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?
Zeta Interactive acquires Acxiom’s email services
Data and analytics SaaS vendor, Zeta Interactive, has handed over about US$50 million to acquire the email marketing services unit of Acxiom.
Acxiom Impact’s marketing automation technology and services is set to be combined with Zeta’s technology platforms and assets, which focus on data-driven marketing and customer lifecycle management. Acxiom Impact has 1300 employees across 25 countries and more than 7000 customers globally. Zeta and Acxiom have also signed a long-term strategic partnership to ensure Fortune 1000 customers have a seamless transition from one business to the other.
The deal is the largest ever for Zeta, which also acquired eBay’s Enterprise CRM division in 2015 to access its ESP and data services business. Overall, it’s made 10 acquisitions over the past nine years.
Zeta CEO and co-founder, David A Steinberg, said the combination makes Zeta a top-tier player in the marketing cloud space.
“As Zeta drives towards realising our vision of solving CMO's biggest challenges by making data actionable at every step of the customer journey, we are constantly seeking opportunities to get there faster,” he said. “Together, we provide a top-rated self-service offering and become the dominant player in managed services.”
Tableau releases version 10
Data visualisation vendor, Tableau, has announced general availability of version 10 of its platform, offering a new design, analytics and mobile capabilities, as well as options for data preparation.
Top of the list is a refreshed design with new custom typeface and colour palette aimed at maximising cognition of visual analysis, the vendor said. There’s also a new Device Designer allowing users to create dashboards that automatically render for a range of mobile devices, plus offline snapshots that refresh while they’re connected. This is back by mobile device management platforms to ensure governance and security.
There’s also a cross-database feature to help people unite disparate data sources at a row level, along with a single filter option that can be applied across multiple data sources in workbooks. Tableau has added new connectors as well to Google Sheets, QuickBooks Online and Kognitio, and more ability to create dashboards online.
In addition, there are new analytics capabilities including drag-and-drop clustering, new custom territories for advanced geographic analysis, a data highlighter and improvements to bar charts and maps data.
MediaMath taps into rising proximity trend
MediaMath has integrated Geopulse Proximity from Factual into its TerminalOne Marketing Operating System to give its customers the ability to deliver targeted mobile ads to consumers based on physical location.
The ad tech player is the first partner to fully embed Geopulse into its platform, a dataset the vendor claims that covers 95 million businesses listed across 50 countries and is steadily increasing.
“The combination of our highly accurate global data with MediaMath’s advanced targeting and measurement capabilities will create a highly competitive proposition that will deliver tremendous value to the programmatic advertising world,” said Rob Jonas, SVP revenue at Factual.
“Factual’s global roster of exchange and publisher partners all maintain extensive relationships with MediaMath and extending these to include targeting using Factual’s Geopulse products is a valuable way to drive location targeted marketing budgets as we head into the fourth quarter.”
Local Measure brings in cloud collaboration tool
Australian location-based social platform, Local Measure, has integrated with Cisco’s cloud collaboration platform, Cisco Spark.
The integration is designed to help Local Measure’s customers better respond to end customer feedback and to help frontline operational teams collaborate.
Local Measure offers a platform for analytics and real-time alerts on service issues, notifications of repeat and influential customers who are on premise and the acquisition and republishing of content. These notifications and alerts can now be pushed into a Cisco Spark room, allowing frontline teams to click through to respond to customers, escalate and manage the situation in real-time and on the go from anywhere on any device.
“Cisco Spark is a game changing collaboration platform for enterprise, and we are delighted to be working with Cisco,” said Local Measure founder and CEO, Jonathan Barouch. “Our platform helps operational teams better understand, respond to and engage with their own customers in real-time. We see Cisco Spark as a natural enabler of critical collaboration around the guest to deliver the kind of personalised service customers expect.”
First in-video payment tech launch
Queensland-based payment technology innovator, IntegraPay is claiming an Australian first with its in-video payment solution.
The company’s ‘checkout’ feature allows consumers to pay directly within a video on any website or social media channel. IntegraPay CEO, Chris Urry, said the intelligent in-video payment software turned existing videos into direct sales machines by widening the marketing net to potentially millions of people through social media sharing and website embedding.
“In-video payments allow users to stay within the video they’re watching and are given the option to pay directly within the video content while viewing media,” he said. “The audience is engaged and emotionally connecting with the content on the screen, and during that moment, prompted to purchase.”
