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The players may change but the game remains the same. That was one underlying theme the closing panel at our SMB digital marketing conference in New Orleans two weeks ago.

“This is my first SMB-focused Kelsey show in five years,” said serial local media entrepreneur Ben Saren, “and I am both shocked, but at the same time not, that we’re still talking about a lot of the same things that we were talking about [then].”

And we’ll likely be discussing different versions of the same universal issues in local media five years from now. The panel batted around key issues ranging from the fate of local ad sales to mobile payments — all with a five year outlook.

Much of this is technology-driven, with usage and ad implications following. So leading indicators for ad opportunities — SMB and otherwise — can be seen further up that value chain. Right now that includes hardware innovation like wearables.

This final conference session is also ironically the first we’re pushing out for video footage. It sums some of the show’s themes so is a good entry point. See full the video below, or in smaller chunks by skipping through the chapter links:

In 5 years … We won’t be carrying wallets, credit cards or cash for local transactions
In 5 years … Google will have been supplanted as the go-to place for local search
In 5 years … 80% of SMBs will self-provision most of their advertising spend
In 5 years … Social mobile advertising will be the biggest component of SMB ad spend
In 5 years … face to face local media sales will be reserved for $1 million+ ad spend
In 5 years … Fill in the Blank…


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