Small business have started to spend more on search and social advertising in recent years, but the bulk of their spending goes to websites, email and other services meant to manage their existing customer base. As these channels expand, the market for software aimed at automating the retention marketing and front-office activities for small businesses has exploded.
Now, Signpost, a New York-based startup that got its start selling deals software to small businesses, wants to expand deeper into maybe the most important source of data in the front office: payments. The company has rolled out a new product that can programmatically pull customer information from a phone call or credit card swipe, and then send text messages or emails to those people with offers or requests for reviews.
The company pivoted away from its early commerce product in 2012, building a data syndication product similar to Constant Contact’s SinglePlatform or Yext. Then late last year, the company scored another $10 million from Spark Capital and others to start to build out a more robust customer relationship management platform.
Stuart Wall, the company’s chief executive, says the new product draws on a patent filed earlier this month, which specifies a method of drawing data from credit cards. Through a partnership with an unnamed payment processing company, the software can siphon off some personally identifiable information from each card swipe and use a separate database to match the data point with a first and last name and a phone number or email address.
“Small businesses are spending a lot of money on things like display — say, Yelp — as well as search through AdWords and companies like Yodle,” says Wall. “But the economics of display or even search are pretty rough for the vast majority of businesses.”
Payment-driven marketing has quickly become a key feature for front-office software companies. Earlier this month, LocalVox, another New York-based startup, scored a strategic investment from First Data, a payment processing giant that has acquired a handful of marketing and loyalty firms. The deal included a new integrations that allowed LocalVox to tie marketing programs into the payment data generated from First Data customers.
Steven Jacobs is Street Fight’s deputy editor.