Spokeable

turning average joes into local spokesmodels


Leave a comment

Spokeable is Social

 

Image

In today’s addition of Business News Daily, Spokeable is front and center.  No, our name is not plastered on the front page headlines (at least not yet) but the crux of our product and business model is the theme of this morning’s top story. Our product, Spokeable, is an intelligently designed platform that capitalizes on a phenomenon which is only proving more and more important: social commerce. Social context is becoming the most important factor in purchasing decisions. This is especially true of younger populations who are just now coming into their purchasing power. A recent survey of millennials found that over 85% of spending habits are decided based on peers. These days everything is social. Everything needs familiar context.

The article, reported by BusinessNewsDaily managing editor, Jeanette Mulvey, interviews social commerce expert Scott Lachut. Lachut is the director of research and strategy at PSFK Labs, a trends-led business innovation consultancy.  The article outlines what we know: social commerce is not just an idea, it’s an undeniable fact to today’s purchases. Retailers of all sizes have to capitalize on social context or they’ll be left by the wayside of the 20th century.

Lachut explains that engaging with customers in a social commerce capacity is not only about the “commerce,” i.e. sale. Instead, people engage with companies for a variety of reasons. “Some are aspirational fans, who want content and experiences that they can share with their networks. Others may have issues and are turning to these platforms as a way to connect with a real human being who can answer their questions.” He concludes that people are looking for a combination of relevancy and utility and that brands/stores need to cater to that in order to insure conversions farther down the road.

In this interview Lachut speaks directly to what we’ve set out to achieve with Spokeable. We successfully create engaging and relevant conversations between local customers and local businesses. The channels that currently exist do not make this feat easily. Why? Because they weren’t created with this in mind. They are lifestyle sharing apps and curated news feeds. They connect friends with friends and were never intended to link customers and businesses. Which is why we made Spokeable. To serve a need. And this need, it seems, is growing and growing.


2 Comments

Businesses are from Mars and Consumers are from Venus: Part 2

Image

Last week we asked you a question. Do we really need winners and losers in this business game? Today, we’re exploring further.

Let’s look at typical software solutions for businesses and consumers. Most businesses, regardless of size, use packaged business software to support their operations. These softwares run the gamut from Finance and Purchasing all the way to Sales and Payroll. They range from Oracle and SAP, to cloud-based solutions like Workday and Salesforce.com. They even include open source alternatives like Open ERP. Each of of these solutions have one thing in common: they treat customers as “master data.”  In essence, they assign attributes like name, address and credit history in order to make a “customer model” based on these points and assumptions. They  integrate this model into process chains like “order to cash.” In essence, these softwares convert the customer into an object, managed and exploited for monetary gain. They don’t facilitate real-time interaction and they do not foster a win/win relationship.

If we examine models built for for consumers, such as Groupon and Amazon, the landscape is both different and similar. These companies afford the customer bargaining power by bundling demand. They offer access to a competitive market place and the best deals. The businesses are positioned in a favorable light, giving opportunities to their customers. A platform which guarantees the lowest price for customers seems reasonable. Everyone wants the lowest price, right? If we think more critically, though, we understand that is not always the case. Yes, it takes time and effort to find well-priced offerings. But these offerings are often not tailored to individual needs of the consumer or the business. Indeed there have been a number of studies posted which explain how these models are not helpful for local businesses. What these platforms do is fulfill the needs of Groupon or Amazon’s business model. That’s the goal.

In each of these scenarios we witness a third party standing in between the customer and the business. Win-win relationships aren’t easy to forge without an actual relationship between the business and the customer.  I say, get out of the way. Breaking down the barriers between local businesses and their local customers is how we make win-wins. And that is Spokeable’s foundation.  

So! Do you want to talk with your favorite boutique owner? 

Yeah, i thought so.


1 Comment

Businesses are from Mars and Consumers are from Venus: Part 1

Image

“We are unique individuals with unique experiences.” ― John GrayMen Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

John Gray has made a fortune helping millions of people better understand and participate in their relationships with loved ones. The world is grateful. But romantic relationships aren’t the only ones requiring reconciliation.

What about the relationship between consumers and businesses?

At Spokeable, we strive to overcome the barriers that exist between consumers and businesses.  We focus on creating more value for both parties. And making it simple, engaging and fun.

Sounds straightforward, right? Yes. But it still deserves some inquiry. Why is there a barrier in the first place? Where did it come from? Shouldn’t it be natural that a business transaction creates value for all involved parties?

Many agree it should. But many still see business transactions as a zero sum game. One side wins and the other side loses. This notion is also present in many software solutions that businesses use and many apps used by consumers.

We think it’s time to change that “win/lose” paradigm and introduce a “win/win” philosophy not only in our attitude towards consumers and businesses, but also in our software solutions.

There must be winners and losers?? Really??  We don’t think so, but we’d love to hear your thoughts!


1 Comment

Say Cheese! Why Food Brands Want Photos

 

 

Image

My favorite foods made New York Times headlines this morning. Macaroni and Cheese. Kraft Foods Group is hiring a start-up firm, Ditto Labs, to learn more about their customers. How? Through photos.

Sara Braun, senior marketing director for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese discussed their decision to hire Ditto in a statement. “We want to ensure we continue to evolve, keep the brand fresh and relevant. A lot has changed with how the consumer sources information. As a marketer, we want to be reaching our consumer in whatever technologies she uses today.”

