CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from The Trade Desk, Microsoft, Act-On Software, LiveRamp, Atlassian, Helpshift, iPerceptions, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign and RadiumOne.

The Trade Desk launches programmatic audio

Adtech platform provider, The Trade Desk, is now offering programmatic advertising trading for digital audio inventory across the Asia-Pacific region after striking a deal with digital music provider, Spotify.

Following success tests with major brand across the region, the vendor is now allowing brand advertisers to purchase digital audio inventory alongside other channels including display, mobile, video, native and social.

Kicking off its services with Spotify, brands and agency trading desks can target audiences in real time based on specific moments such as commute, workout and party, using key criteria such as age and gender. Campaigns will be served in-stream with licensed content in Spotify’s mobile environment.

“Brand advertisers want to reach and engage with consumers immersed in every day in music streaming,” said The Trade Desk SVP of Asia, Matt Harty. “Our goal is to move quickly and offer advertisers access to innovative solutions and we have done that with programmatic audio.”

The Trade Desk plans to expand its offering to include inventory alliances with other music streaming providers.

Harty said the other emphasis was building a solution that delivers easy-to-use performance reporting for agencies, strong measurement tools and the ability to buy other ad formats such as display and video as part of an omni-channel approach to media.

Act-On partners up with Microsoft

Marketing automation vendor, Act-On, has launched a new product bundle integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Power BI and Microsoft Outlook platforms.

Act-On said it shares 500 customers with Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM client based, making integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem a key priority. One tailor-made application now launched for Microsoft solutions is prebuilt, native integration with CRM to enable closed-loop, account-based marketing activity.

The vendor has also integrated Act-On Data Studio and Power BI so users can push engagement data into business intelligence for sales and marketing activity, and united Act-On Anywhere and Outlook for sales and support teams, allowing them to access email templates within the mail app, opt-in communications for tracking, and to receive alerts when a prospect or customer interacts with mail.

Act-On users running different types of marketing programs, including inbound, outbound, account-based, and social that are integrated with Dynamics CRM can also report on funnel velocity and revenue attribution, and dive deeper into campaign performance.

Microsoft announces global expansion for HoloLens

In other Microsoft news, the software giant has announced this week that its first self-contained holographic computer is available for pre-order in several countries including Australia, with shipping due to commence in late November.

First announced in January last year, Microsoft revealed at Computex in June that Windows Holographic would be to Windows 10 PCs and head-mounted displays as part of a vision to introduced mixed-reality experiences. All holographic apps are Universal Windows apps, and Universal Windows apps can also be made to run on the Windows Holographic platform.

Since launching HoloLens, Microsoft has worked with several companies to see how the mixed reality experience could be used in business. One partner is Case Western Reserve University, which sees the device as an opportunity to engage with students in unprecedented ways, said its faculty director for Interactive Commons, Mark Griswold.

“The mixed-reality view means students and faculty can interact with one another and the holographic information the entire time, preserving the critical human connection that is such an essential part of learning,” he said.

Over at Airbus, which is also testing HoloLens, the belief is that mixed-reality technologies, which are already deployed within products and processes, can bring both mobility and new ways to consume and link users with digital information. And at Lowe’s Home Improvement, HoloLens is being perceived as a way to change the future retail experience.

“When we saw HoloLens, we knew we had found a solution that would allow us to create a collaborative process, enabling customers to make decisions about their home improvement projects quickly and confidently,” said executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, Kyle Nel.

Microsoft Windows and Devices Group technical fellow, Alex Kipman, said partnerships are a key way to discover the best innovations.

“It has been quite inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created,” he said. “Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do.”

Atlassian planning a CRM challenge?

A media report in Forbes this week has raised speculation that Australian software company, Atlassian, is contemplating plans that could see it directly challenge Salesforce and Microsoft in the CRM space.

Atlassian’s flagship offering is Jira software, which is used by developers to track bugs and development processes. Off the back of this, Atlassian has built up a base of more than 60,000 customers and according to financial reports, brought in US$457 million in revenue in the 2016 fiscal year. The company went public at the end of 2015.

According to the Forbes report, Atlassian has announced team support for its Jira Service Desk offering, which connects IT teams with customer service reps to allow customers to be grouped by organisation. It also offers project management capabilities. However, the reporter suggested this could make the vendor’s software more of a viable CRM platform.

The report quotes Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO, Scott Farquhar, saying that is indeed a question people have had, and that expanding its support capabilities to business teams is a focus. While they’re called service desks, Farquhar envisions them as primary customer touchpoints across a range of users.

Read the full report here.

GetResponse debuts small business automation proposition

Email marketing platform player, GetReponse, has officially taken the wrappers of its new marketing automation offering, aimed squarely at the SMB market.

The vendor already has 350,000 clients globally using its email marketing tools. The marketing automation offering features a drag-and-drop interface for marketers to make campaign decisions and actions and connect these to tasks. It’s also integrated with ecommerce systems and offers automation of various events, such as abandoned carts, purchases and repeated visits to product pages.

