Let me diverge from my usual contemplations to share with you some news about the company that keeps me busy, in a rare post about Zvents. Today, the local search engine announced $24M in funding, secured with Nokia Growth Partners, AT&T and NAVTEQ.
â€œZvents has spent four years building a world-class local search service,â€ said Ethan Stock, Zvents CEO and founder. â€œThis funding will enable us to dramatically scale the value of that service to our network of media partners, local consumers, and local advertisers.â€
What Ethan has briefly highlighted is that Zvents is a unique local search engine. Now powering for a network of hundreds of web and mobile partners, including MSN, an index that features event listings to promote your local businesses. Simply, the company enables local businesses, merchants and retailers, and restaurants to submit both free and paid listings to the network. And most importantly, note we’re not talking about the business listings that get so much of the attention in Local Search, Zvents promotes your local promotions, weekly specials, in-store events, you spend your tight budgets to promote offline.
Let’s take the Bay Area for example, San Francisco, CA. Saks Fifth Avenue is hosting a charity fashion show and party on October 2; an event like any you might have, to be promoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and the dozens of other local media outlets that reach Bay Area customers. I’d be generous in saying that managing such a campaign, PLUS promotion on MSN, was a mere challenge. The fact is, coordinating such a great number of outlets, let alone outlets that can effectively reach enthusiastic customers, is nearly impossible (more so, perhaps, lately?).
Yet, that’s exactly what Zvents does through its evolution of online, local promotion.
Zvents creates for local businesses the opportunity to promote their locations online in ways that match their established media buying patterns. Events motivate consumers to engage with local businesses â€“ a fact that local advertisers have utilized in print promotions for decades. The Zvents network is an enormous online distribution channel by which merchants can distribute these proven, effective marketing messages to engage local consumers.
As you make plans for this evening or this weekend, before concerning yourself with what your friends have planned or reviews about a business, you ask a more fundamental question; “where can I best spend my time?” Your plans are shaped the special events the are being held; those sales, specials, celebrity appearances, and attractions. Local, and local search, is not about places but the nuances between place and time that matters most; that going somewhere today or tomorrow may make all the difference in the world. A difference that makes your valuable time spent, that much more rewarding. Zvents is enabling this; as much as we’ve learned, as online marketers, that Google best connects websites with customers, Zvents leverages search to connect offline buyers and sellers. Bringing marketers and local businesses, the most qualified audience imaginable: An audience that wants to engage.
The new strategic investors include Nokia Growth Partners, the growth capital arm of Nokia, the worldâ€™s leading mobile phone supplier; NAVTEQ, the world leader in premium-quality digital map data; and AT&T, the largest U.S. wireless company which, through its YELLOWPAGES.COM subsidiary, is also the leading U.S. internet yellow pages search directory. And Nokia’s John Gardner reveals the greater opportunity,
â€œWe are delighted to have led this round of funding for Zvents, enabling them to bring their world-class local search service to the converged worlds of internet and mobility,â€ said John Gardner, managing partner of Nokia Growth Partners. â€œWe believe that the combination of next-generation mobile devices and powerful server-side search services will be a powerful channel to deliver local information to consumers. Zvents has found an innovative way to connect local search to the marketing needs of local merchants, offering a compelling means of driving exciting, context-based mobile experiences.â€
I’d love to help you (yes, my finger is pointing at you); to help you make this holiday shopping season a success, to make it much easier to do your job by getting those events, local promotions, sales, and weekly specials, in front of engaged local customers. If dealing with just a few promotions, you can add them directly to the index yourself [insider tip, the few extra dollars to get an enhanced listing, highlights the listing in the search results throughout the network]. If managing multiple stores or dozens of classes and sales like an Apple Store, Home Depot, or Macy’s, drop me a line, add a comment, or get in touch with Zvents here.