A Sign of the Times: How People Find and Interact With Businesses in the Digital Age

by Frank L. Williams

A couple of weekends ago, my significant other and I were en route from Charlotte to Wilmington on U.S. 74. As we arrived in Monroe, we were contemplating where to eat a late breakfast. Our preference was a decent sit-down breakfast at a restaurant that was not part of a national chain.

Neither of us had any idea what restaurants were off the beaten path in Monroe, and studying the roadside signs visible from our vehicle offered no options that fit what we were looking for.

We found a quick stopping point and Googled something along the lines of “Breakfast Restaurants Near Me” on one of our smartphones. After scrolling through the list of nearby restaurants, we found a Google Maps listing for the Village Grill of Monroe. We clicked on the listing, and within moments we had decided that was where we would go.

After deciding on our breakfast destination, we clicked on the “directions” option on the Google maps app and clicked “start” on the navigation system. The phone’s GPS instructed us to turn right in a quarter mile. 

We enjoyed a nice breakfast at The Village Grill, and received some advice from a local couple that we had discovered the best breakfast place in town. I have since given them five-star reviews on both Facebook and Google

In this digital age, more and more people turn to tools like the ones I just mentioned when searching for businesses. This is not to say that traditional forms of advertising and marketing are obsolete — our first research tool was looking for restaurants with signs visible on our route. However, we would never have found The Village Grill if they had not had an accurate, up-to-date Google Maps presence.

The bottom line is that businesses that want to thrive and grow absolutely must pro-actively manage their online presence. 

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Frank L. Williams

Frank is the founder and president of Pioneer Strategies.