CMO’s top 10 martech stories for this week – 31 March

The latest martech and adtech news from SDL, Pitney Bowes, Hootsuite, Bronto Software, Slack, Adato, EverString, Meltwater, Qanda and Maximizer

SDL to sell-off social intelligence and ecommerce platforms

Language and digital content management vendor, SDL, is selling off its social intelligence, campaign management and ecommerce optimisation platforms.

SDL will now refocus on its language translation services and technology products, which come under the banner of Web content management and documentation. The social intelligence, campaign management and ecommerce offerings (Fredhopper), all of which were acquired over recent years, will be sold off.

SDL’s executive chairman, David Clayton, told CMSWire that the company put the wrong salesmen on the wrong opportunities, which led to poor win rates, leaving the company in a never-ending game of catchup with rival players such as Sitecore and Adobe. Clayton also said SDL’s messaging was too oriented towards a suite approach, rather than going to market with point-based customer experience management solutions.

Last week, SDL reported a loss before tax of £25.2 million for the year ending 31 December 2015 off revenue of £266.9m.

“Following a thorough operational review of the Group’s activities, the Board has concluded that SDL should refocus around a language centric strategy, helping brands to manage, translate and deliver localised content on a global scale,” Clayton said upon the release of its latest financials. “As a consequence, we are now seeking to sell certain non-core elements of our business.”

Pitney Bowes brings out single customer view solution

Global technology company, Pitney Bowes, has brought out its new Single Customer View software solution, aimed at helping organisations design, deliver and evolve contextually relevant views of their customers in real time.

The software sets out to unite interactions from all channels of engagement, including systems of record and digital insights, and link these with an existing customer profile in order to uncover timely and actionable insights.

The solution is powered by the vendor’s new Spectrum Technology Platform v11, which lies underneath its customer analytics and master data management capabilities. Key features include big data cleansing and matching capabilities.

“It all starts with the ability to accurately and precisely identify customers, despite the quality of the input data,” said Pitney Bowes senior VP of software solutions, Jack Bullock. “To do so, you need a technology with a longstanding history of dealing with name and address-related data challenges across the globe.”

Hootsuite buys mobile app for sales teams

Social media management platform, Hootsuite, has acquired Sales Prodigy, a mobile app built to help sales organisations tap into social selling opportunities.

According to the vendor, the deal allows Hootsuite customers to quickly find social selling opportunities and start conversations with prospects and customers in real time on social media. Sales Prodigy was previously part of Hootsuite’s App Directory ecosystem.

"Many organisations have invested in social marketing and social support, but there's a big gap in the market for social selling solutions, and we want to address it," said Hootsuite VP of corporate development, Matt Switzer.

“Companies like Palms Hotel and Marketo already use Hootsuite as part of their lead generation efforts. With the addition of Sales Prodigy, we're bolstering our platform to better align with our customers’ needs for social selling.”

Bronto brings out new apps

Netsuite-owned commerce marketing automation vendor, Bronto Software, has launched its Browse Recovery and Predictor apps, which it claims will help marketers better engage customers through targeted messaging.

The two tools allow marketers to pull all product catalogue data into Bronto’s marketing platform and automatically access product data when building targeted email and SMS messages. The apps track online shopper activity and translate the data into segmentation and product recommendations that can be used by marketers for further customer interactions.

Read more: GE, Pitney Bowes team up on predictive and prescriptive analytics

Key features in the Browse Recovery App are trigger targeted marketing messages based on recently viewed products or categories; page browser activity capturing; configurable trigger rules so users can control who and how often customers receive targeted messages; and centralised reporting.

The Predictor app is focused on sending targeted product recommendations and includes quick import functionality for existing product feeds into the Bronto platform, recommendations on emails, and the ability to integrate recommendations into messages.

Slack opens doors in Australia to Asia-Pacific push

Collaboration messaging app provider, Slack, has opened its new Asia-Pacific headquarters in Melbourne on 31 March.

The vendor said it will create 70 new local jobs to support customers in this region, a list that includes Telstra, REA Group and Seek. The new office was opened by Slack co-founder and CEO, Stewart Butterfield.

“Melbourne has been incredibly welcoming and offers a wealth of talent, which made choosing the city as our Asia Pacific headquarters an easy decision,” he said.

