Yodle Buys Lighthouse, Boosting Relationship Marketing Efforts
When they first launched in 2005, the independent sales channels were almost entirely about reselling search and YP ads. SMBs showed confusion over the value of these campaigns however, and it didn’t help that Google (and its lower margins) dominated the mix.
Since then, the independents have gone in somewhat different directions, as more players such as Local Edge have come in (and at least one major player, WebVisible, has dropped out.)
The independents continue to keep the core reselling models, adding display to the mix. But they have also worked to reduce churn and earn monthly fees by engaging their users via such channels as social media, landing pages and deals.
ReachLocal announced a major new effort last week, adding a marketplaces and services leads component. Moving into the world of Home Advisor (ServiceMagic), consumers can now use Reach to hire and pay for recommended service companies.
Today, Yodle announced an equally large move with the acquisition of Lighthouse, a highly developed Customer Relationship Management solution that puts Yodle in a DemandForce type setting. Lighthouse has several thousand customers, which will be added to Yodle’s base of 30,000 customers. Lighthouse CEO Brian Smith now becomes Yodle’s VP of Product and Marketing for Lighthouse 360.
Like DemandForce, Lighthouse has been especially active with Dentists, and is building its vertical outreach from there throughout 2013. This acquisition expands Yodle’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform offering, which now accounts for nearly half of the company’s revenue.
In a press release, Yodle CEO Court Cunningham noted that marketers have traditionally “siloed acquisition and relationship marketing; Yodle is now breaking down that wall as a result of acquiring Lighthouse and will be the first in the industry to optimize SMB lead generation based on actual transactions.”
Yodle CEO Court Cunningham and Home Advisor CEO Chris Terrill are among the featured speakers at Leading in Local March 18-20 in Boston.
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One of Australia’s leading services marketplace, Service Central(who has had over US$1 Billion in transactions to date, is a working model on how this integrated approach can really work.
Having started out as a lead generation business, Service Central quickly learnt that the more that you understand about the true value of the leads that you are providing the more you can properly sell the value of your service. As a result we have been providing our SMB clients with back office solutions (CRM, Works Management Systems, etc.) for years. The latest advance on that is our Eaco System ( http://eaco.me/ )which is an integrated business management system for managing (and sharing) jobs, tasks, notes, links, files, and more amongst the organisation and even with their own clients and subcontractors.
This approach has paid true dividends for Service Central in Australia and we can see that it will work well internationally as well.
Yodle appears to have already overextended itself offering mobile advertising services to psychotherapists. If my experience is representative, the last thing I would trust is Yodle’s ability to judge and accurately communicate the services they can reliably can to all their clients in their many varied fields of professional endeavor.