In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
Signal raises US$30 million
Signal has secured US$30 million in Series E funding to accelerate and expand its people-based data technology platform.
The latest round was led by I2A and supported by Pritzker Group Ventures, Baird Capital, EPIC Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. The investment brings total funding into Signal to $70m to date.
Signal’s technology combines data collection, persistent identification, data on-boarding and media activation for real-time cross-channel engagement.
According to the company, it has experienced high double-digit growth since inception, with more than 20,000 companies and brands using its platform in the US, APAC, EMEA and South America, and across multiple verticals including retail, CPG, automotive, travel and entertainment.
Signal CEO, Mike Sands, said complexity and fragmentation across the digital marketing landscape has compounded since the business was founded six years ago.
“Most marketing technology operates in silos, which hampers brands’ ability to connect their data to known users,” he said. “That gives brands the foundation they need for reaching always addressable consumers in real time, anywhere they are.”
Flamingo Customer Experience is acquired
Flamingo Customer Experience is being acquired by ASX-listed, Cre8tek, after being approached by the business during an investment raising round.
Flamingo provides cloud-based guided selling and customer on-boarding platforms aimed at helping companies increase online sales conversion and customer retention rates. This is achieved through patented software that learns how customers and employees interact and then automates this process.
The company operates in Sydney and New York and customers include major companies such as Nationwide Insurance, New York Daily Gazette, Prime Financial and Quay Credit Union.
The deal will see Flamingo CEO and founder, Dr Catriona Wallace, plus Flamingo directors, Cathie Reid and Paul Hunyor, join the Cre8tek board, with the full Flamingo management team also remaining in place. Cre8tek will undertake a capital raising of not less than $2m to further develop the Flamingo artificial intelligence platform, with more details to be outlined in the forthcoming prospectus.
Cre8tek is a recently re-listed ASX company focused on the technology and software development sector with an emphasis on marketing solutions.
Quantium secures metrics agreement with Facebook
Data analytics firm, Quantium, has officially become Facebook’s Australian partner for measuring advertising impact on store sales.
Quantium is the third company globally to strike this type of partnership with the social media giant alongside Datalogix in the US and the UK’s Dunnhumby.
Its media division lead, Alex Macoun, said the two companies had been piloting measurement activity over the past six months. Brands involved included LÓreal, Kelloggs and Proctor and Gamble.
“Facebook… is delighted with the rigorous methodology employed, as well as the results,” she said. “Consequently, the two companies have now signed a partnership agreement, which will benefit advertisers and their media agencies always looking for better understanding of the effects of their advertising spend.”
Quantium said its measurement process defines a statistical connection between ads that appear on Facebook’s platform and resulting sales as collected in its customer shopping database. These results are made available to advertisers and agencies at an aggregated level, which ensures no personal customer data is used in the analysis.
LÓreal head of digital media for A/NZ, Christophe Eymery, said the new measurement product provided a fresh level of intelligence around campaign performance. “It has really enlightened our understanding of the impact our marketing efforts have on real sales outcomes,” he said.
“Quantium’s excellence in understanding and working with complicated data was instrumental in developing this innovative measurement approach,” Facebook A/NZ managing director, Stephen Scheeler, said. “By linking post-exposure purchases to a campaign, we are effectively closing the loop on understanding advertising effects.”
According to Quantium, questions advertisers will now be able to answer include what in-store sales uplift can be attributed to Facebook advertising, if a Facebook campaign cannibalised sales of other products, and how to rank different audiences and what returns each segment delivers.
Pronto launches digital consultancy
Homegrown tech company, Pronto Software, has launched a new digital consultancy aimed at helping businesses better engage customers through more comprehensive marketing and technology strategies.
Pronto Woven will offer services around digital strategy, design, ecommerce, CRM and mobile platform development, and aims to help clients improve customer engagement using analytics, mobile and cloud technologies.
“This is an exciting phase for our business, as we continue to invest and increase our service offering,” said Pronto Software COO, Chad Gates. “As businesses look to differentiate themselves, the Pronto Woven team is dedicated to co-creating innovative digital solutions and services with our clients to connect, grow and retain customers.”
One of its first customers is Vic’s Premium Quality Meat, which worked with Pronto Woven to develop an online order system enabling chefs to order on mobile devices via a customer portal. Its CFO, Guy Haslehurst, said the ‘Fast Order’ function had delivered better control and order integrity, reducing human errors and admin resources.
“The rise of digital agencies, most of which do not have their own technology and can often disappoint, has shown us we can do it better because we have both the products and the expertise to deliver a true end to end digital agency service, backed by the latest tech, creative capability and industry expertise,” added Pronto Woven Manager, Chris Stolke.
All-in-one online marketing automation platform aims at B2C
Salesmanago, an all-in-one, cloud-based online marketing solution, has release new offerings for online retailers and B2C companies off the back of a US$6m cash injection earlier this year.
The vendor has developed a new range of marketing automation features for B2C organisations including dynamic targeted email marketing, anonymous marketing automation capabilities online-to-offline marketing and sales integration, mobile marketing automation with customer behaviour tracking and full data integration, dynamic website content and a marketing campaigns configurator for B2C and online stores.
The company said individual customer behavioural profiling is based on a combination of clicks on the website, along with information on what products and pictures a customer was looking at while online and transactional data. These can be used to generate automated predictive next-best offers through email, product recommendations on the site or mobile push and in-app messaging. They can also be extended through to social media and advertising.
