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New Podcast: “The Convergence of Everything” with Dan Hight (Video)

Dan Hight is a longstanding presence in the local digital ecosystem, having held senior sales, partnership, and strategy roles at Ground Truth and DexYP (now Thryv).

Today Dan is wearing a thought-leadership hat in his role as chair of the LSA’s Place Conference, which takes place October 15-16 in Austin, TX.

In the podcast, we talked about changes in the local digital ecosystem — driven by data and technology — and how they are informing the focus of this year’s event.

Here are some highlights with timestamps that take you directly to each segment, in case you want a podcast snack vs a full meal. Plus a few video experts from the podcast.

The “Convergence of Everything”

(Starting at 1:10) Dan lays out how the media landscape has changed dramatically since the Place conference was founded, requiring the re-engineering of the event’s focus to capture new technologies and media formats impacting local.

“The event was originally around the convergence of media. Now it’s much bigger than that. it’s about the convergence of everything. Data and technology are changing everything from the media that you get to the attribution you have to how you re-engage with your customers and literally to the physical infrastructure.”

Look at what the Big Guys Are Doing

(Starting at 4:23) We discussed how local media is becoming less media-centric — with everything from ride sharing to food delivery to SaaS tools for SMBs being relevant to local. It begged the question, what does a local media company do? Dan suggests that making acquisitions is more often than not a bad idea. Partnerships, on the other hand, have taken on outsized importance.

“We can take some lessons from what the Big Guys are doing (Amazon, Alphabet). Some have acquired some competencies that they see as a part of their core, long term value proposition But most have very strategic partnership solutions. Most of this is happening too fast for even the big guys to wrap their heads around all of these things.”

5G is “Much Bigger” than People Realize

(Starting at 8:15) Dan makes the case that we are up against a “connectivity revolution” that may dwarf previous revolutions in local (e.g., internet, mobile). Local media companies need insights to guide their decisionmaking in advance of this revolution.

“If you go back 20 years, companies that didn’t exist then are some of the largest companies on the planet today. Looking ahead five or ten years, what are those companies going to be?”

“We’re Getting Close” to Full Attribution

(Starting at 12:15) We also talked about what progress has been made on issues that have been hanging around a while in the local space — one of them being online to offline attribution. Dan argues that while we haven’t found the holy grail of full attribution yet, the increasing connectivity of the physical world is changing the attribution game dramatically.

“We’ve all heard, ‘I know half my marketing is working. I just don’t know which half.’ We are getting closer to knowing which of these are working. As we get more connected things, we start to be able to have a better attribution that is not a panel-based approach but is more of a one to one universal understanding of the consumer journey. We are not there yet, but it is moving more and more to that.”

You can listen to the full podcast here.

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