Last week deals provider ZOZI announced ZOZI Advance, a new booking/scheduling/payments tool for SMBs that was based on a Q4 2012 acquisition. That acquisition was motivated in part by the contraction of the deals market and, undoubtedly, by the diversification of market leader Groupon into booking and payments.
ZOZI sees its deals business driving customer acquisition that can then be managed by the Advance platform/tool. It’s connecting acquisition and retention.
As suggested above, there are a number of angles here none of which are mutually exclusive. ZOZI needed to evolve its business to remain viable and to make itself more valuable to its SMB customers.
As I’ve argued now many many times, marketing services providers are getting more deeply into supporting business operations. This not only provides more value to business owners but reduces churn. It’s harder to get rid of your “back office” or CRM system than your “agency.”
As mentioned, Groupon has moved in this direction as have ReachLocal and others. CRM and “operational support” companies such as Swipely have moved into marketing services (on top of credit card processing). These companies, combining back office services and support, and marketing become more valuable than those companies that provide only advertising or marketing services to SMBs.