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Where are your customers? Where will they be five years from now?

Hugh MacLeod wondered on Twitter today whether technology renders cities obsolete. Tara Hunt, a city-dweller, worries about the fit of expensive clothes and wants to buy locally. What’s interesting is that Tara and Hugh represent alternative views to how the evolving local, social web works. Hugh lives in the middle of nowhere, while Tara lives in downtown San Francisco. Hugh knows that the web allows him to experience everything that Tara can while enjoying the slower pace of country life. Tara knows that technology has its limits and wants to make the most of city life by experiencing products before purchasing.

Sure, they use the web in different ways. Hugh shops and buys online (generally) because he has fewer options in his more rural locale. Tara uses the web, (Twitter in this case) to get recommendations for the best place to shop/buy her products. Your customers may be city dwellers using the web to find your local store before stopping in. They may be country folks using the web to buy from you because they lack local alternatives.

Or vice versa.

Place is only relevant to your customer when it meets their needs. What matters more is whether Tara or Hugh can find you, whether they can browse you, and whether they can buy from you, online or offline. What are you doing to make sure you can meet both Tara’s needs and Hugh’s?

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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