Salesmanago is based out of Poland but also has offices in New York, London and Bangalore. More than 80 per cent of its revenue comes from B2C and online stores and its emphasis on SMB. Its customers include Oracle, Yves Rocher and Aviva.
Qlik sold to private equity firm
Data visualisation platform, Qlik, has joined the list of acquisitions by private equity firms and has confirmed it is being acquired by Thoma Bravo for US$30.50 per share. The deal brings its total value to US$3 billion.
The Nasdaq-listed vendor provides visual analytics for self-service data visualisation and guided analytics. It has 39,000 customers and more than 1700 partners globally.
“We believe the proposed transaction is in the best interest of Qlik’s shareholders and provides the company with additional flexibility to execute our strategic plan as we continue to diligently provide customers with the premier products and services they have come to expect,” said CEO, Lars Björk. “Thoma Bravo recognises the value that Qlik delivers – a platform that lets our customers see the whole story that lives within their data. Thoma Bravo has an excellent track record of investing in outstanding technology businesses for the long-term, and I am confident our employees, customers and partners will greatly benefit from our partnership with them.”
New marketing automation platform hopes to shake-up marketing
A startup and its VC backers is hoping to transform the marketing automation landscape through its new open source platform offering.
Mautic, which launch last year, claims to be used by 50,000 businesses already and translated in 49 languages. The platform covers social media marketing, lead management, email marketing, campaign management, reporting and customisable form design.
The company has just moved its headquarters to Boston and has turned to brand new Boston-based venture capital firm, _Underscore.VC, to provide the capital for its ambitions.
Underscore.VC is led by several well-known faces in the tech space, including former Demandware CEO, John Pearce, and led the $600,000 seed round for Mautic, which will be used to finalise product improvements and grow the team. The VC firm works on a platform much like AngelList, and aims to help founders of startups find the right connections they need to grow their businesses.
Importantly, through its ‘Cores’ community building initiative, Underscore gives Mautic access to a group of entrepreneurs and tech execs in marketing and open source sectors.
Mobile adtech player gets snapped up
US-based Smaato, which provide a real-time advertising platform for mobile publishers and app developers, has been acquired for US$148m by China-based Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication Group.
In a statement, Spearhead said Smaato opened up three strategic opportunities for the organisation. The first is its global business and market position, which gives the company the platform for global expansion. The second is Smaato’s reach to 1 billion unique mobile users each month outside of China. Thirdly, the platform will help Spearhead to build mobile advertising capabilities in the Chinese market.
“Spearhead brings to Smaato not only its expertise and a trusted partnership but opens up the Chinese market for us,” said Smaato CEO and co-founder, Ragnar Kruse. “Smaato allows Spearhead to expand very quickly outside of China. Together, we unlock potential for enormous growth and exciting possibilities that neither business could achieve alone.”
Salesforce opens dev up to non-developers
Salesforce has put it support behind the democratisation of its platform development with new software, training and support services that aim to help more users, not just professional developers, build applications.
More than 2.8 million developers have already built some 5.5 million apps based on the company's customer relationship management software, it says, and at its TrailheaDX developer event in San Francisco, it made several announcements to expand that further.
The Summer 2016 release of Salesforce's Lightning development platform, for instance, includes more than 200 new features for both expert and nontechnical developers.
Lightning’s component-based architecture makes it easier to combine app elements using drag-and-drop software. Now, new Lightning LockerService, Lightning Inspector and Lightning CLI tools give professional developers broader capabilities for building custom components.
Other tools make it easier for anyone, including "citizen developers," to create apps without needing to know coding, by mixing and matching custom and standard components. Within Lightning App Builder, for example, users can create and edit Lightning Record Pages, customize Home Pages for different user profiles and assign filters to a report chart component using visual tools.
In Salesforce's free gaming-style online learning environment, called Trailhead, new "superbadges" aim to encourage users to learn more Salesforce skills. Superbadges are credentials that can be proudly displayed on a resume or on LinkedIn.
Aiming to nurture entrepreneurs who build on the Salesforce platform, the CRM company's new ventures arm launched a US$50 million investment fund for those who create Lightning apps and components for it. Similarly, a new incubator program focuses on early-stage companies that use Salesforce Lightning to create products. Due to open in the San Francisco Bay Area by year's end, it will provide a physical space within Salesforce offices along with access to Salesforce technology and mentorship.
Bluecore goes into advertising
Customer experience platform provider, Bluecore, is extending its reach into advertising channels with Bluecore Ads.
The company said Bluecore Ads will allow marketers to tap email, site, customer and product or catalogue data sets to develop shopper segments, then sync these audiences with personalised advertising campaigns across all devices through advertising channels like Facebook, Google AdWords and Demand-Side Platforms. Users can also integrate the application into existing marketing or ad technologies without a data ingest process.
The capabilities come off the back of the vendor’s triggered email and predictive audiences applications.
“No other platform can marry brands’ first-party data and real-time product catalogue changes to deliver such meaningful advertising messages,” claimed Fayez Mohamood, co-founder and CEO of Bluecore. “In addition to creating automated display ads that react to inventory, marketers can now leverage the audience segmentation engine to implement new advertising strategies within existing campaigns.”
- With additional reporting by Katherine Noyes