Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Experian to sell-off email marketing business
Experian has announced plans to offload its email and cross-channel marketing business after reporting a drop in operating profit in its half-yearly financial report.
Experian CEO, Brian Cassin, attributed the decision to divest the email/cross-channel marketing business, which sits under the Experian Marketing Services division, to a review of its strategic options, a decision that will see it narrow focus back on its core credit services and decision analytics businesses.
“A key part of our strategy over the past two years has been to deliver sustained growth, optimise use of capital and to focus the Experian portfolio, a process which has resulted in a number of divestments and enhanced returns to shareholders,” Cassin said in the vendor’s financial statement.
“Our email/cross-channel marketing business has improved considerably in the past 18 months with significant new client wins, resulting in strong revenue growth in the new cross-channel marketing platform. However, we see fewer synergies between email/cross-channel marketing and the rest of the group than for other parts of our business, and so we commencing a divestment process for the business.”
The decision does not impact Experian’s targeting and data quality operations, which remain a core part of its group offering.
Experian reported revenue of $2.236 billion in the six months to 30 September, down just slightly year-on-year. Operating profit dropped 8 per cent to $510 million, while pre-tax profit was up 14 per cent to $520m. Marketing Services total and organic revenue remained flat. Email/cross-channel marketing is expected to contribute approximately US$290m to group revenue in FY17.
Experian joins a growing list of platform players to recently offload their marketing software businesses, including Teradata and SDL.
Tableau reveals three-year product roadmap
Data visualisation software vendor, Tableau, has revealed a host of product innovations for short- and medium-term release at its annual user conference in the US.
On the list of future functionality for 2017 is a new data engine, based on the Hyper technology acquired earlier this year, that will provide interactive analysis on data of all sizes while enabling fast data ingestion for real-time analysis. Tableau is also planning a new data prep product, codenamed Project Maestro, which will make it possible to prepare, integrate and manipulate data using a direct, visual approach.
Natural language processing is also on the cards, along with instant analytics, which will automatically provide contextual information to users interacting with their data to help them glean insights faster. In addition, new data governance and collaboration capabilities are being introduced, while smart recommendations will take advantage of machine learning to provide recommendations around workbooks and data sources that are trusted, highly used and contextually relevant to the user’s individual workflow.
Finally, Tableau showcased a new live query agent that will act as a secure tunnel to on-premises data. Again, this will be made available in 2017.
SDL’s marketing software division re-emerges as Alterian
As reported by CMO last week, SDL’s cross-channel campaign and real-time interaction management business is being relaunched globally following a management buy-out.
The new-look Alterian business takes its names from the standalone entity acquired by SDL back in early 2012 providing direct marketing software. The new company is privately held and will have offices in the US, UK and Australia.
HubSpot adds no-cost tier to marketing software offering
Inbound marketing management vendor, HubSpot, has added a no-cost tier to its marketing software offering to expand the number of businesses using its platform.
Marketing Free provides a selection of digital tools at no cost, including pop-up forms, contact insights, analytics and a dashboard for tying it all together. It sits alongside the vendor’s Marketing, Sales and CRM core platforms.
Marketing Free was announced alongside a suite of product updates by HubSpot. New features include the ability to create, measure and optimise Facebook ads directly in the platform, as well as a Unified HubSpot Mobile App, which replaces three separate marketing, sales and CRM apps with a single offering for integrated experience management.
Enhanced reporting is also designed to improve the way marketers view and interact with data insights, and a new visual workflow offers a fresh editing interface to users. Projects, a productivity tool, opens up better collaboration and ready-made project temples to help teams execute new tactics more easily, while content strategy sits alongside content collect and composer and is designed to help users curate interesting information, determine relevant and rankable topics, and create content while gathering feedback in one place.
Next year, HubSpot is also plans to offer new integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, as well as meetings tool, which allows a user to share a rep’s calendar through a link in an email or embedded on the company’s website.
Oracle completes US$9.3bn acquisition of NetSuite
Oracle has officially completed its US$9.3 billion acquisition of CRM and ERP vendor, NetSuite, heading off strong opposition from one of the latter’s investors to up the price with a take-it-or-leave-it deal issued on 4 November.
The deal was announced in July and sees Oracle obtain the largest installed base of pure-cloud ERP customers, expanding its marketing share and bringing with it almost $800m in revenue.
Finalisation of the deal ends weeks of conflict led by NetSuite investor, T Rowe Price, which had pushed back on the $109 per share offer, saying $133 was a fairer price. However, Oracle’s final offer managed to get the endorsement of 53 per cent of NetSuite’s stockholders eligible to endorse the bid on 7 November.
Forrester and Verint partner on CX Index
Forrester has struck an exclusive deal with customer experience management vendor, Verint, to combine the analyst firm’s Customer Experience Index methodology, benchmark data and engagement program with the vendor’s Enterprise Feedback Management solutions.
