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Companies are increasingly looking to tap into the real time nature of the social web and respond directly to customers based on their location and intent. New York’s LocalResponse was one of the the first to turn check-ins into an opportunity for direct marketing. Today its rolling out its Pro Dashboard, an analytical tool the company was using in house.

To get a sense of how LocalResponse works, let’s look at one of its customers, Walgreens. The company scans through public posts from Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook. If someone writes, “Just stopped in Walgreen” on Twitter or actually checks into the location on Foursquare, LocalResponse will respond to them with what’s on sale or a special offer.

“Our bookings in January exceeded our revenue for all of last year,” founder Nihal Mehta told VentureBeat. “We’re looking to double our staff this year and stay cash flow positive. The goal is to reach profitablity by the end of 2012.”

Analytics for social media marketing are an increasingly crowded field. Everyone from Radian6 to Buddy Media is promising to help brands get the best return on investment as they pour dollars into the relatively uncharted waters of social media marketing. LocalResponse is hoping to diversify its revenue stream by offering direct marketing, analytics, and mobile ad re-targeting.

Since its already tracking location and intent across 500 million pieces of content a day, Mehta says it made sense to help publishers serve up mobile ads. “If you check into a park and Tweet out that you’re hungry, we can make sure your phone shows you an ad for Taco Bell the next time you log onto the web.”

Right now LocalResponse is working with around a hundred brands, including big names like Coca-Cola, GE, GM, and McDonalds. “The big brands are playing the field right now and using a lot of different companies to see what works best in the social media marketing space,” says Mehta. “That’s a challenge, but of course we feel confident that our product will stand out in the end.”


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