When Groupon was introduced to the local merchant community in 2008, it was supposed to be a marketing technology platform that everyone could use. Restaurants, retailers, and home service professionals all jumped on board, and Groupon started beefing up its features to better serve businesses in a huge variety of industries. Less than four years later, as the daily deals industry began to implode, people in the industry quickly discovered that in the world of marketing tech it’s hard to be everything to everyone.
Bloated technology platforms designed to serve the entire SMB market have slowly been replaced with more targeted vertical plays, but industry veterans still caution that every vertical requires a unique approach.
“A fully-integrated vertical solution is far more powerful than the sum of its parts,” says Winslow Marshall of Venga, a CRM and business intelligence vendor that’s chosen to focus on the restaurant industry.
In recent years, Marshall has seen a movement toward greater integration of various systems. For example, tying together data points from the systems that businesses in a certain industry might use. Within the restaurant industry, that might mean creating a Facebook marketing campaign that’s targeted based on the menu items ordered by a guest in-house.
“When building a tool for a specific vertical, it’s important to be cognizant of how that vertical operates and how those who work in it think,” Marshall says. “For this reason, we’ve found it important to build a tool that pushes actionable insights to our clients, rather than requiring them to go out of their way to access data.”
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