IntegraPay’s video transaction technology is Australian Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, and payment forms stay within the video unit, refreshing for each user if the video is shared. Urry said the technology can be immediately linked with any video.
Speech recognition vendor raises US56m
Interactions, which produces speech and natural language technology software, has chalked up US$56 million in its latest funding round led by a series of new investors.
Interactions CEO, Mike Iacobucci, said the vendor is experience widespread and growing demand for its offerings, which are powered by artificial intelligence and focused on improving digital customer care. Flagship products include Intelligence Virtual Assistant solutions, along with Curo Speech and its Language Platform.
The new funding will be used to make strategic investments that will help advance its AI technology as well as drive global expansion and marketing and sales capabilities. It’s also bringing on new executive leaders including a CFO and EVP of technology.
The company claimed to experience 100 per cent year-on-year growth between 2014 and 2015 and 80 per cent recurring revenue, and has a client list that includes Hyatt, Humana and TXU Energy.
Is Hootsuite ready for an IPO?
Media speculation has arisen that eight-year-old social media management firm, Hootsuite, is in a good position to now embark on an IPO after achieving its goal of becoming cash flow position by the third quarter of 2016.
The Canadian vendor’s founder and CEO, Ryan Holmes, told Fortune that getting to cash neutral status was a big accomplishment, adding that running cash neutral was more practical as organisations approached unicorn (US$1bn) status.
He wouldn’t commit to a particular timeframe for an initial public offering but noted Hootsuite was now in a good position in terms of systems for that type of financial scrutiny.
Engagio raises US$22bn for account-based everything platform
Engagio, the account-based marketing startup established by former Marketo founder, Jon Miller, has raised US422 million in Series B funding to help scale its global footprint and product offering.
The investment, which was provided by Norwest Venture Partners and several other private equity firms, will be used to scale sales and marketing as well as accelerate innovation of the vendor’s platform, which it dubs as ‘account-based everything’. The technology is aimed at B2B companies and is designed to complement marketing automation and CRM platforms by helping brands target multiple influencers and buyers within a desired customer account.
"ABM is clearly red-hot," said Miller. "But at the same time, marketing alone is insufficient for account-based success. To really reach out to a target account, you need a 1:1 human connection, which is key to success in sales. That's why we're so excited to focus not just on ABM but on Account Based Everything - a strategic go-to-market approach that orchestrates personalised marketing, sales, and success efforts to land and expand named accounts."
Madison Logic ups the ABM analytics ante
Account-based marketing vendor, Madison Logic, has added attribution and engagement analytics to its Activate ABM solution.
Activate ABM combines targeted advertising and content syndication to influence prospective accounts and was launched in May 2015. By identifying the most active accounts, the platform aims to help marketers focus on the accounts that are researching their products, allowing them to target prospects with the messaging that is both relevant and timely, while attributing success to these account-based tactics in real time.
Madison Logic's platform now provides attribution and engagement metrics for ABM programs. Marketers can now see how their accounts are engaging with their content and optimise programs in real time. The platform measures the amount of time accounts spend with specific content and attributes that exposure to engagement on a website.
Dentsu Aegis acquires Merkle
Media and digital marketing communications agency, Dentsu Aegis Network, has taken another big step to rapidly expand its operations globally and acquired a major stake in US-based data-driven marketing solutions group, Merkle.
While the details have not been disclosed, a report in The Wall Street Journal said the transaction puts Merkle’s overall company value at about US$1.5 billion. The stake is being purchased from private equity firm, Technology Crossover Ventures, along with other Merkle shareholders, and is due to close by end of September.
Merkle focuses on helping brands with customer data management. The group generated $436m in revenue in 2015, up 14 per cent year-on-year, and has 650 clients, managing 3.7 billion first-party customer records. It operates 21 offices across the US, Europe and Asia.
The pair said the two businesses were a complementary fit and together would be able to seize revenue growth opportunities through collaboration. Dentsu Aegis’ has previously stated that it’s aiming to become a 100 per cent digital economy business by 2020, an ambition Merkle will help it realise.
“We have long admired the Merkle business, people and brand and are delighted that they are becoming part of our group, complementing our existing offer to clients and strengthening our competitive advantage at the forefront of the rapidly growing digital economy,” said Dentsu Aegis CEO, Jerry Buhlmann.
“As the latest brand in our global network, Merkle will be able to accelerate its transformation into an international agency by leveraging our global reach and platforms and providing new capabilities to our clients.”