Spokeable

turning average joes into local spokesmodels


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

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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.


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Say Cheese! Why Food Brands Want Photos

 

 

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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.

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