It’s quite possible that I coined the term “hyperlocal.” (Updated: It turns out I did not, per Laura Rich) Yes, that sounds grandiose but I believe I may have been the first to use it in a panel description for a Kelsey Group conference I planned back in maybe 2005. There was panel featuring “hyperlocal” publishers.
It’s also possible I had seen the term somewhere and incorporated it into the panel description. Regardless of whether I merely adopted it or actually coined it it’s time to retire the term.
It was originally used to articulate a value proposition suggesting the content of the particular news or directory site was truly or genuinely local. Specifically “hyperlocal” publications were more local than newspaper metro daily websites.
Now it’s a term that confuses people and its overuse has made the term somewhat opaque and even empty.
Most brands and national agencies don’t know what do with the idea of “hyperlocal marketing.” As I wrote earlier this week it seems the opposite of what they’re looking for: scale. And most small businesses don’t know or understand the term, if they’ve heard it.
In short the idea, which had a certain descriptive utility at one time, has run its course. Local, localized marketing, geofencing or location-based marketing still have some value. However in a mobile context what we really mean now when we say “hyperlocal” is something more like highly customized or personalized (based on location). But location is both literal and “metaphorical.” If you’re in the mall you’re shopping, which is potentially more important than your specific geographic location.
I’ve argued that location, at least for national marketers and brands, will become one of a larger list of targeting variables or part of a larger discussion of “context” for marketers. Beyond geofencing, location will chiefly be utilized by brands, retailers and franchisors as a way to find audiences. In that scenario hyperlocal doesn’t mean much or add anything to the conversation.
Who disagrees with me and thinks the term still has merit?