In the early days of the internet, the idea of SoLoMo marketing — blending social marketing with local and mobile marketing — was fairly novel. We had just begun to carry smartphones and social media was evolving at a rapid clip. These days, however, the main uses for this term have shifted and it's become tied to newer technologies that have really come online within the past decade.
Let's talk about where SoLoMo marketing is in 2022 and where it might go from here:
What is SoLoMo Marketing?
SoLoMo is a portmanteau of three words:
SoLoMo marketing, then, involves a combination of the three strategies.
To really break it down, let's take a look at each of these factors separately:
In the context of SoLoMo marketing, "social" refers primarily to using social media platforms for marketing purposes. This could include building a community for your organization through original content or outsourcing using an influencer marketing strategy. (Also read: The Future of VR/AR… Is Influencers?)
Over the last decade, we've seen social media evolve from fairly primitive resources for information and connection to bonafide marketplaces, complete with in-app POS terminals and recommendation engines.
So what will social media marketing look like in the future?
Some experts believe it will be tied to a new decentralized internet model.
“The beauty of decentralized social media is that, depending on the platform, they’re designed in the same way as other social media platforms,” writes Kirsty Moreland at Ledger Academy. “Posting content, sharing, collaborating, commenting, double-tapping and hashtagging to your heart’s content. But decentralized platforms provide additional components: a community-focused approach that promotes transparency, privacy and incentives.”
In other words, social media isn't going to look like what we’re used to now. Another key projection is that social marketing will take place in the metaverse: a virtual space where humans are represented by digital avatars. (Also read: The Metaverse: Possibilities and Perils.)
Local Marketing and Geolocation
As its name would suggest, local marketing involves targeting potential customers within a certain radius of your business' location. It often involves messaging specially catered to a certain geographical demographic, such as local slang or the use of local celebrities.
Geolocation, the process of pinpointing a specific device's location using geographical coordinates and measurements, is a key cornerstone of local marketing. And, because of recent advances in geolocation technology, we can glean that the future of local marketing — or, more specifically, the future of localization — is likely to involve more sensors that will capture our geographical information to power geolocation AI marketing programs.
Another way to explain this is that geolocation is probably going to take place within augmented reality (AR) environments. As we see the metaverse starting to build, AR is a major vehicle for how we get there. (Also read: How Will AI Change the Market Research Scenario?)
What's the future of mobile marketing? Well, that depends on the design of mobile devices themselves.
According to recent estimates, mobile commerce is on track to grow some 68% this year. That means quite a bit of mobile-focused marketing and advertising.
“Google seems to favor mobile-responsive sites, ranking them higher on SERPs,” wrote Nicole de Mocskonyi on CM. In the same piece, de Mocskonyi also went over new trends like the rise of omnichannel marketing and 5G adoption.
Jason Hicks, General Manager m/OS at Kochava, cites “evolving data governance with major ad platforms” as an emerging trend. “Respecting your customer’s consent across all platforms and your first-party data is your paramount asset,” he says, “and should be carefully guarded, as it will play key roles in the future of audience targeting, campaign measurement and beyond.”
No matter which, if any, of these trends take off, it's safe to say any new mobile marketing trends will contribute to SoLoMo inherently.
The SoLoMo Market in 2022
One really strange thing about the current conversation over SoLoMo involves a top-level Google result from MarketWatch that purports to have an idea of current and future SoLoMo market volumes, in terms of millions of dollars.
However, those market references have dollar signs but no numbers! This is how it reads:
“In 2022, the global SoLoMo (Social, Local and Mobile) market size was USD Million and it is expected to reach USD Million by the end of 2029, with a Growing CAGR during 2022-2029.”
That leads us to what some of us call a “wut?” moment — staring at the screen and trying to figure out what's going on. Many would conclude it's likely that whoever put this together wants us to buy the relevant market report to see those numbers. Unfortunately, also, the MarketWatch nothing burger seems to be the only page of its kind trumpeting a concrete review of SoLoMo numbers this year.
In short, there doesn't seem to be a reliable estimate of the current SoLoMo market value. But that doesn't mean you should pass this strategy by.
SoLoMo and AI
The artificial intelligence (AI) boost is arguably the most major advance in SoLoMo over the past 10 years. And however the individual components of SoLoMo marketing evolve, it's clear AI will continue to revolutionize SoLoMo in some profound ways.
After all, SoLoMo is all about customized digital marketing. You have the social media component, where markers can zero in on your preferences and profiles. You have local marketing, where marketers can use geolocation data to market to you where you are. And you have mobile marketing, where they can target you through your handy smartphone or personal device.
In all three of these areas, new AI automation engines are taking over what humans used to have to do manually. So, let's say you program an AI engine to handle business in the social, local and mobile marketing areas. All you'd have to do is sit back and let it do its work! (Also read: Reinforcement Learning: Scaling Personalized Marketing.)
Into the Future
We have a lot to think about in terms of how SoLoMo has evolved into what we know it as in 2022 and how it will continue to change in the future.
Trend-wise, marketers who prioritize SoLoMo today are adopting a new, more consumer-focused mindset. Joe Ruiz, president of Straetgic Marketing Solutions, outlines this new approach this new approach thusly:
"This new approach begins by focusing on the consumer. Now more than ever marketer’s must 'walk in a customer’s shoes' and identify where the customer experience isn’t up to par. This requires embracing a growth mindset, being curious, asking questions, and thoughtfully considering each step of the buying cycle. Stepping through the customers’ path to purchase, diligently pursue solutions and content for the multitude of ways customers happen upon your place of business."
In many ways, SoLoMo is a conceptual phrase representing a way station in digital marketing — one that will be altered by new forms of interaction and new types of interfaces. Think about what will power the SoLoMo philosophy as we move into the next generation of tech.