SoLoMo is here and you probably don’t know what it really means

SoLoMo pictureSoLoMo is the combination of social, local and mobile technology and became hot about a year ago because of the rapid rise of smartphones and geo-location technology. Because we can know exactly where we are (and our apps know as well), search results can be completely localized.

This is a very democratizing development as even the smallest locations can be featured in search results and not just those willing to do the the naughty and nice search engine optimization (SEO) work. Hooray for the small to medium business.

Simple and yet not

If this seems simple, the concept is. It just wasn’t available until recent times when a proliferation of apps that collect geographic and preference data made it possible. The impact, however, isn’t simple at all and the trends in big data and analytics make the case for SoLoMo compelling.

There are two very different perspectives based on which side of the fence you’re peering from.

Consumer – As a consumer, your chances of getting ‘suckered’ into a bogus search result are much lower and the odds of finding almost anything local with a minimum of search terms is much higher. However, you’re also one step further to big brother watching and sending prompts to head for a business to get a discount or information to reinforce a buying decision when you stand in front of the shelf. It could feel creepy if done poorly or without permission.

Marketer – As a marketer for anything location-based (brick and mortar retail, for example), you can attract local business whether your web presence is simple or complex. A clever online site can also send messages just when a consumer is most likely to enter a brick and mortar location…it works both ways. Marketers beware, it becomes very easy to alienate a customer if the technology is applied in a heavy-handed way.

Spray and pray

This becomes one more nail in the coffin of direct mail targeted at zip code, hoping to find a customer in need of a product. That ‘spray and pray’ approach is less effective every day. As smartphone access becomes ubiquitous, the database of user location, preference and behavior continues to grow and allow for greater refinement of engagement with consumers. Anyone finding this alarming should stick with their flip phones while they have the chance.

Lest ye be cynical

Yes, local search has been talked about since the early days of the Web. What was missing was the app that came along only starting in 2007 and has been a booming business ever since. As apps get more sophisticated, the benefit of investing in SoLoMo increases enormously, meaning that the long-promised value of local search is available to those willing to make the investment.

And it isn’t just phones by themselves…that would be fairly limited. The Internet of Things means sensor data connected to systems that can look for patterns and correlate data like never before. SoLoMo is about to get juiced by more local and mobile data than ever before.

What does it take?

Getting SoLoMo-ready can be as simple as monitoring the popular feeds like Facebook. But getting to a higher level of sophistication takes a set of tools that many companies already have in-house:

  • Loyalty programs – to gain customer permission
  • Analytics – to understand what has happened
  • Event processing – to anticipate what will happen
  • Workflow – to decide how to react
  • In-memory data grids – to run at real-time speed

Businesses that don’t have these tools need to educate themselves on the technology and plan for how to respond. The cost of waiting may be higher than they’re willing to pay.



Categories: Internet of Things, Marketing, Mobility, Social / Collaboration

Author:Jeanne Roué-Taylor

I'm fascinated by disruptive technology and its impact on our world. I manage sales operations for an excellent startup with a unique team of highly experienced data scientists.

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  1. SoLoMo or SoMoLo? Does it really matter? - March 25, 2013

    […] SoLoMo is here and you probably don’t know what it really means ( […]

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