For Part Deux of the Mobile Meets Deals series, host Mike Boland continued his dialog with segment leaders.
First up was Brian Knapp, VP of Business Operations, Loopt.
Knapp presented Loopt’s new u-Deals program, launched a few weeks ago on Android and the Web. He said u-Deals “Puts the power of the crowd in charge of deals.” It works as follows: Users create a deal, share it with their friends and submit it to the target business. If the business approves the deal, the deal “tips” and everyone can redeem it. If the business doesn’t approve the deal — well, better luck next time.
Although this “roll your own” approach is highly unusual in the deal space, Knapp said there’s nothing loopy about it. It seems to be taken seriously by both consumers and merchants. As a model, Knapp said, “This fundamentally changes the conversation with merchants.” He continued, “This harnesses the passion of customers,” and incidentally, helps mitigate Loopt’s need for a sales force to sell the program.
Next, Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, talked about the deals offering of this location-based mobile marketing company. He noted that Placecast provides the platform for many deal providers, including O2 (U.K.), AND AT&T (which announced its daily deals program at the Deals 3D conference yesterday — also blogged by yours truly).
A key uniqueness to the Placecast program is that it works without needing an app on the consumer’s phone — it’s embedded in the network. Because of this, Alistair said “Placecast is built for scale,” truly an all-star approach. Placecast can offer unique tools because the platform is imbedded in the network. These tools include the ability to tailor the same promotion to dynamically adjustable geo-fenced locations.
Goodman showed the user-friendly GUI and performance dashboard (which can also be used to dynamically adjust the ad/deal campaign). Placecast also provides a deal self-serve capability for the merchant.
Finally, Mike introduced Perry Evans, CEO of Closely. (Although Evans is a seasoned veteran of the local space, he doesn’t yet have any visible signs of PTSD.)
Evans depicted Closely’s business model with this metaphor: “We provide the remote control on the deals that a business offers.” The Closely platform sits on top of APIs of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Place Page on Google, and Deal Map among others — and also links to the merchant’s own website).
The business simply needs to create the promotion; Closely handles all aspects of the distribution. The Closely platform tracks the various offers the merchant is running, and gives the merchant the ability to start or stop the deal, change the distribution, etc. (ah, there’s the “remote control” metaphor). With the Closely platform, the merchant can also create a private deal, delivered to selected customers only.
Closely also aggregates the list of the merchant’s customers, and provides analysis, tracking and even customized campaign-creation. Collectively, these tools provide a robust tool set for targeted marketing tool, going well beyond the capabilities of even tailored email marketing.