Users can also employ filters and rules to improve targeting and tag and score website visitors based on interest and intent, actions and types of products and services they’re best suited to.

During the three-month beta period, GetResponse said the marketing automation tool delivered 6 million messages across about 13,000 marketing automation workflows.

LiveRamp eyes off people-based marketing

LiveRamp has taken the wrappers off its new IdentityLink tool, aimed at unifying siloed data across offline and digital channels to help marketers build a single view of customers.

According to the vendor, IdentityLink draws information from a variety of channels, including direct mail, social media and CRM, accommodates the privacy permissions of each data input, then allows companies to on-board that data into more than 400 marketing platforms. The vendor is tapping into the increasingly popular phrase, ‘people-based marketing’, to describe how these data capability can then be used by marketers for omni-channel engagement.

“We are evolving our capabilities beyond data on-boarding to support the creation of an omni-channel view of the consumer, allowing our customers to greatly increase the effectiveness of their targeting, personalisation and measurement,” said LiveRamp president and general manager, Travis May.

“The challenge is that no one company- brand, agency, technology provider, data owner or publisher- has a complete view of the consumer. They all only have a piece of the equation. Identity resolution is at the heart of bringing all of those pieces together. This is only the start for us — we'll be extending IdentityLink in the near future to these remaining audiences, so everyone can work to deliver the best possible consumer experience.”

Helpshift aims to improve customer support

Customer support technology provider, Helpshift, has launched a new proactive customer support tool aimed at helps organisations use data to better deliver automated customer services in a mobile environment.

Campaigns for Proactive Customer Support does this by allowing customer service teams to start outbound communication with customers, rather than just the marketing function. This is based on data received from the app, in real time, about the customer’s app usage.

Through the app, organisations can identify cohorts of users affected by a specific issue, and notify them with a push or in-app notification.

“This new capability eliminates heavy lifting and allows brands to easily automate and customise outbound messaging by bringing together in-app data and smart segmentation,” said CEO and co-founder of Helpshift, Abinash Tripathy. “By being proactive and helping customers in real-time, companies improve customer and agent satisfaction. This is the inescapable future of customer service.”

ActiveCampaign raises US$20m for martech offering

US-based ActiveCampaign, a sales and marketing automation technology player focused on small and medium-sized enterprises, has raised US$20 million to expand its product capabilities.

The capital came from Boston-based growth equity firm, SilverSmith Capital Partners, and will be used to aggressively pursue innovations in customer lifecycle marketing and predictive modelling in order to automatically detect, predict and solve business challenges, the company stated.

ActiveCampaign claims it has experienced growth of 550 per cent since the start of 2015 and has expanded its team from 14 to 75 staff over the same period. Its platform incorporates email marketing, sales and CRM functionality and marketing automation.

“There has been a true disconnect between the all-in-one solutions of the past and the more modern needs of an intelligence-driven approach for marketing, sales, and customer success teams,” said ActiveCampaign founder and CEO, Jason VandeBoom. “I am thrilled to have found a partner that shares both our vision and our product-first focus.”

RadiumOne aims for Smart Links

RadiumOne is introducing Smart Links, a new tool allowing marketers to create a bespoke path via a link for a Web page or app for customers then present personalised content once they arrive.

The tool is aimed at helping increase brand engagement by better responding to the customer journey across digital channels. Leveraging deep-linking capabilities, Smart Links creates a more personalised approach to user engagement in three areas using the same link: Mobile Web content, in-app content; and app downloading.

Smart Links can be embedded across paid, earned, shared and owned media, including ads, social posts, hyperlinks and anywhere content is linked.

“By leveraging the combined power of RadiumOne's Mobile and Sharing Analytics to identify high-value customers and Smart Links insights on customer behaviour, marketers can improve customer acquisition and retention, ultimately driving increased revenue,” claimed RadiumOne senior vice-president of business development, Bob Hall.

iPerceptions buys Datacratic’s adtech suite

Canada-based iPerceptions, which provides research and audience solutions, has acquired Datacractic’s ad tech business for a disclosed sum.

Datacratic provides a real-time audience optimisation and segmentation suite, and has longstanding partnerships with adtech market leaders including Oracle’s Bluekai data platform, which allows it to push audience segments directly into its Marketing Cloud systems. iPerception said the acquisition bolsters its position in the machine learning and audience data space by providing the most accurate first- and third-party audience intent segmentation capabilities in the market.

In particular, iPerception said the deal increases the value it delivers to enterprise clients such as Dell, Comcast and Adobe thanks to better segmentation capabilities for retargeting campaigns, improving the website experience by adapting content based on in-moment needs, and increase live chat assisted conversion by triggering chat sessions with those users likely to buy or leave.

iPerceptions also plans to invest further in its active recognition technology and integrate this with the Datacractic adtech stack. The deal does not include Datacratic’s machine learning database, which will now operate as its own entity,

“Datacratic’s revolutionary work in the Audience and RTB Optimisation space will further complement and strengthen iPerceptions' offering,” said Datacratic founder, Jeremy Barnes.

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