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One of the key challenges in local is to level the playing field for local SMBs so they can compete against national brands. Key areas where national brands outgun local SMBs include search ranking, automated listings management, lead generation and ecommerce.

Speaking at our Leading in Local in Boston March 20, LocalVox CEO Trevor Sumner said the greatest need is to develop one stop SMB platforms that must “be simple,” “show clear value” and “provide support/education.” “Results need to be measured in things an SMB cares about,” he said.

“There are some great tools out there,” Sumner noted, citing Yext for directories; Vendasta for social reputation and ClickFuel for analytics. But “you need to marry information and action. Most dashboards are too complex.”

Sumner said one of the great opportunities in local is in content publishing. It can leverage a local publisher’s SEO footprint and brand –and it is something that local media companies already understand, unlike new areas such as Pay Per Click. “I don’t think PPC is a long term strategic advantage for local publishers,” he said.

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