2017 Local Marketing Predictions: Part II, Beyond Search

by David Mihm, Tidings Founder • December 4th, 2016 • 10 Comments

N.B. This is the second in a two-part series of predictions for 2017. Read Part I here.

As you know from Part I of this year’s predictions, I’m a little bearish on search as a universally successful, universally cost-effective marketing channel moving forward.  Here are some thoughts on what we might see in adjacent markets in 2017.

SNAPCHAT GOES STRATOSPHERIC
Spectacles will be an even bigger hit than Google Home and Amazon Echo and will be the #1 selling holiday item of 2017. They’re the first piece of technology I’ve seen in a long time that actually has the chance to increase connections between parents and kids rather than create a barrier. My guess is that Snap does a deal with a major gaming company (possibly Niantic Labs itself) to release something like Pokemon Go before the end of the year also.

FACEBOOK TRIES AND FAILS TO GET SMBs TO ADOPT REAL-TIME MESSAGING
Facebook’s been more successful than any previous technology company at activating SMBs and tapping into their budgets. Most of them are not full-time marketers, though, and the time-suck of Messenger as a 1:1 communications channel is going to be too great.

MAJOR CONSOLIDATION HAPPENS IN REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
There have been a lot of entrants to this space over the last seven years, and many of them aren’t actually doing reputation management, but reputation monitoring. Margins are dropping as a result of the competition, and demand is nowhere near what vendors think it is.  There are still plenty of vertical opportunities, but my guess is that less profitable players will merge, acquire, or be acquired by faster-growing ones.

SMB CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION EMERGES AS A PRODUCT SPACE
The excellent Camilyo/LSA whitepaper from earlier this year laid bare the missed opportunities of retention and conversion marketing among many SMBs. While I’m not convinced most SMBs have the time or desire to engage with full-featured CRM tools, automated segmentation of customer lists is a major product opportunity. I suspect we’ll see companies targeting “mass-market” accounting software like Quickbooks Online and Freshbooks with integrations along these lines.

LITMUS ANNOUNCES ANOTHER MAJOR PARTNERSHIP
I first came across Litmus as a result of Justine Jordan’s excellent presentation at MozCon Local earlier this year. After following them for the rest of 2016, I’m convinced Litmus is THE player to know in the mid-market/enterprise email marketing space. Their partnership with Outlook was a pretty big deal and I expect to see another similarly-sized partnership this year.