Yesterday, I had the chance to talk to Shooger president and cofounder Alex Stancioff. Stancioff has some mileage in the local search space, having cofounded local SEM firm ClickForward, which was acquired by Yellowbook in 2006.
This is the reason behind Shooger’s local focus, and its path to get there via local publishers like Yellow Pages companies and entertainment books. Knowing the complications of local sales organizations and the realities of SMBs, the company will try to appeal to both with simplicity.
“It’s sold on a customer relationship basis rather than on a text message or per impression basis or click-to-call,” says Stancioff. “We got away from all of those potentially complex and hard to understand metrics, which are all very nice but tough for the local merchant.”
This will come in a few flavors including SMS,an iPhone app and other platforms to come. They’ll each return local coupons and promotions prompted by calls to action within Yellow Pages ads or the advertiser’s own media (think menu inserts). Advertisers pay 50 cents per customer engagement per month.
This is probably smart given local advertisers’ propensity toward subscription-based advertising. For the same reason it’s hoped to plug into local media sales. Many local publishers talk a big game about becoming more platform agnostic and selling things like mobile, but their ability to be effective comes down to the realities at the sales rep level.
This begs simplicity, at least in the early stages of mobile marketing’s adoption at the local level. We’ll see lots of evolution in ad formats to take advantage of the mobile device’s ability to drive purchases at the point of conversion (it goes with you to the store). That will involve lots of detailed reporting but until we get there, it will be all about baby steps.
“There is a lot of cool stuff out there. That’s mobile 2.0. We wanted to build the baseline that’s easy to understand and doesn’t require a POS system or scanner,” says Stancioff. “If someone wants to come in three times in a week to redeem the same offer, who cares? Make it a loyalty offer that can be reused. Put an expiration date on it but don’t overcomplicate it.”