“We live in a golden age of software. Work tools are finally benefitting from the type of exciting innovation we’ve seen in consumer apps for years. We’re making a big investment here in Australia to grow our own Slack team, but more importantly to help teams of all sizes be happier and more productive.”

San Francisco-based Slack has raised US$340 million to fund its global expansion plans since launching two years ago, and also maintains offices in Canada and Ireland. It boasts of 2.3 million daily active users and $64m in annual recurring revenue.

Adato launches regional office

Another vendor, this time on the machine learning side of things, also opened in Australia this month.

Intelligent machine learning startup, Adatos’ new local office is headed by David Perez and Paul Dovas and is focused on supporting the A/NZ markets. The group’s technology analyses structured and unstructured data in order to recognise patterns and extract predictive insights that can help with problem solving and business decision making.

The deep learning technology originates from the US intelligence community, where it was used for national security and counter-terrorism, which Adatos claims makes its more advanced that many other machine learning analytics methods out there in the market today.

“Our technology has a proven track record and has been continuously improved its application in the US Intelligence community,” said founder and managing director, Drew Perez. “The technology has been kept a trade secret, but can now be leveraged by local marketers, data scientists or anyone dealing with big data, as it has been declassified.”

Core industry segments for Adatos include retail, marketing, banking and finance, biotech, telecommunications and electrical energy.

EverString brings AI to Dynamics CRM

B2B sales and marketing platform vendor, EverString, has integrated its artificial intelligence-powered platform with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

The US-based vendor claimed the new integration helps users optimise the prospect-to-customer journey by enabling sales and marketing teams to prioritise existing prospects and also identify net new, high-quality leads.

It does this by using more than 20,000 external signals and applying data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence to find and analyse patterns in the pipeline of all prospects and customers recorded with the CRM platform. The ideal customer model is then applied across the prospect database, giving each prospect a priority score.

“Predictive marketing is quickly becoming an integral piece of an intelligent customer engagement solution and we are excited to offer this powerful technology through our partnership with EverString,” said Microsoft Dynamics CRM general manager, Jujhar Singh. “With EverString’s predictive marketing technology, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers can improve sales outcomes not only by prioritising prospect conversations but also by filling their pipeline with high-value accounts.”

Meltwater buys AI tool

Media intelligence player, Meltwater, has acquired Encore Alert, a software-as-a-service platform that taps artificial intelligence in order to sift through social information for marketing and PR activities.

“We are all drowning in social media, and the challenge we have is to identify information that is important and actionable,” Meltwater founder and CEO, Jorn Lyseggen, said. “For the last three-and-a-half years, the team at Encore Alert has worked tirelessly to condense this clutter down to a handful of daily alerts using sophisticated artificial intelligence. Encore Alert’s algorithms are successfully helping top brands such as the Denver Broncos, Le Creuset, and CES stay on top of emerging crises, important events, and critical trends.”

Encore Alert uses a proprietary algorithm to sort through billions of social posts and identify trends, track interactions with important influencers, and build industry intelligence. The platform then sends alerts about top priority conversations.

“By integrating Encore Alert’s proprietary technology into our social offering, we will be even better positioned to help our 24,000 global clients accelerate their follower growth, increase engagement, drive referral traffic, and protect their brand reputations,” said Lyseggen.

Q&A video app debuts

A new app is claiming a first by giving brands and users the ability to create Q&A videos on the fly.

Qanda takes a written question and pairs it with a video answer in a video player that can be shared on any website. The app developers claim that while it hasn’t been specifically created for brands, the app could be a good way to answer questions from consumers while create brand content.

Users punch in a question and send it to a specific user either on Qanda, social or messaging apps, or via email. The respondent films a 30-second answer while is then bundled together and is shareable. Users can also endorse a question, ask an open answer that a group can answer, or film an answer directly in a box pop.

Maximizer capitalises on MailChimp

CRM vendor, Maximizer, has offered up a new product integration that unites its offering with MailChimp’s campaign management platform.

Maximizer Connect supports two-way contact data synchronisation between the CRM platform and MailChimp, as well as customisable sync timeframes and mapping of custom contact fields between the two tools. The vendor said this will allow marketers to keep campaign data in sync and deliver visibility into MailChimp campaigns from within Maximizer.

The integration also brings split-testing functionality, templates and tracking in MailChimp to Maximizer users.

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