The exclusive deal is designed to provide organisations with a single source of truth to collect, analyse and act on CX benchmark insights. It sees Verint deploying Forrester’s CX Index into any EFM deployments, giving users scoring surveys to judge their CX Index score. Data will be analysed by Forrester, and scoring survey results will be displayed within the Verint EFM platform.
The CX Index is based on judging CX quality around three areas: Effectiveness, ease and emotion. It covers 17 industries and eight global markets including Australia. Verint’s EFM platform, meanwhile, is designed to help CX team listen, analyse and act on structured and unstructured customer feedback captured through targeted and personalised surveys.
“This partnership will have a significant influence on the future of customer experience because it breaks down the barriers that have always existed between technology and insight for industry-wide context,” said Forrester Customer Experience Index VP, Roxana Strohmenger.
“Organisations have previously focused on CX as a business imperative with technology as an optional layer to help surface actionable intelligence, but those efforts lacked awareness of how the business stacked up within its own industry.
“Together, Verint and Forrester and combining insights and data that better gauge customer experience quality, the competitive landscape and what to improve in an organisation’s CX program to drive incremental revenue.”
Magento introduces voice-powered commerce
Magento has integrated with Sundown AI’s Chloe artificial intelligence platform in order to provide a voice powered interface for its online stores.
Using Chloe, Magento website visitors will be able to get immediate assistance to their product or services question directly from their smartphones while navigating through one of the vendor’s online stores.
Chloe is based on technology that can automatically process a company’s customer service data in order to provide governance policies. When support requests come through, the platform’s policy graphs and machine learning algorithms optimise outcomes in order to try and resolve customer issues.
Core features made possible through the integration include a voice-powered interface, plus website navigation and voice commands to purchase products, check account or order status, and to answer frequently asked questions.
Magento has also partnered with open source content management system provider, Acquia, a deal which will see its digital portfolio integrated with Magento’s commerce solutions.
Integral Ad Science and The Trade Desk join forces
Demand-side platform provider, The Trade Desk, will integrate Integral Ad Science (IAS)’s pre-bid video targeting suite into its platform under a new deal struck between the two companies last week.
According to The Trade Desk, the deal allows its advertisers to gain fresh intelligence for informed programmatic buying, with the ability to target specific viewability thresholds, as well as suspicious activity and brand safety tracking for video ads. IAS launched the offering in October.
“IAS and The Trade Desk are at the forefront of digital advertising innovation, helping to reshape the quality of media transactions and the way they happen,” said The Trade Desk VP of enterprise partnerships, David Danziger. “Video is a sophisticated and complex medium for both buyers and sellers. IAS’s viewability targeting, suspicious activity and brand safety tracking ensures that our clients are continuing to purchase high-quality video ads in high-quality environments.”
TubeMogul launches attribution solution
TubeMogul has taken the wrappers off Ad Swap, a new tool that allows marketers to place placebo ads free of charge in order to better analyse brand lift.
For campaigns enrolled in Ad Swap, the vendor will automatically serve placebo ads to a randomised population based on the same attributions, such as audience targeting and site placement. These are taken from other campaigns running on TubeMogul’s software, meaning two different brand ads can serve as control groups for each other.
Once swapped, ads are measured for both the control and exposed group with the aim of eliminating in-market bias.
“Ad Swap gets us back to leveraging the scientific method for ROI measurement without the operational burden or cost normally associated with creating real experiments,” TubeMogul co-founder and CEO, Brett Wilson, said.
The new offering has already been tested by several clients including Hotels.com, and is available globally for free to those who opt in.
“By bringing an experimental design approach to advertising measurement and making it easy to implement, TubeMogul’s attribution product fills a distinct need and gives marketers better insight into what is actually driving value,” said Hotel.com senior director of online marketing, Steven Quach.
InMobi launches remarketing platform for mobile
Ad tech player, InMobi, has launched what it claims is the first platform for in-app remarketing in the US.
The platform allows marketers and app developers to retargeting existing users across the vendor’s global platform, which comprises of 1.5 billion mobile devices. For example, a retail app could retarget recently acquired users with custom offers to drive purchases, or a music app could showcase a carousel of trending bestseller tracks with the aim of getting existing users to sign up for more subscriptions, InMobi said.
Capabilities within the vendor’s platform include advanced ad formats such as video ads, dynamic audience build to segment and retarget mobile app users based on real-time, in-app behaviour and purchase history, and dynamic creative optimisation based on stock availability, price, user context and profile.
“App-to-app retargeting is a complex business and very few players have the right mobile-first technology to do this effectively, let alone at scale,” said InMobi co-founder and chief revenue officer, Abhay Singhal. “After seeing great success with a wide range of clients globally, we are excited to launch this platform in the US.”