This year´s 2018 StreetFight Summit in NYC yielded some interesting takeways.
David Card, StreetFight Research Director, presented the Local Merchant Report which echoed a few of Borrell Associates key SMB findings and added some new ones.
The report showed SMB´s say Facebook is their most used marketing (34%), followed by Email (25%). Print was not even in the top ten at 9%.
Proving ROI and online to offline attribution for marketing were their top interests and challenges.
A key finding for us is that almost half of small businesses say they could replace their website: 23% with Facebook, 18% with their Google my business listing.
GetFiveStars, co-founder Mike Blumenthal contends that the Google panel, that appears in on the right side of Google my business listing results, is actually responsible for 70% of customer calls, rather than the website (25%) or Facebook (4%).
On the Google panel, the Q&As section has suddenly gained scale, and now acts like a crowdsourced, unmonitored FAQ that most small businesses do not even know is there. So he scraped the data from 1,800 SMB panels for several months, here are the surprising results.
Similar to GetFiveStars, a Berlin-based company, Ekomi, helps SMB´s track and respond to reviews around the web and places “star ratings” in Google Adwords. Ekomi claims this makes SEM programs “sticky”.
“They can´t move the SEM over to their cousin Joe without losing their stars.” EKOMI is also partnered with Matchcraft, which builds SEM campaigns at scale.
We also liked Broadly.com which adds a message center chat, with a follow-up email to capture reviews.
In the online to offline attribution space, GroundTruth´s Head of Platform Development, Hongshe Sun contends, “the new metric is store visits.” The mobile platform tracks store visits, serves ads to customers based on places they visited, and then provides store visit analytics.
For those interested in “outside the box” ideas, a few presenters talked about opportunities to provide SMB Operating Support, (OS) a “1 Trillion spend” that is stickier than advertising.
Speakers on the topic were brands like Cisco and Upserve, which provides POS to restaurants, but we could not help thinking, what could happen if a local media decided to champion its own hyper-local communities by providing inexpensive, AARP-like services, credit card processing, wifi, and web development and hosting.
We also found more examples of how automation is radically dropping the costs for providing web development and video. Another company we like, Monosolutions, offers a platform that semi-automates website developement from a Facebook page. They contend that a $500 website can be built and tweaked in an hour.
VideoBolt can also turn around a profession video with a spokesperson in a few days. One of their partners, iPublish Media, just released an SMB self serve platform that allows SMB´s to purchase not only VideoBolt, but Waze Ads, Facebook, and email. Gatehouse Media signed up and will go live later this summer.
Where venture capital is headed
Todd Klein of Revolution Ventures based in D.C., Howard Morgan, partner in First Round Capital, and Jillian Manus, managing partner of Structure Capital, in Silicon Valley, shared similar thoughts on investment opportunities they like: The gig economy, where people work in flexible situations, and/or where wasted space is monetized.
“We are looking at the physical community where there are wasted assets” Manus said, mentioning start-ups that share extra office space, or empty seats in hair salons. “There is a tremendous amount of underutilized space in the world.
She looks for entrepreneurs who are highly involved with a physical community, where they can understand the culture, go deep, and find one marquis customer or community. “Don´t try to boil the ocean.” Wag, a dog walking community raised $350 million.