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Big data meets small business?

Two years ago almost to the day, ThriveHive closed a $1.5 million seed round. Now the company’s everything-in-a-box small business marketing solution is ready to go. Briefly, the company claims it’s everything you need to market your small business, connected, integrated … and powered by the collective wisdom of hundreds of similar businesses.

ThriveHive screenshotCEO Max Faingezicht calls it “guided marketing.”

“We see all the best practices,” Faingezicht told me this morning. “Guided marketing is a way for small business to get going with a website, contact manager or CRM, email marketing solution, social media manager … all empowered through a guidance layer showing you what you should be doing with all these tools.”

There are a lot of marketing solutions built around websites, often offered by local marketing solutions like former business directories or iYPs, or local marketing experts such as ReachLocal, which offers “smart sites” that are essentially marketing automation lite. They typically offer lead generation, email marketing, and web analytics.

Essentially, ThriveHive has gone one step farther.

The service adds social, a mini-CRM, and the ability to run and track digital advertising campaigns. That’s pretty much all the pieces of the marketing puzzle for a local business, especially when you consider you can also connect print advertising via custom phone numbers or website addresses. It’s a lot of functionality for a local business, but Faingezicht says the integration makes it all easy.

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The goal is to allow small businesses to do what they would do anyways — send out email, write blogs, post to social — but the trick is in doing it via the platform, which then adds a layer of analytics.

“We can automatically see what’s generating leads,” he told me. “Because you have all the system under one single login, you can do things that are almost impossible for small business otherwise.”

Social media monitoringThat includes automatic lead scoring and distribution, tracking email sends, opens, and clicks, seeing social media likes, shares, retweets, and visits, and getting an SEO overview of your website with broken-out search engine traffic and social traffic all in one place.

That’s impressive, though not unique. But it’s just the beginning of Faingezicht’s vision — to make all small businesses smart through the power of big data.

Because all ThriveHive’s customers are on the same platform, and all events on the platform are tracked, ThriveHive knows what emails work, when social campaigns are most effective, what website topics and posts do best. And it can share that collective intelligence, anonymized, with each business owner.

That gives every independent local business the ability to operate, act, and market with the same tools as the big boys, Faingezicht says.

“We think that data can enable clustering of like-businesses in terms of sales & marketing,” he told me. “This means that we can actually provide a franchise-like experience at scale and across many industries and for very small operations.”

The metaphor, he says, is “FaaS,” or franchise-as-a-service.

Naturally, businesses considering participation in something like ThriveHive will have to balance the risk-reward of better marketing with also potentially making their competitors better as well, via the shared data. But companies will also have to wonder if they can afford not to.

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