Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers



A New Way to Keep Tabs on Competitors

Posted by admin on 3/4/14 10:00 PM
Topics: social media, retail technology

The following excerpt is from an article written by Patrick Clark and published on Businessweek. Clark explains a new service that can help small and medium size businesses determine the most effective online marketing strategies. Check out the key information below, and then read his full article for additional details.

Small business owners are famously short of time. That’s why tech startups see them as a ripe market for software to automate such things as payroll, marketing, and online sales.

Into this crowded field comes a fresh breed of startups promising to sort through the clutter. They include Perch, a mobile app that seeks to help small business owners focus their online marketing efforts around a simple idea: The marketing strategies that business owners really need to know about are the ones their competitors are using.

Perch, designed for iPhones and Android devices, aggregates social media feeds into a single stream, showing small business owners the chatter about them on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and a number of other websites. It also pulls together the online activities of their competitors. The owner of a Mexican restaurant, say, can ask the app to track the Thai joint across the street, and be alerted when the rival company runs a Facebook ad or a Groupon deal. The idea is to help the Perch user decide what online marketing strategies are moving the needle for businesses that resemble their own.

The app is free for business owners—Perch makes money by connecting online marketers that want to reach them. If a user’s Facebook advertising lags its competitors, Perch might send the company a message suggesting businesses that specialize in Facebook marketing. If the small business owner hires the marketer, Perch collects a fee.

As users adopt the app, he expects Perch will extract valuable data on what kinds of strategies work for which businesses. For that kind of analysis, Perch needs to entice a greater number of business owners to sign up. To make his case, Evans falls back on a familiar pitch: His app can save small business owners time and hassle. “It’s impractical to think about business owners saying, ‘I’m going to have a Twitter tool and a Facebook tool and a Yelp tool,’” says Evans. “There are eight or nine things they need to be tracking. It’s like, stop the madness.”

What services do you recommend for keeping track of social media activity? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Related articles on Foreword Online

Article comments