I've been "doing" neighborhood marketing for years "organically" and until I worked in Winn-Dixie's massive marketing department I had no idea that this is what I was doing. With 500 stores in 7 states WD had a department specifically assigned to promotions within a store's neighborhood, like special events that supported the local clubs, organizations and small businesses that are within shopping distance of their particular location. That's what I've done by default for years, long before I was so involved with internet marketing. I would walk the neighborhood talking to the restaurant and store owners to find out what's going on in their world that day, and then talk about with others or blast the updates out in an email. Event marketing was primarily the focus most times because it made sense to the organizers to advertise for their event.
I've always loved that aspect of marketing that seems to be absent in online marketing today. I'm still good friends with some of the business owners that I used to visit "back in the day".
Neighborhood marketing is being rediscovered as "Local SEO" because Google (and this is nothing new or earth shattering) has been providing assets to manage your local business marketing. More importantly, in recent months these tools are starting to be less convoluted, and much more useful to the average business owner.
Stay tuned as I walk through how Google's Local SEO tools work in a real time case study of my own neighborhood restaurant marketing efforts.