Nokia and Intuit have just announced a partnership that is aimed at small businesses and helps them to provide a unified marketing service that ties together offers, advertising and location-based features. Obviously, as so often happens at large announcements like this, there was no real detail about what the offering would look like, but done right, this could be incredibly powerful.
If you accept the fact that we’re facing a perfect storm where mobile devices, near-ubiquitous connectivity and the mass interest in location-specific experiences, then it’s easy to see that an offering that ties some of that together and delivers it to the small business market has huge potential. The SMB market, while being massive, is full of people without the time or skills to tie this stuff together, pre-integration in a best of breed format is a no-brainer.
I wrote recently about exciting Kiwi startup VendHQ – they’re involved in creating a SaaS point-of-sale offering for small businesses. While Vend doesn’t really play at the sexy end of town (for some reason marketing is deemed more exciting than actually receiving customer cash!), in discussions with CEO Vaughan Rowsell we’ve both agreed that POS is the ideal hub for a raft of services like those Nokia/Intuit are working on. Imagine a world where a retailer, seeing a high level of stock on one item could automatically make a special offer that is then socialized out to relevant customers who are near by – Nokia’s mobile skills, and Intuit’s small business connections could well be the channel to propagate the information.
Of course there are concerns – if Nokia demands the product is Nokia-centric, that could prove a deal breaker. If Intuit demands the product be tightly bound to QuickBooks, it’s sure to be less than stellar. But if both these companies embrace openness and embrace the opportunity to integrate with fledgling companies like VendHQ – his could be a very big deal…