CMO’s top 10 martech stories this week

Marketing and ad technology news from Salesforce, Act-On, Oracle, IBM Watson, Amobee, Progress Telerik, Sizmek, RocketFuel, Drupal and AdRoll

Salesforce reveals predictive customer journey capabilities

Salesforce has taken the wrappers off Marketing Cloud Predictive Journeys with predictive scoring and audiences, aimed at helping marketers better pre-empt their customers’ next actions.

According to the vendor, the predictive journey capability allows marketers to unite CRM and marketing data with contextual data, such as Web browsing activity and email engagement. Using predictive scores and predictive audiences, marketers can then tap into data science to analyse and predict the next step in every customer journey.

“Marketers want to put the customer at the centre of their thinking and allow them to define each moment that matters. Now marketers can create smarter journeys that deliver the right content exactly when the customer needs it,” said Salesforce CEO Marketing Cloud, Scott McCorkle.

As an example of how the technology works, Salesforce said an online retailer could use the predictive scoring to determine a customer’s likelihood of opening an email, unsubscribing from an email list, or making a purchase. Marketers can also create dashboards to view overall and individual customer scores, which can then be aggregated into audience segments.

For a group of customers identified as most likely to unsubscribe, marketers could trigger a re-engagement campaign, then use the platform to put customers onto new journey paths as they better engage with content and offers, Salesforce said.

The predictive capabilities are expected to be available from the first half of 2016 and are to be included as add-ons in the Enterprise edition of Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Act-On Software releases industry-specific marketing automation

SMB-focused marketing automation vendor, Act-On Software, has launched customised technology offerings for five industry sectors: Health, travel, finance, manufacturing and retail.

According to the company, Act-On Industry Solutions is a digital collection of industry specific marketing and content assets, pre-built automated workflows and industry-specific benchmark results aimed at helping customers better manage marketing workloads. The vendor pointed to its own research as showing marketing programs customised for the needs of an industry yield significant higher results than those that are not.

“We’ve expanded on our promise of simplicity without compromise by providing our customers with the ability to not only get up and running on the platform quickly, but also access pre-built templates and workflows to make their marketing more relevant and effective for their industry,” said Act-On Software CMO, Atri Chatterjee.

The industry specific platforms are being released globally in December, and the company has indicated it will expand the number of industries support, as well as content templates and program types, in the New Year.

In a similar vein, vertical CRM solutions are increasingly being released globally to better support specific industries and organisations looking for customer management platforms.

IBM Watson gets trendy with new app

IBM has launched the Watson Trend App to give consumers access to the top trends of the holiday season and also predict the hottest products before they sell out. The app is available via a free download at the Apple App Store.

The new offering takes advantage of Watson’s natural language and machine learning capabilities and uses sentiment analysis of tens of millions of online conversations across 10,000 sources including social media sites, blogs, forums, comments, ratings and reviews. IBM said that unlike other apps or lists that provide a static ranking of ‘hot’ products, the Watson app reveals how consumers feel about the products they are considering or have purchased.

The app also uses predictive analytics to forecast if a particular trend is a fleeting fad or will continue to remain strong.

Users can view the top 100 trending products and stories behind them across three categories:Consumer electronics, toys and health and fitness.

Oracle’s Marketing Cloud enhancements

Oracle has made several updates to its Marketing Cloud platform around mobile interactions for consumers and salespeople, revenue attribution around marketing activities, and customer experience optimisation.

Enhancements to the Engage and Profiler sales tools within Marketing Cloud are aimed at helping sales teams better understand the profile of an individual contact and engage with them using pre-loaded campaigns and content accessible on mobile devices. Profiler also now gives salespeople a better view of customers thanks to a Google Chrome Extension.

Oracle said it has also expanded out-of-the-box in-app messaging so it can be orchestrated alongside email, social, push, SMS, MMS and other channel, while a new self-service tool for audience data integration helps marketing teams or media vendors to build integrations that send audience data from Oracle’s DMP into digital advertising and media platforms.

New multivariate testing is designed to allow marketers to extend out of A/B testing and test up to eight versions of the same message with customer by analysing variables including subject lines, content and sender. There’s also a new set of dashboards for viewing what content and cross-channel interactions are driving conversions, and customised reports based on pre-determined engagement and conversion metrics.

Amobee expands brand intelligence platform

Global marketing technology company, Amobee, has added international data and enhanced functionality to its Brand Intelligence offering. The platform analyses and correlates more than 60 billion content engagements and consumption trends across Web, video, mobile and social channels day.

The platform updates provide additional access and capabilities across the company's major geographical regions, including Australia, which the vendor claimed will give marketers a 360-degree view of their brand’s digital footprint and allow them to activate real-time, cross-device advertising.

Amobee said brands can also better understand their target audiences, and discover new ones, look at past, present and future trends and sentiments around their brand, identify contexts and audience interests driving brand interest, and monitor competitors.

Drupal version 8 hits the streets

Drupal’s latest digital experience platform launches Open source project, Drupal, is proclaiming a new era in personalised, multi-channel digital experiences with the launch of Drupal 8 platform.

