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 haves 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 (ReachCommerce and ClubLocal). 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 Intuit’s 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.