ICYMI: This Week in Local

ICYMI (in case you missed it) What’s New in Local” is a periodic series on LSA Insider that curates and offers brief commentary on items that you may have overlooked related to local and the small-business technology ecosystem. This edition features Yext’s deal with Subway, Scott Galloway’s takedown of Twitter, Sprout Social’s IPO, LogMeIn’s new omnichannel messaging tool and eight pieces of advice for legacy publishers. 

Subway Turns to Yext for Answers

Yext has announced a partnership with Subway to deliver “brand-verified answers” for 30,000 of its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Europe. What are brand-verified answers, you might ask? Basically it’s information about a brand that comes from the brand.

“Subway guests use search to be informed about the food they are looking to consume. With Yext, Subway will be able to more directly meet their customers’ questions with facts,” said Brian Distelburger, Co-Founder and President of Yext. “We are proud to partner with Subway to provide an experience where consumers can get answers on everything from nutritional information to restaurant hours, everywhere they search.”

Yext makes the point about the importance of providing answers from reputable sources in its funny new “Todd Munion” ads. Haven’t we all met this guy?

We recently had Yext’s in-house thought leader, Duane Forrester, on our “Above the Cloud” podcast, where the new answers-driven search ecosystem was a major topic of conversation. You can listen to the podcast below.

Another Epic Galloway Takedown

WeWork is probably still licking its wounds from NYU Professor Scott Galloway’s withering critique on the eve of the high-flying co-working business’s collapse. Gallowing was merciless, but ultimately fair, in his assessment of WeWork’s business model, governance, and leadership. We also imagine that Adam Neumann didn’t really mind being described as “dreamy, in an Argentinian polo player way.”

Galloway’s latest target is Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. What’s Jack done to inspire Scott’s ire? Dorsey, like many tech CEOs, is all atwitter (pun intended) over Africa. So much so that Jack plans to spend one-quarter of 2020 in Africa, and has begun making pronouncements like, “Africa will determine the future.” Jack’s interest in Africa probably has more to do with Square than Twitter, since Africa is a major source of innovation in both crypto and fintech.

Gallow’s beef is focused on Jack’s role as CEO of Twitter, a company that Galloway argues has way underperformed its peers.

“A part-time CEO who is relocating to Africa? Enough already,” Galloway wrote in his letter, entitled “TWTR: Enough Already” that he addressed to board chairman Omid Kordestani.

Here is a classic Galloway burn from the letter, “It’s not Mr. Dorsey’s plans to move to Africa that constrain stakeholder value, but his plans to move back. Mr. Dorsey demonstrates a lack of self-awareness, indifference, and yogababble that have hamstrung stakeholder value.”

Sprout Social Raises $150 Million in IPO

Chicago-based Sprout Social has raised $150 million from an IPO that was priced at $17 a share, right in the middle of the expected range, according to TechCrunch.

Sprout Social is a social media management platform serving SMB, agencies, and enterprise businesses. The company was founded in 2010 with a $1 million initial investment and has raised more than $101 million to date.

While Sprout did raise $150 million and its investors got paid, not all were declaring Sprout’s opening day a ringing success. The stock fell after the open, closing at 16.60, down 2.35% from the opening. Perhaps a bit of Friday the 13th bad luck. Sprout Social’s debut is being compared unfavorably to SMB billing software company, which went public on Thursday and gained 60% in its trading debut.

LogMeIn Makes it Easier to Engage Via Messaging Apps

There was some news this week surrounding the workplace software company LogMeIn. The company announced new capabilities on the latest release of its Bold 360 solution that makes it easier for businesses to engage with their customers via messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and SMB text. The new solution offers an integrated chatbot that allows communications via all of these channels.

Communication via messaging apps is gaining importance for businesses, given their widespread use. We’ve recently covered the pros and cons of using messaging apps as a marketing channel on LSA Insider. There is little doubt that messaging is a powerful customer service and support channel.

Logmein is also a PE acquisition target. According to Bloomberg, the private equity firm Francisco Partners Management and hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. are working together on a bid to take LogMeIn Inc. private for more than $4 billion, which was its market cap at the close Friday. 

Exec Cites Eight Changes Legacy Companies Must Make to Serve SMBs

John Goddard, CEO of Herold and European Directories wrote a post on the Mono Solutions blog outlining eight changes all legacy businesses (like his own) must make it order to effectively serve small businesses. The post summarizes a presentation he gave at the recent SIINDA conference in Lisbon.

Here are his main points (liberally paraphrased):

  1. You need to make (or sell) products you are willing to use yourself.
  2. You probably need new salespeople.
  3. You probably need new people everywhere else too.
  4. Accept that GMB is siphoning off all of your named search and adjust accordingly.
  5. Your consumer products (IYP etc.) probably need to be rebuilt.
  6. You will have no choice but to sell third party products, put yourself in a position where you can afford to do so.
  7. Be real with yourself about your financials. Hiding dying products in bundles doesn’t work.
  8. Realize customer service is everything.

If you are interested in John’s full explanation of his points, we suggest you read his post.

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