Yelp Extends its SMB Features, Adding Empyr’s Cash Back Loyalty Program

Yelp has made great strides in extending beyond reviews with reservations, food delivery, requests for quotes and other services. It will now add Yelp Cash Back via a new deal with Empyr, an online-to-offline marketing platform (full disclosure: I’ve had a relationship with Empyr). Cash Back is starting out with 8,000 restaurants and retail merchants. […]

After Lull, New Investment Dollars for Loyalty

In the card-linking space, some industry leaders are shying away from describing themselves as “customer loyalty” – they want to focus more on “new revenue.” But Thanx, a four-year-old, pure-breed customer loyalty solution for national-local retailers has just secured a massive $17.1 million “B” round led by Icon Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Javelin Venture Partners. […]

Why Pokemon Go Was The Biggest Local Story in 2016

What have been local game changers? My short list includes the rise of MapQuest; Craigslist; Google Local search; Yelp reviews; Small Business Saturday; and Groupon. This year’s candidate would be Pokemon Go, the augmented reality game from a founder of Google Maps that “lures” consumers to local stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums and parks in […]

Airbnb Lays Out Roadmap for Local ‘Experiences’

Airbnb announced at a large internal conference covered by Skift that it is branching out beyond linking travelers up with cheap rooms and will soon offer hosts and local communities opportunities to partner with it for tours, activities and hyper-local guides. Eventually, it hopes to allow its customers to book car rentals, restaurant reservations and […]

Belly Seeks Next Steps for Loyalty Marketing; CEO Logan LaHive Steps Down

Belly founder Logan LaHive is stepping down, signifying a new orientation for the company that focuses less on SMBs, which are tough to scale, towards analytics for national-to- local retail (like 7-Eleven, an investor.) CFO Dan Gloede is taking over the top spot. LaHive’s step-down tells a lot about the challenges of scaling SMB sales […]

Bookshelf: ‘Digital Vortex’ is a Digital Playbook for Incumbents

Most business literature celebrates disrupters, but what should “incumbent” companies do to stay ahead of new competitors? How can they leverage digital capabilities and trends to steer themselves into the next generation? These are the questions addressed by a Cisco Initiatives/IMD team in a new book, “Digital Vortex: How Today’s Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive […]

Facebook SMB Resellers Make Their Case

Are SMBs going to turn to middlemen to handle their Facebook advertising? As four million SMB advertisers know, Facebook advertising is accessible, low commitment and inexpensive. It is fairly ideal for promoting local awareness and events. Facebook also delivers an audience that’s much less fragmented than search engines. From a vendor’s point of view, it […]