive: “Easier you make it for the consumer, the less space they have to go from you to them.”

    It’s clear that among other solutions to help solving the “last mile problem” of search, an obvious one is to make it easier for a consumer to move its search results to his offline world 🙂

  6. Local Online Done Right: Delivering the goods while connecting with neighbors at Ghost of Midnight Says:

    […] fostered not only by email lists, are the basis for what Greg Sterling has recently argued (see “What People Don’t Get About Local“) is really the entire value proposition of the local space: the reach of the online into the […]

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