The Future of Local Search in Europe

The Kelsey Group and AMR International joined forces to hold a summit in London on the Future of Local Search in Europe. It was an invitation-only affair, which is why you probably didn’t hear about it. Not surprisingly, most of the attendees were from Europe and the event was cosponsored by Agendize, Call Genie and Macquarie. This was the first time that TKG has strayed away from its natural venue of Hyatt or Marriott, and the Natural History Museum was a wonderful backdrop for an outstanding half-day conference that ended up going well into the evening.

Our keynote speakers were Eddie Cheng, chief development officer for Yell and former president of Yell.com, and Rabin Yaghoubi, director of strategic partnership development for Google. Rabin was also a speaker at the EADP Barcelona conference and in both cases he gave an inspired presentation. What I liked as a conference organizer was how well Rabin understood his audience and targeted his presentation to that group.

Our summit in London was full of senior executives from European publishers and obviously their most urgent requirement is advertising dollars. Rabin reinforced the notion that ad money will flow to where the users are, and increasingly the users are on the Internet. He believes there is “a pent up demand for self expression” particularly among the digital youth who have been brought up in a world of broadband, multi-platform access, always-on computers and plenty of storage space. Accordingly, he predicts that digital ads (which he says are still in their infancy) will become the standard and that video will be found on all promotional platforms. He also emphasized that geography is an entry point to the world of information.

Rabin ended his presentation reviewing what he calls five key themes driving tomorrow’s world: interactivity, integration, information (driving marketing and buying decisions), innovation encouraging experimentation with new media and formats and inclusion (democratization of advertiser access). None of these ideas is new, but when put together and spoken by a Google executive, they make the audience sit up and pay attention to how well their products and services will be ready for tomorrow’s world.

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