BIA/Kelsey NEXT Kicks Off: Ten Themes for Local’s NEXT Era

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Connectivity, radical levels of integration between people, devices and services, as well as the evolving behavior of the Millennial generation are on tap during BIA/Kelsey NEXT in Los Angeles, beginning today. The conference is our annual look-ahead at new local media trends and technologies. Senior Analysts Abid Chaudhry and Michael Boland laid out the agenda for the event this morning.

You can check out the agenda here.

Video is another key trend for 2016. The cost of video production has fallen so low that local business will be able to market their services and ware directly to consumers, whether in their neighborhood or across the world. Determining the right mix of media will be the subject of several sessions, including a keynote tomorrow by Robert Scoble.

Distribution of video will become a critical social networking competence. Facebook pages now account for more marketing activity than any other channel, with 45 million SMBs on the site already. We’ll start this morning with a keynote by Facebook exec Kelly Graziadei, who will explore the full range of opportunities for rich media engagement. In 2016, Virtual Reality will make its first foray into wide consumer adoption, with many platforms, including Microsoft’s HoloLens, Facebook’s Oculus Rift technology, and many others hitting the market before the next holiday shopping season.

Another important tool coming to maturity is near-field communication and beacons, which can link handheld devices to services, help track the flow of consumers through stores and monitor people’s personal activity to tee up services. Healthcare, in particular, is an area where beacons will supplement human monitoring, allowing nurses and doctors to collect data and use it to plan care.

In advertising, calls-to-action in marketing are broadening to include offline behaviors and to connect SMBs with consumers in real-time to talk, schedule appointments and many other digitally-enabled communication. “It’s really compressing a convoluted customer journey into just one button,” Boland said. The app economy will expand atop these consumer engagement tools.

“We’re moving to the call to action being an offline event, too.” Deep linking, placing buttons in apps to expose new services, will drive marketing plans and development plans, Chaudhry added. “Start thinking about the Local Commerce Universe from a systems perspective. We’re past the silos and back to good old fashioned marketing.”

Programmatic advertising, as a consequence of the changes noted above, programmatic advertising/marketing tools are becoming an important part of the SMB marketing toolset. Video, again, will play an important part. We need to consider all these tools within the holistic marketing opportunity. Local and global marketing are part of one mature system, but practitioners are still adapting these tools into their work.

Apps are the platform for contextually relevant linking, forcing developers and marketers to think across the browser and app environment to keep their offers and calls-to-action in front of a desired audience.

“Apps are the new search,” Chaudhry said. Where Google was the starting point for browsing the web, apps are the beginning of the majority of online engagements. “Mobile and applications are going to become a key asset on a go-forward basis in 2016.”

Check out the BIA/Kelsey analyst teams’ 2016 predictions here.

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