Spokeable

turning average joes into local spokesmodels


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Businesses are from Mars and Consumers are from Venus: Part 3

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Break down the barriers!

Last Wednesday’s post emphasized the importance of direct relationships between consumers and businesses. Forget Mars and Venus, we want both parties within the Spokeable Solar System where we fight to forge true win-wins.

The prevalence of social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest demonstrate how willing and enthusiastically consumers present themselves online. People eagerly tag photos of their lifestyles along with their desired goods and experiences. In the existing platforms individuals are uploading their most valuable assets (consumer data) for free. Because of the barriers which exist between consumers and businesses, the result is a zero sum game. Local businesses can’t access or analyze the plethora of data on the one hand. Consumers don’t receive anything in exchange for their valuable information, on the other.

Spokeable serves to break down the barriers, insuring that businesses and consumers can interact in real time as business partners. Through our platform, consumers become spokesmodels and evangelist for specific businesses. In exchange, they recieve exclusive and coveted rewards for that action. Simultaneously, the business can grow and expand their addressable market and customer base by leveraging their social capital. They create interactive relationships with their loyal customer base and target marketing for that group and their likeminded followers. The interaction proves engaging for both parties. It offers consumers the opportunity to show exactly what they want. It allows the business to tailor individual rewards based on these displayed wants of their customer base. Spokeable proves itself an excellent platform through which we transform traditional concepts of advertising into tailored services and demand fulfillment.

We create partnerships of equals between consumers and businesses.   You want in?

 

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#cincodemayo

 

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Happy Monday….and #CINCODEMAYO!

Here at Spokeable we are always looking for reasons to celebrate. Cinco de Mayo is a stellar one. How do we suggest you commemorate the famous Batalla de Puebla

1) Find a local Mexican eatery.

2) Order a margarita.

Salud!

While you’re at it, snap a photo of the spicy mole enchiladas and upload it to Spokeable! Don’t forget to repeat with the prickly pear margarita too!

New York City (Spokeable’s second home) is brimming with authentic Mexican restaurants smelling of epazote and lime. Tonight, all of them will be bursting at the seams with salsa music, smooth tequila and Spokeable worthy photos. Get out there and dance some Tapatio! But don’t forget to download the app and upload some photos! 

Spokeable’s recommendation for tonight? The Lower East Side’s Cafe El Portal. Tucked away on a small corner on Elizabeth St, Café El Portal is a haven for Mexican food lovers. Their selection of tamales, enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and chiles rellenos is large enough to satisfy any craving for flavors south of the border. Ask about the specials, like Duck Sopes, which come smothered in pungent tomatillo sauce. If you’re feeling brave try the cactus burrito.

Lunches here are an extravagant, leisurely affairs. Treat them as such. Begin the meal with the chicken soup, a Mexican specialty, with homemade broth and abundant lime, epazote, cilantro and roasted poblano peppers. Don’t forget the guacamole made with  buttery, flavorful avocados.  A spoonful of this green goodness, wrapped in a fresh tortilla and dragged along the bottom of a nearly empty bowl of chicken soup is an experience like none other. Provecho! That’s all I can say.

Enjoy the day and remember to patron your local outposts!

Un Abrazo,

Team Spokeable

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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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Fighting for the Little Fish

Customers shop at Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street

Many storeowners believe city government should take on advocating for longtime, local stores. A DeBlasio spokesperson, Wiley Norvell, said in a comment that the administration will work to preserve longtime stores and venues. But we haven’t seen any new policy come out fighting for small businesses or at least nothing significant to enough to create a stir.

In an interview between Pereira and Rolando Pujol, who runs city history blog The Retrologist, the historian said the trend of closing longtime businesses has increased over the last five years. “People pay a premium to live in New York because of the interesting funky shops and the weird little places to grab a bite. But every time you lose that, it begins to erase the value that New York has.”

As I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, this phenomenon of local businesses not surviving is what drove Spokeable co-founders to create their solution for local businesses. They wanted to support local business owners and their establishments and help them thrive. They’d seen a lot of their favorite shops close in Miami and wanted to find a way to prevent further closings from taking place. Spokeable is a tool that helps local businesses grow in a sustainable way through their existing customers. We want the little fish to swim, everywhere.

If you’re in a town or city where you can support your local stores, do so. And download the app.  Also definitely check out Pereira’s article where you can see the list of stores recently closed or closing in NYC.

 


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

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“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!


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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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Social Commerce with a BIG ROI

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It’s become something of an accepted mantra, this idea that everything “social” has a soft (or nonexistent) return on investment (ROI).  At Spokeable, we agree with John Lawson, CEO of Atlanta-based ColderICE Mediawho in his book  Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It’s Not About Likes—It’s About Sales, relates everything back to the bottom line. Small business owners need to turn social commerce into revenue. 

Social media is one avenue that consumers use to tell you they like you, but Lawson says that doesn’t mean they’ll actually buy something. That’s exactly why we created Spokeable.  The platform allows members to tell you they like you via photo-sharing (an existing and prevalent behavior) and It ALSO opens a channel from the business to the consumer to encourage an actual sale, via rewards. Lawson explains that although you want your audience to like you, mostly “it’s about how to take that emotion (like) and turn it into an action (purchase).” Spokeable converts the action of endorsing into the action of purchasing. 

Through social media platforms not designed with local businesses in mind, there isn’t a clear call to action that the consumer understands and can readily follow through with.  With Spokeable, the call to action is clear.  And the effectiveness of engaging through social commerce is easily measured on our back-end business interface. We subvert the idea that social platform ROI is low, indeed bringing tangible and replicable value to businesses through Spokeable. “Part of why people think it’s soft is because they’ve never attempted to measure it,” Lawson says. “Once you can measure something, you can tweak it and make it better.”

This is what we do at Spokeable. We are a simple to use enterprise software for the small-business.