Sara is right. The best way to understand consumers is to look at what they’re currently doing and how their currently doing it. Consumer behavior is sourced online these days and best done through photos. More than 500 million photos are updated daily.  That’s a lot of information about consumers. There is nothing more valuable for any company, regardless of size, than a keen understanding of what their customers do and what they celebrate. Because people uploaded photos of their day’s high point, it offers an invaluable assessment of what’s attractive to the consumer. Photos, then, are ripe with collectible data for how to grow market reach and fine tune outreach strategies.

Ditto Labs also explains in their presentation that photos can help brands/businesses identify competitors as well as fans. It can help understand what else is out there and how to set themselves apart.

There is perhaps no more valuable data collection tool than photo analysis. The hard part, though, is analyzing it all.This is why in Spokeable we created the backend software that allows for all the photos taken in small businesses to be categorized in a way that easily encourages action. We facilitate the use of photo-data for marketing solutions that truly influence customers. Small businesses can’t pay for big firms like Ditto (though their work is great). And Ditto isn’t trying to access the small business market. At Spokeable, though, we created a  platform specifically designed for local business that helps them understand and truly engage their customers in relevant exchanges.  Through photos.

Tonight I think I’ll get mac and cheese from my local Fort Green takeaway. I just saw a great photo on Spokeable.

Image


Leave a comment

BE MY ANGEL?

Image

Happy FRIDAY!

Hey all! Spokeable is finally on AngelList and we’re ready to raise the funds we need to launch our phenomenal solution for local businesses. As some of you know, AngelList is a platform that connects startups with angel investors to find win-win partnerships to grow their business.

To insure an incredibly successful Angel campaign we are seeking two well-connected passive advisors who will lend us their name and make a few introductions on the platform.  If you fit the criteria but aren’t on Angel yet, no worries!  Although it’d be the bees knees for you to already have an account, we’re happy to help you set one up!  Can’t wait to get rocking!

We are looking for:

  •  Fiery founders who’ve successfully fundraised on Angel
  •  Well connected social-commerce or local business experts
  •  Enterprise software executives who’e spent time in the startup scene
  •  Entrepreneurs on Angel who love disruptive models

Check out our profile: https://angel.co and let us know!

Spokeable trumps SEO.

Who do you trust more, google or your best friend?

whispering

Yes, that was a rhetorical question.  You’re going to trust your friend.  When I want a restaurant recommendation in NYC I always call my best friend Jules who works in the industry. If I’m traveling to Chicago for a weekend I post on Facebook to crowd source for recommendations from people I trust.  It’s not because I can’t find the information for the best restaurants on Google. It’s because I want endorsements.  I don’t want to waste my time with a place that could be on google just because of great SEO. I want word-of-mouth.

As does everyone, word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing phenomenon.  Ask any local business and they’ll say it’s true. Spokeable’s platform executes word of mouth seamlessly.  Creating win-win relationships for customers and local businesses. It allows you to learn about the best local places through people in your network or likeminded followers you trust.  Spokeable may not render SEO completely obsolete. But we’ll give it a run for it’s money 😉

This article, like many with the same information, give tips on SEO for local businesses.  Yes, it’s valuable information. But we’ve created a platform that will make all this tricky business more or less unnecessary.  Can’t wait for you to get on board!

2 way window decal 4 11 13

 


Leave a comment >

 

 Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 12.35.42 PM

Spokeable’s new offices are in the Lower East Side. Our hearts and stomaches will forever long for Gigi‘s soft serve cones in Miami’s midtown, but for now our operation is Big Apple bound.  Our new home is a bohemium co-working space called The Yard in the Lower East Side. (Uber got their start here.)  The vibe is chill and productive, the decor minimalist and modern.  It’s a place where techies meet artist meet all the time coffee.  The best part of the space, besides the community of cool folk, is the location. The Lower East Side is ripe with riches.  No joke, there is even a rice pudding shop called “Rice to Riches.”  It has almost every fashion and flavor delight you can dream of! Brimming with bakeries, bars and boutiques the Lower East Side is the perfect place for Spokeable to get it’s start.  We are about local shops reaching their local market.  I can’t think of a better place to begin. Which is why I’m featuring two of Spokeable’s favorite LES joints here today!

Image at 88 Orchard St — As a fixture both in its streetscape and the hearts of the community, Irving Farm at 88 Orchard keeps focus on preserving the most wonderful things about the cafe while building on its great menu and atmosphere with a quality-focused coffee program. Most of all, they say, “we’re proud to be part of this Lower East Side neighborhood tradition.” They make a great cup of coffee and some delectable vanilla bean donuts too. Sarah is guilty of eating one too many.  Regularly.

Image

Image at 129 Rivington St. — A cornerstone of the Spokeable lunch, Tiny Giant gets a lot of business from our team.  In an unpretentious and airy setting they offer vegetarian and meaty sandwiches ranging from the Mac Daddy (a veggie burger resembling a big mac and smothered in special sauce) to the Spicy Rizzak (turkey, bacon, sautéed onions, cheddar, and genuinely hot chipotle mayo).  They also have decent coffee and a very, very friendly staff.

Image