Marchex has announced the launch of Marchex Connect 2.0, an updated version of its private-labeled local ad platform that is used by local ad resellers such as AT&T and Yellowpages.com.
The new version’s highlights include integration of call tracking (from the company’s VoiceStar subsidiary) and a new templatized landing page offering that can be customized and integrated with search marketing campaigns. These features are also meant to appeal to businesses that don’t have Web sites, enabling them to either get online in an easy way or have phone leads delivered to them rather than clicks. Both factors are common among service-based businesses.
“Calls are the currency that small businesses want,” says Leigh McMillan, senior vice president of marketing, echoing the stated reasons we heard when Marchex bought VoiceStar (and when AT&T bought Ingenio last November).
The new additions together also represent a move toward giving the platform wider appeal among not only resellers and IYPs, but also any national organization that can deploy a local ad platform to a large group of localized constituents or franchises. In this way, the many components to the platform can be customized for each reseller.
“A lot of focus on resellers tends to be on Yellow Pages publishers,” says McMillan, “but there is more than that, and the way we have put this platform together — to serve it as a whole or a la carte — can serve any number of resellers.”
The deal Marchex did with Cobalt in the auto vertical is a good example of this, and the platform can be likewise applied to a number of verticals. A national company like Roto-Rooter, for example, could use it to scale an ad platform across many local affiliates (insurance agencies also come to mind). Here, landing pages, which are templatized but unique to different locations, can be attractive (example below).
Along with this launch, the company will organize its VoiceStar and TrafficLeader subsidiaries into one business unit called Digital Platform Group. This will provide ad campaign management as well as consulting and sales channel training for its resellers. This follows the launch of Marchex’s AdHere pay-per-click platform last month, which similarly sought to unify some of its business units under one digestible product and advertiser brand.
“This is the second phase of our brand streamlining,” says McMillan.