I hadn’t heard the phrase “O2O” before. I caught it this morning in a John Jantsch post on the American Express OPEN, meaning online activities driving offline business:

For 2011 a new kind of strategy will emerge for the small business, and that is one of using the online space to drive people to the offline space. The in-person experience is the ultimate competitive advantage of the small business and how [it beats] the online and big-box competition.

Get them in the store, get them to a meeting, get them to an event, get them in a community, get them on using an app.

He finishes that with this intriguing conclusion:

Online 2 offline will be a strategic marketing approach employed by the most successful local businesses where conversion will be measured in hugs and handshakes.

That O2O idea, by the way, is one of five in John’s 5 Trends that Will Shape Small Business in 2011. That’s a really interesting post, and I think he’s right on all five.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.