Should We Do Away with the Word ‘Local’?

The word “local” appears to be a problem.

It has turned out to be somewhat confusing to many advertisers and has obscured rather than elucidated the opportunity. The opportunity is to lead shoppers and searchers to an offline point of sale or vendor for fulfillment of their need. That opportunity extends to businesses large and small, to national brands and independent local stores.

Online influencing offline sales.

But national brands and marketers often don’t see the opportunity because they  associate the word “local” with someone or something other than what they do. They may understand, by contrast, the crude geotargeting of the ad networks. But overall they don’t fully grasp the opportunity and that “local” or “geotargeting” is really about reaching particular people in particular places — who will typically buy something or do something in a physical location.

I’m not ready to abandon the word “local” but it has become as problematic as it is descriptive. What do others think?

6 Responses to “Should We Do Away with the Word ‘Local’?”

  1. Scott Jones Says:

    Well, it would bugger up my company name if we did LOL

  2. SearchCap: The Day In Search, July 22, 2008 Says:

    […] Should We Do Away with the Word "Local", Screenwerk […]

  3. Jamie Low Says:

    I agree, it’s always seemed too small a word to describe the scope of what I’ve often referred to as “regional” search. The word “local” infers a proximity to the user and “mobile” search suggests the context of the device being used, where the word “regional” serves as a larger umbrella phrase that would include the use cases you outlined, as well as travel related queries. The “Local, Geo and Mobile” nomenclatures should be retained as dominant subcategories, and ultimately, these subcategories are more useful than an uber-category phrase. But you’re right, the word “local” breeds more confusion than necessary during client strategy meetings, and we have to work at clarifying our language to avoid confusion. I think there is still room for a healthy debate on this question; although this is territory that’s been tread on before, “Regional Search” is only now really on the verge of becoming a mainstream “my mom does it” activity.

  4. Matthew Hunt Says:

    @Jamie Low – it always comes down to when the “Moms do it” activity, to be considered mainstream. LOL! Too funny. Local is here and has been here for quite some time and those that “get it” have been reaping the benefits for some time now. The folks I work with and myself am happy that the national chains have not caught onto this gold mine of consumers. Local consumers convert and at the end of the day that is all a small business wants to know – the tally on the POS Terminal.

  5. Portugal Web Says:

    The “Local, Geo and Mobile” nomenclatures should be retained as dominant subcategories, and ultimately, these subcategories are more useful than an uber-category phrase.

  6. What Folks Are Saying about Local Advertising Says:

    […] Should We Do Away with the Word Local? by Greg Sterling […]

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