A major problem with the Local SEO business market is exactly that of the SEO business market: self proclaimed experts who are actually simple scammers.
Of the minority (in both the broader and the specialised fields) who actually have a clue aka actual knowledge and experience most/all of it is Google-centric. And with Google, as you mention, it is always easier and quicker to go ppc; often customer expectations require interim ppc until longer term organic takes root.
Of the minority of the minority (again in both the broader and narrower SEO fields) who (1) acknowledge a web outside G and (2) have the wherewithal to market successfully there you hear very little because (1) their signal is lost in the G-noise and (2) they are either marketing for themselves or so busy/expensive most webdevs die of shock and envy.
They are all google centric, but more critically they all LOVE Google and praise any action by google. Endless google love.
I've been doing this for a while. One "funny" episode from years ago. I saw a competitor driving results that were spammy and twisted. Hand researched it over months, ultimately sent Matt Cutts a note describing what was going on and suggested if they didn't tackle it, I was going to start replicating it or broadcasting it to the outside market. He put me in direct touch with the spam team. This was years ago.
The spam team was impressed with the hand research and acknowledged what was going on was producing spammy results. I was really "jacked" about this situation as it was "killing" one of our smb's. They were scarfing up visibility and traffic and we were getting killed. I kept contacting the spam team to effect a penalty on these actions.
Those "guys" sent me a signal. They ERASED our visibility on several of our smbs. WHOA!!!!! Quite a signal. I informed them our sites had lost visibility....and I SHUT MY YAP. They returned our visibility. Ultimately they "penalized" the "scoundrel" and for our smb that was effected we saw immediate better results.
In a different case we purchased a local business in one of our smb categories. It was doing terribly. It was for sale at an extraordinarily low price. I had looked at its web presence and there was something wrong with it. Its visibility was miserable. After purchasing we kept the address and phone number but had a new website. New contacts. New connection to google through its local connection (now called Google My Business).
Regardless we inherited the miserable visibility. I went through every process imaginable to get it corrected. Nothing worked. This took months. Google local "customer service" (not real direct customer service) couldn't address the issue. I kept contacting inside google local to try and get a higher up to address the issue and finally someone did. It took this person about 45 minutes to find the "issue" and address it.
BINGO. our visibility improved drastically. We were hit/had inherited a "super secret" google penalty. I'm 99% sure what occurred. It was a mistake in the first place but internal google messed it up. The penalty was not correctable in any kind of normal way and was out of the reach of normal processes.
Think about it. Google's penalty had the make or break power over that smb. How many times has that been applied and how often is it done incorrectly??? Who knows. But in that case Google's power rivaled that of Putin...and we know that Putin is OH SO POWERFUL.
AND YES for this smb type google visibility is vital. It is that way in every region for this smb type and similar types. EVER SINCE we work on Word OF Mouth and Referrals as best we can. It works. It takes time. We do it in a myriad of ways including SM and non web social actions. It reduces dependence on google. In every smb type we try and get high visibility in search and work on WOM and referrals in every case.
Now in most cases we do and have spent on google PPC. It sits atop everything. It is a way to get visibility. We generally have strong local/regional visibility in organic and Maps/Pac results...but not always and it gets regularly tougher and less visible as PPC dominates. PPC COMPLETELY Dominates in Mobile. Completely. Our mobile ppc clicks have skyrocketed as has the CTR. Its simply soaring. As is the case with all types of businesses, especially local.
Our "struggle" these days is to moderate ppc spend but keep it strong where we are less visible in organic and maps/pac search. MEANWHILE keep pounding away at WOM and other methods of marketing.
On the EXPERT Side...They simply won't condemn google for any action at any point. They all love google. They praise it endlessly. They occasionally will bring up issues where google local gets really weak or shows flaws....but then they jump back to endlessly googlizing to the masses.
Makes me sick.