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Global and national brands have been upended by changes brought on in omnichannel marketing as customers access search engines and social media sites that provide highly localized results.
“Brands must ensure consistent localized marketing efforts while still appealing to the unique local audience, and marketers must find ways to consolidate workflows while optimizing local channels,” Afif Khoury, founder and CEO of Soci, told VentureBeat.
To bolster this, the digital marketing software provider announced today that it has raised $120 million in its latest financing round. The funds will serve to advance use of AI and machine learning (ML), including ChatGPT natural language models along with Soci’s marketing platform for multi-location brands.
Khoury said the Soci platform aims to streamline localized marketing efforts across digital channels while adhering to brand guidelines, optimizing local search and integrating data.
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The company plans on using its funding to double down on its AI investments and expand into new markets. The funding round was led by JMI Equity with participation from Vertical Venture Partners, Blossom Street Ventures and strategic investor Renew Group Private.
Presently, Soci serves more than 700 multi-location and enterprise businesses across verticals such as food and beverage, totaling more than three million locations. Its customers include Ace Hardware, Kumon and Ford.
Digital marketing catches AI wave
Central to company efforts is SOCi’s “Genius” layer of products, which have begun to roll out this year. Soci intends to differentiate itself through its advanced data science, AI and automation tools. Its platform is providing local data analysis on behalf of brands and delivering recommendations and marketing automation so that its customers can focus on other parts of their business.
“SOCi’s AI models are used both to inform and to automate,” said Khoury. “On the information front, SOCi receives inputs from dozens of marketing channels across hundreds of locations.”
The SOCi team has developed sophisticated data science models to analyze data and its correlation to outcomes such as customer engagements, foot traffic, calls, clicks and other customer lead, loyalty and revenue data.
Recently, SOCi released — as part of its Genius line — a review response management tool that integrates with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The platform can collect reviews and analytics across various review sites and automatically respond in an intelligent and customizable manner.
“In an organization that is receiving reviews across 5,000 locations, this could take the responsibility and cost of responding out of the hands of 5,000 individuals, and dwindle it down to just five or less individuals at corporations who are reviewing the list of automated responses,” said Khoury.
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