Mentions, reviews, blog comments, tweets, posts and now check-ins. It’s enough digital noise to lead local business owners to throw their hands up in despair. As Internet fragmentation accelerates, a host of reputation management providers have carved out an important foothold in the digital landscape by aggregating merchants’ online activity through a single dashboard that subsequently allows for sentiment analysis, syndicated messaging and competitive benchmarking.
Like so many parts of the digital ecosystem, however, reputation management is quickly becoming commoditized, which can actually make the SMB’s decision process about brand marketing and protection more complicated. That result runs counter to the very problem that reputation management aspires to resolve.
In our first Social Local Media industry report, Andrew Shotland and I examine the current state of reputation management and project how the industry must evolve to create a more holistic, simplistic and measurable solution. All the leading vendors are profiled, with the report comparing and contrasting them across 10 foundational criteria and distilling their differentiating features, as well as highlighting their business model challenges. We also explore opportunities and considerations for resellers that may be thinking of branding a solution for their own clients.
As BIA/Kelsey has touted for years, there is robust opportunity in ERPM. Our forecast, in fact, pegs local spend in this segment to eclipse $5 billion by 2015. For this growth to be realized, and for these tools to truly capture the needs of the enterprises they serve, there is a pressing need for differentiation through an elegant interface that consolidates the fragmented Web into an easily managed system.
“Single click publishing,” improved social messaging, scheduling functionality, mobile features and automated loyalty tools are all essential elements of the holistic communication platform that will win the future.
Social Local Media subscribers can access the full report here.