If search engine users tell Google where they are, and Google knows where you are, it's likely that you'll get a boost in the search engine results if you're geographically close to the user.
Most industrial companies don't worry about localising their promotion online, because most deal at least nationally, and probably internationally. So while an estate agent would like it to be known that it's an estate agency in Cambridge, because that's what people will be looking for, a widget manufacturer won't worry too much about being known as a widget manufacturer in Oxford. However, that may be changing, at least as far as search engine optimisation is concerned. If search engine users tell Google where they are, and Google knows where you are, it's likely that you'll get a boost in the search engine results if you're geographically close to the user.
So, for example, I'm in Cambridge, and Google knows it (see screenshot below). If I search for "engineering plastics" in Google, what do I see relatively high up in the results? A small firm just down the road:
I can't believe that company is appearing so strongly – just below Wikipedia! – for Google users anywhere else in the world. It's because Google's latest algorithm update (codenamed "Venice") specifically promotes local sites in this way.
Now, if you're a national or international company, this isn't going to make a massive difference to you, as it just means that you'll be promoted in the search engine results for customers near to your office. But it's still a promotion worth having. And what you have to do is to ensure that Google knows where your company is located. Some SEO professionals have suggested that having a Google Places listing doesn't specifically help, as Google seems to be locating your company in other ways, but you should certainly have one regardless. Perhaps just ensuring that your address features prominently across your site will be a good idea, but again, I'd recommend that to every company anyway. That really is a good use of the footer on a web page.