Placecast Launches Self-Serve Mobile Marketing Platform

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Placecast, the company that began as a data management partner of Navteq, launched a stripped down version of their real-time location-based marketing tool ShopAlerts this morning. ShopAlerts Self-Service will allow brands, advertisers, and SMBs to create, deliver, and track mobile promotions. By creating a “geo-fenced” area around a location, companies can push offers in real-time to consumers in the area who have opted-in to the service.

“We were inspired by Google AdWords to create a super-simple tool,” Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman told Street Fight yesterday. “ShopAlerts Self-Serve takes the power of location-based mobile marketing and makes it very easy for anyone to use and immediately start getting value from it,” he added.

The company’s strategy has always centered on providing location-based services at scale, says Goodman.  The SMS/MMS component of the ShopAlerts Self-Serve UI will allow clients to reach 268 million cellphone users over all of the major carriers. “When you live in a place like New York and San Francisco it may seem like everyone owns a smartphone and uses a million applications,” Goodman explains, “but the reality is that only about a quarter of Americans have ever used a mobile app.”

Placecast says that ShopAlerts Self-Serve will be targeted to “larger vertically integrated companies like retailers, yellow-page providers, financial institutions, or deal services that can work with SMBs.” The emphasis on large companies is less a function of price, says Goodman, and more a recognition of Placecast’s limited sales team.

Daily deal providers seem to be ripe targets for ShopAlerts Self-Serve’s real-time targeting capabilities.  Deals sites are growing like weeds and further focus on relevance is at the heart of a new breed of companies entering deals space.  Placecast’s move to an offer-based platform also makes sense in lea of what is becoming a general consensus amongst advertisers that success in mobile advertising will hinge on adding value for consumers. “At the core, we are a real-time offer management platform,” says Goodman. “We have the ability to host and deliver instant deals and because these can be triggered by location on any phone it is a nice compliment to some of the apps which these business are launching.”  Goodman declined to comment on specific partners, but added: “there is just a lot of interest across the board.”

Related: Placecast’s President Anne Benzacon talks with Street Fight about increasing relevance with location-aware ads.