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Soci, a platform that helps brick-and-mortar businesses deploy localized marketing campaigns, has raised $80 million in a series D round of funding led by JMI Equity.
The raise comes at a crucial time for businesses, with retailers across the spectrum having to rapidly embrace ecommerce due to the pandemic. However, businesses with local brick-and-mortar stores will still be around in a post-pandemic world. By focusing on their “local” presence, including offering local pages (e.g. Facebook) and reviews (e.g. Google and Yelp), businesses can lure customers away from Amazon and its ilk. This is where Soci comes into play.
Founded in 2012, San Diego-based Soci claims hundreds of enterprise-scale clients, such as Hertz and Ace Hardware, which use the Soci platform to manage local search, reviews, and content across their individual business locations. It’s all about ensuring that companies maintain accurate and consistent location-specific information, which can be particularly challenging for businesses with thousands of outlets.
“For multi-location enterprises, the ability to connect with local audiences across the most influential marketing networks like Google, Yelp, and Facebook was critical to keeping their local businesses afloat through the pandemic,” Soci cofounder and CEO Afif Khoury told VentureBeat.
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Moreover, Soci offers analytics that can help determine which locations are performing best in terms of social reach and engagement, integrating with all the usual touchpoints where businesses typically connect to customers, such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google.
“Soci is now housing and analyzing all of the most critical marketing data from every significant local marketing channel, such as search, social, reviews, and ads,” Khoury continued.
Soci had previously raised around $35 million, and with its latest cash injection the company plans to double down on sales and M&A activity. Its lead investor hints at the direction Soci is taking, given that JMI Equity is largely focused on enterprise software companies like financial planning platform Adaptive Insights, which Workday acquired a few years ago for more than $1.5 billion.
Looking to the future, Soci said it plans to enhance its data integrations, spanning all the common business tools used by enterprises, to build a more complete picture that meshes data from the physical and virtual worlds.
“As Soci continues to integrate with other important ecosystems and technologies such as CRM, point-of-sale, and rewards programs, it will begin to effectively combine online and offline data and deliver an extremely robust customer profile that will enrich the insights we provide and enable much more effective marketing and customer service strategies,” Khoury said.
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