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I always enjoy the TechCrunch-style start-up competition involving quick pitches, then a grilling from a panel of “experts.” Because local search and mobile local services are so hot right now, more and more of these start-up pitches are squarely focused on the space.

The business model is often the same: tapping into the long tail of SMB ad budgets. But once again, the attitude from presenters is (paraphrasing) “why wouldn’t any SMB want to have such a great measurable tool for driving leads?” This of course ignores many SMB realities including time and tech savvy.

How solid the pitch is, is likewise a moot point if the SMB only has 2 minutes to give you and 10 other sales reps who called on them this month. Not to mention that many of these companies lack physical sales to begin with … relying on SMBs to find and sign up on their own.

Many of the judges this time around are aware of these local factors (sometimes that’s not the case). Chief among them is Citysearch CEO Jay Herratti, providing a good “reality check” about sales channel realities.

“When you talk to restaurants right now, they’re completely overwhelmed by social media tools that are supposed to help them better market themselves,” said judge and user experience expert Katie Geminder.


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sorry I missed you at the show, Mike, but your post is spot on. Sitting in the audience, listening to these pitches, I was squirming in my seat. Foursquare gets a ton of credit for validating consumer behavior in this market, but Reach Local and Groupon prove you still need a boiler room to generate any volume from SMBs.

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