Roughly one year ago, Mashable Business Reporter Seth Fiegerman published a piece titled “Why 'SoLoMo' Isn't Going Anywhere” in which he explained in detail how the term SoLoMo was coined. It’s definitely an interesting backstory to read for anyone in the digital marketing space.
More recently, Greg Sterling wrote a thought-provoking piece titled “Have ‘Local’ and ‘Location’ Lost Their Luster?” in which he argues that terms like ‘local’ and ‘location’ have not done a great job of conveying the “online-to-offline” consumer buying pattern.
While perhaps a bit nuanced, it’s interesting to think about how new terms or buzzwords -- which seem to be coined quite frequently by marketers and technologists alike -- can take on a life of their own once they are picked up by the broader media and consumer culture. This inevitably leads to some level of misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
Such is life in the Internet age. We often see the spread of information and technology outpacing the intent or purpose of said information or technology. As Where 2 Get It CEO Manish Patel recently put it, “There is a high seduction value in trying something new.”
Regardless of the term that is used, it’s clear that from a functional standpoint Fiegerman is certainly right that SoLoMo isn’t going anywhere. With regards to the early proliferation of the term he writes, “But within a few months, the term started to pop up in lectures and articles debating how marketers and startups should best capitalize on the changing habits of consumers.”
Patel would agree:
“Having sold location-based services for 16 years, I am interested in what resonates most with our customers. While SoLoMo may be going out of favor in our circles, brands are just wrapping their heads around this concept. The key difference is the Hype Cycle vs. Sales Cycle. You see, as marketers we love the Hype Cycle.”
So why does Patel (and, of course, the rest of the Where 2 Get It team) believe so strongly that SoLoMo -- the concept, not necessarily the term -- is here to stay? We need look no further than the three components themselves to find our answer:
Early brand use cases of social focused on customer service and messaging; however, we are starting to see examples of how social is transforming customer and brand interaction at the point of sale. As such, with platforms like Foursquare and Belly, social could represent the bridge digital marketers have long been looking for to connect online-to-offline.
The almost exponential growth in ownership and usage of smartphones in the past 3-5 years has been followed closely by massive growth in the importance of local search and intent. In other words, consumers searching from their phones are often seeking information about the world immediately around them. The numbers don’t lie -- a recent study shows that 79% of smartphone owners use their devices to search for information on local businesses.
Lastly, in many ways, mobile is the platform where local and social meet. While this likely goes without saying, it has become increasingly obvious that without a mobile strategy your brand is basically stuck in the stone ages of digital marketing. A recent study from IAB shows that mobile is the fastest growing digital channel with ad revenue doubling year-over-year.
Buzzword or not, you can see how it is the integration of these three megatrends -- social, local and mobile -- that seem to be driving a lot of new value and the creation of a ton of innovative products and services.
What do you think? Is 'SoLoMo' just a buzzword? Leave a comment below!