The enterprise digital experience management offering is delivering a host of new capabilities, including the ability to deliver content ‘as-a-service’ to any site, device, native application or emerging channel through RESTful APIs; mobile-first interface and content publishing; translation and globalisation; a new-look editing tool and in-context authoring; new client-side frameworks; and an object-oriented Web development framework with built-in Symfony components, staged configuration management, and improved unit testing support.

There’s also dynamic caching for content delivery to further improve personalise data-driven user experiences.

Progress and Layer 8 connect for cloud-based digital content management platform

Progress and cloud services provider, Layer 8 Connect, have joined forces to deliver the Content Anywhere Cloud, a cloud-based Web experience management platform that allows marketers to create, develop, update and automatically deliver dynamic content across multiple devices and channels.

The offering is the first commercial platform-as-a-service offering introduced on the Cisco Intercloud, and will launch in Australia in early 2016. It combines Progress’ Telerik Platform, Sitefinity CMS and Sitefinity DEC as a single digital marketing command centre available via the cloud. Progress said the technology offers analytics, personalisation and additional options that can be used by marketers to drive a customer lifecycle approach.

“Organisations worldwide want to grow their digital businesses by offering a unique digital experience to end users. They are looking to Progress and Layer 8 to provide the building blocks necessary for creating programs and content to address the today’s multichannel digital reality,” said Progress’ chief product officer, Michael Benedict.

“With Content Anywhere Cloud, we are answering their needs by providing the award-winning capabilities of Telerik Sitefinity CMS, Telerik Platform and Telerik Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud (DEC), coupled with Layer 8 Connect’s decades of industry know-how and strategic counsel.”

Sizmek and Tapad partner up on identity management

Digital advertising management vendor, Sizmek, has partnered with mobile marketing player, Tapad, to integrate the latter’s cross-device solution into the Sizmek MDX platform.

According to Sizmek, Tapad is one of two cross-device identity management vendors selected after a thorough evaluation of market-leading companies, and will round out its ability to help clients connect with consumers across all of their devices and measure which parts of their campaign are driving the best results.

The vendor said the partnership will enhance its programmatic capabilities by addressing targeting and measurement in a unified way, and provide more accurate attribution and better frequency control with an all-inclusive view of the user. Tapad’s cross-device solution, Screen6, is based on the vendor’s proprietary Device Graph technology which identifies related devices.

Sizmek said having enhanced cross-device capabilities will also help with dynamic creative optimisation, allowing advertisers to deliver targeted ads to each consumer in real time.

"Increasing audience fragmentation has made it more difficult to effectively deliver the right message across multiple devices in a way that's relevant to a specific user," said Alex White, vice-president of product strategy at Sizmek. "Through the integration of Tapad's technology, Sizmek enhances its leadership role in omni-channel ad management in key geographical areas for our customers, which enables them to more efficiently deliver and better monetise campaigns."

RocketFuel makes it about people

Programmatic ad tech player, Rocket Fuel, says it is making people-based marketing the default standard for programmatic marketing campaigns, regardless of device, starting with its self-service DSP.

The vendor said the people-based marketing standard will tap into its proprietary Moment Scoring technology, allowing advertisers to reach consumers across devices and across IDs within the same device, giving them the ability to drive multi-device exposure. It claimed this approach results in 31 per cent higher campaign performance on average.

RocketFuel CEO, Randy Wootton, noted that individual consumers appear as four or five profiles on average across their owned devices, switching frequently between them during the day.

“With our new people-based marketing approach, our Moment Scoring technology leverages unified profiles to present a holistic and complete view of an individual to deliver the right ad at the right moment on the right device, avoiding the delivery of excess ads on more devices,” he said. “With Moment Scoring, the value for marketers is clear: optimize spend and drive higher campaign performance.”

RocketFuel quoted self-service DSP customer, Microsoft, who tested the new marketing technology, in its release.

“Not only have we seen excellent campaign performance, but the technology gives us a much clearer picture of the role of mobile in our customers' conversion paths,” Microsoft US Central Marketing Organisation CMO lead, Grad Conn, said. “We believe cross-device planning, execution and measurement are where the industry is headed, and we applaud Rocket Fuel for its leadership in adopting a people-based marketing standard.”

AdRoll claims to save 35 per cent on cost-per-click with new release

Programmatic ad tech vendor, AdRoll, claims the latest version of its BidIQ proprietary bidding algorithm, Chopin, is achieving a 35 per cent lower cost-per-click and a 39 per cent higher click-through ratio than its predecessor, Beethoven. The figures were recorded over the past four months.

According to AdRoll, the latest version uses more advanced machine learning to create statistical models to understand the impact between site activity, frequency of ads show and propensity to buy. The algorithm relies on aggregated data from more than 20,000 advertisers.

As an example, AdRoll pointed to US digital agency, OneStop, which reported a 28 per cent drop in CPC and double the CTR, driving an average 40 per cent lower cost-per-acquisition for its advertisers.

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