LSA15: State of the Industry and Association

Welcome to LSA15!  Today I opened the conference by looking at why so many companies are flocking to the business of local.  In the 40 years of LSA’s existence, our focus has always been on local, yet more has changed in the space in the last few years than ever before.  This year alone, 33 new companies have joined LSA.

There’s no question that mobile has changed the local marketplace.  Here are some stats from research recently released by LSA:

  • 60% of consumers use mobile to find information on local products and services
  • 52% do so while “on the go”
  • 54% look for deals while in stores
  • 51% use mobile devices to compare prices and 39% look at online reviews

Mobile is also influencing purchasing decisions

  • 55% of consumers have clicked on mobile ads while searching for local products and services
  • 59% have been influenced by social media posts while shopping
  • 70% will share their location if they get something of value in return such as a deal/coupon

While e-commerce sales are still significantly dwarfed by offline sales, digital information influences over half of all sales and mobile affects one-third.  Accessing the internet on mobile is just one of the many ways that mobile impacts local business.  Mobile devices tied to consumers on the go provide critical location data.  Mobile payments, resource sharing (like Uber), wearables, and closing the gap between online and offline purchases are all heavily dependent on mobile.

Local business is a driver of the US economy accounting for 54% of all sales, employing 56 million employees, and creating almost two-thirds of new jobs.

And as our world is shrinking, so are our communities.  69% of mobile users look for businesses that are within 5 miles of their location and are willing to travel no more than 17 minutes away to shop.  This results in roughly 70% of consumer spending occurring within 20 miles of home.

Naturally as location plays an increasing role in consumer shopping decisions, marketing and advertising dollars will follow.  Location data and technology will continue to increase in usage and targeting and marketing performance will improve.

So our industry plays a critical part in the health and economy of our local communities.  We support small businesses and have an incredible opportunity to make them more effective in reaching their consumers.  But expectations by these businesses for measurable results will rise and our studies show that there is room for improvement in delivering our services.

As the largest trade organization solely focused on the business of local, we are uniquely positioned to help our members navigate and succeed in this rapidly changing marketplace.

  • Earlier this year we launched LSA Insights, a local media performance and planning tool for the local advertising and marketing community that includes 350,000 real ad campaigns for analysis and comparison.
  • Several new partners are now offering LSA’s Co-op program and service bureau as part of their platform as another revenue source generated from work you are already doing.
  • LSA continues to protect the industry in policy and regulatory matters including in the areas of publisher liability and advertising regulation.
  • LSA releases significant amounts of research focusing on the latest trends and insights in the local marketplace such as the recently published Mobile Fanatics report.  I also reported some results from a brand new study on challenges SMB’s face with local marketing and advertising.  We will release the full report soon.
  • Later today we will announce the winners of our Ad to Action awards from amongst the 90 entries we received.  The awards highlight some of the best and latest innovations in the local marketing and advertising space.

So much is going on in the local space, and our Association reflects the growth and interest in it.  In addition to the 33 new members that have joined since the beginning of the year, we’ve added two new board members that represent the growing diversity of our membership:  Jed Nachman of Yelp and Mike Fordyce of NinthDecimal.

It is an exciting time for both our industry and Association.  There’s a tremendous opportunity to help SMB’s navigate the challenges of marketing, and our members do incredibly important work every day with small businesses.  And LSA is here to elevate the industry and support our members in that work.

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