Evocalize attended and spoke at Localogy 2021 in late September, along with nearly 300 other attendees from SaaS companies, agencies, media, and brands who were focused on local marketing. Spencer Smith, Evocalize’s VP of Marketing, spoke on a panel about the future of marketing platforms. Other topics of conversations ranged from how SMBs have adopted technology during the pandemic, to the promise and power of natural language processing (NLP), to how technology will continue to evolve to serve local-, small- and medium-businesses.
Here are six takeaways from the conference and conversations:
Local businesses have been largely ignored by tech for years, that’s finally changing
Technology for local businesses has lagged, both because providers have focused on large enterprise opportunities and the associated dollars, and because adoption by local businesses has been slow. The pandemic was a forcing function that caused many small and local businesses to look for technology solutions and drove adoption and usage.
- Fragmentation of growth drivers and proliferation of data have made it more difficult than ever for local businesses to compete
Small local businesses, as well as multi-location brands, have to successfully execute demand generation like large, centralized corporations, but are challenged by the many multiples of data and limited resources per location. Managing this chaos profitably has become critical, and powerful tech tools now exist to simplify the complexities and drive business value and growth.
- Consumers want localized digital and in-person interactions
More and more consumers want a local relationship with the businesses they interact with, whether the Mom and Pop stores in their neighborhood or a local experience from large national brands. This presents an enormous opportunity to reshape commerce across all consumer-facing verticals and opens the door to disruptive and exciting new brands, as well as for local businesses to gain market share from larger competitors.
- Customers expect a personalized experience
Customers now expect a personalized experience, and they expect it to be a good personalized experience. If they’ve interacted with you before, they want you to remember their preferences and behave accordingly. Good technology is essential for providing personalization at scale.
- The jury still out on how much of the pandemic driven tech and processes will endure
While all speakers agreed that local-, small- and medium-businesses will continue to use many of the technologies and new processes learned during the pandemic, the belief is that the pandemic was a high water mark for adoption, and we’ll see some businesses revert back to their previous practices and tools as things reopen.
- The technologies that democratize powerful digital tools for small and localized businesses are seeing incredible demand and valuations
Unprecedented valuations await the dominant products that simplify, aggregate, and provide insight and demand generation to SMBs and distributed businesses. The intersection of world events, technology maturation, and shifting consumer behavior will reward the most adaptive businesses and the technology that allows them to make and act upon the reams of data in a localized and authentic way.
- Bonus Takeaway
People were thrilled to be in person, having real conversations again after all the months of virtual conferences.