Sunday, October 4, 2009

Local Should Be Everywhere

When I was a child growing up in New York City I loved to go to the movies on a regular basis. At that time, the most convenient way to find movie listings was to go to the street corner and pick up a copy of the Village Voice (a local newspaper), quickly flip to the back while trying to avoid the many ads, and manually find the movie theatres of interest.

Although the ads in the Village Voice were frequently annoying, they were usually geographically relevant. The local restaurants, nail salons, and dry cleaners would all advertise their establishments.

Today, movie listings are only a click away. But finding a relevant theatre via Fandango still involves putting in a local identifier - the zip code. Although I receive a list of local theatres, I don't see any ads for local establishments - instead I see ads for big, national brands. This means that the most current technology for finding movie information doesn't leverage the powerful knowledge that newspapers have been able to leverage for decades - the ability to geographically place the audience.

Clearly the Internet is still an evolving medium, but geo-location and related targeted advertising seems like an easy win. The long tail of small and medium local-establishments might provide that marketing boost that many websites are in dire need of.
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