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When popular location-base check-in service Foursquare first came along, small businesses had an easy way to use social and location-based marketing tactics to get new customers. But as local marketing options have multiplied, it’s getting more complex.
Boston-based OfferedLocal hopes to simplify the process of using social and location-based marketing to get new customers for local businesses. It does so by making it easy to deliver regular deals, offers, and promotions to local consumers. Then it gathers responses, tracks the results, and offers feedback on how to improve the targeting.
“We help small businesses create, manage, and deliver offers to their local customers,” said Ed Loessi, co-founder, in an interview. “We want small businesses to become really good at it.”
OfferedLocal is demonstrating its business at the DEMO Fall 2011 conference today.
At least one of the venture capitalists in the crowd liked what he saw.
“There’s a pony in there somewhere,” said Scott Weiss of Andreessen Horowitz, in an onstage discussion about OfferedLocal.
The company was founded in January, amid a bunch of excitement about daily deal startups such as Groupon. But OfferedLocal is very different from the daily deals business, which seeks to gather new customers via huge discounts. Rather, OfferedLocal manages the existing deals or specials that a company may have every week, such as a “two-for-the-price-of-one” deal that happens every Tuesday at a restaurant.
And while Groupon and Foursquare target consumers, OfferedLocal targets businesses that want to round up more consumers. OfferedLocal provides a single interface to create an offer, which can be customized based on the social channel it is targeting, such as Twitter or Foursquare. Then OfferedLocal distributes that offer at the right time and collects the analytics.
OfferedLocal is self-funded and has three full-time employees in addition to contract developers. Loessi and his friend Mat Myers started it after a conversation they had in 2010. They both saw the challenges that businesses faced when trying to promote offers and deals across social and location-based channels. Most of those businesses use email marketing, but they didn’t know how to use all of the new tools related to social and location. It hit home when they saw a sandwich board (pictured above) outside a restaurant that had their special of the day, their Twitter handle, and their Foursquare info all squeezed into the sign.
Rivals include Geotoko, Promobox and Buckaroo.com. OfferedLocal is just coming out of beta testing now. Myers previously founded a large email marketing firm in Australia, while Loessi has been involved in small software and marketing consulting businesses over the past decade.
OfferedLocal is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2011 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.