Constant Contact has acquired loyalty card and mobile coupons platform CardStar for an undisclosed sum, the Boston-area companies announced today. Four-year-old CardStar claims more than two million users of its shopping-based mobile apps, which are available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry users.
The purchase appears to be Contant Contact’s first serious foray into mobile marketing. The 14-year-old firm began as a email marketing services provider for small businesses and organizations, offering free tools and inexpensive subscription services. It’s built up a B2B user base of 450,000, the company says, while expanding its product line to include online surveys, events marketing services, and social media marketing.
Twenty months ago, Constant Contact looked to bolster its social media capabilities with its last noteworthy purchase, acquiring NutshellMail.
Gail Goodman, Constant Contact CEO, suggested that picking up CardStar would help her company service its SMB clients with emerging mobile marketing strategies such as crowdsourcing. Her firm plans to keep the CardStar brand live while bringing aboard its four-person executive team to Constant Contact’s Waltham, MA headquarters.
“For small businesses, it’s all about finding and connecting with their next customer, whether that customer is returning or brand new,” Goodman said in a prepared release. “Today’s consumers don’t just want – but expect – to access information and make decisions on the go, and they want to be rewarded for their support and loyalty.”
Constant Contact has more than 900 employees. Its competitors in the SMB marketing services space include iContact, Vertical Response, MailChimp, AWeber, Campaigner, and StreamSend.
GroupM predicts that global ad spend will top $547 billion next year, up from $524 billion this year. While television will still capture the biggest share of that 12-figure pie (41%), digital's share will grow from 31% to 33%.
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