CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 21 Apr

This week's top martech and ad tech news stories from Oracle, Touchpoint Group, Act-On software, Open Text, Mobify, Plattar, MediaMath, Eyeota, Grapeshot, Lotame and Segmint.

Oracle purchases Crosswire for reported US$50m

Oracle has acquired Israeli-based marketing technology firm, Crosswire, for a reported US$50 million.

Crosswire is one of many startups now leveraging machine learning on cross-device data, including website, GPS signals, operating systems, IP addresses and Wi-Fi networks, in order to help marketers track messages across channels and devices. The vendor also offers some personalisation tools and analytics.

The company launched in 2015 and had already raised $5m in funding.

In an online letter to customers and partners, Oracle’s senior VP and GM of data cloud, Omar Tawakol, confirmed the agreement and said uniting identity across multiple digital devices has become one of the critical challenges for marketers.

“The addition of Crosswise further broadens the Oracle ID Graph to construct a complete view of consumers' digital interactions across multiple devices,” he stated. “The Crosswise team brings significant knowledge and a rich pedigree of data science to Oracle and will further extend the value Oracle Data Cloud brings to the market and to its customers.”

Aussie company launches AI for customer insight

A home grown tech company is launching a new artificial intelligence program it claims will help companies better understand customer behaviours.

Touchpoint Group’s Ipiphany offering uses cognitive analytics to simultaneously learn from combinations of customer information collected via text, machine learning and natural language processing. The program was launched following a three-year cognitive behaviour research project by data scientists in Australia and New Zealand aimed at developing a cloud-based solution that can deliver better, faster and cheaper insight compared to traditional research methodologies.

Touchpoint already offers customer engagement software and has a particularly strong emphasis in banking and financial services companies. Its CEO, Frank van der Velden, said Ipiphany was inspired by how the human brain processes information, draws conclusions and brings instinct and experience into learning.

“Many AIs struggle with understanding the sometimes conflicting and complex relationship between different kinds of customer interactions, particularly in large volumes,” he said. “In the past, this information has had to be sampled and independently processed, however because of our research work Ipiphany is able to synthesize any combination of structured, unstructured and verbatim information.”

Using Ipiphany, possible answers are expressed as recommendations for improvement, along with its self-assessed prediction of what the business impact of the improvement will be, van der Velden said. Examples of how to use the AI solution include root cause analysis, product modelling, and channel effectiveness.

Act-On introduces integrated workspace

Act-On Software has released its integrated workspace offering, aimed at extending the use of marketing automation capabilities from demand generation into brand and customer marketing.

The vendor said it’s now looking to apply marketing automation functionality including segmentation, scoring and nurturing, to other areas beyond acquisition marketing, including influencer relations, human resources, customer retention and customer advocacy.

On the influencer front, key functions include the ability to track and score press, analysts and bloggers through digital insights, press release attribution, automated event workflow management, and new ways to create and execute internal newsletters and emails while tracking employee engagement.

For customer marketing, Act-On has launched new customer on-boardingfeatures to allow marketers to refine and automate with 30-, 60-, and 90-day on-boarding drip programs. There’s also a new feature promotional tool, satisfaction surveys, the ability to score customer engagement and around advocacy/loyalty, as well as measure product consumption then trigger communications based on features and non-feature usage.

Mobify acquires B2B machine learning vendor

Mobile marketing management vendor, Mobify, has acquired Pathful, a provider of advanced machine learning-based technology for behaviour-based targeting in the B2B and retail space, for an undisclosed sum.

Pathful was founded in 2011 and aims to help its customers understand how visitors interact with content and act on those insights. To do this, it captures micro Web interactions as well as with mobile and desktop devices, then uses machine learning algorithms to generate customer insights to surface suitable content to that online user.

Under the deal, the technology will be integrated with Mobify's Mobile Customer Engagement Platform, which includes content marketing and marketing automation functionality. Pathful's co-founders, Boris Lau and Campbell Macdonald, have also joined Mobify.

“With more insights into the needs and wants of online and retail audiences, Pathful's advanced machine learning technology makes intelligent mobile marketing automation a breeze,” said Mobify CEO, Igor Faletski.

Pathful is Mobify's second recent acquisition, following its purchase of Dónde, a Chicago-based provider of location-aware mobile technology in December.

News Corp joins funding round in augmented reality creator

Local augmented reality (AR) startup, Plattar, has closed a $1.1 million seed investment round, led by News Corporation.

Established in 2015, Plattar is a software-as-a-service platform that aims to help brands, publishers and agencies to create, manage and distribute AR content in a more simplified, cost-­effective way. The platform comprises a template driven app builder and content management system, and can deploy AR content to any device.

Plattar has established a bluechip early client base in Australia, New Zealand and the US that includes Fortune 500 and ASX 100 companies. The offering is currently in private beta.

Plattar CEO, Rupert Deans, said funds will be used to accelerate growth by expanding its product development capability as well as marketing activity.

“Augmented reality is a major component of the next wave of consumer engagement, and we are excited to be bringing this capability to News,” said News Corp Australia chief technology officer, Alisa Bowen. The investment is the media group’s first ever seed investment.

"Working with Rupert [Deans], Steve and the Plattar team on a partnership with REA Group and Ray White in February confirmed the huge potential in the platform, and we will be looking to integrate AR and Plattar across many more of our publications.”

Open Text buys HP customer experience software assets

Enterprise information management vendor, Open Text, is acquiring a set of customer experience software and services assets from HP in a deal worth US$170 million.

The deal includes HP TeamSite, the vendor’s modern multi-channel digital experience management platform for Web content management; HP MediaBin, a digital asset management solution; HP Qfiniti, an intelligent workforce optimisation solution designed to improve enterprise contact centre management; as well as HP Explore, HP Aurasma, and HP Optimost.

Open Text said all of the new functionality complements its current software portfolio, particularly its customer experience management and cloud offerings. Under the arrangement, Open Text will also take on select employees and said it will work with partners once the transaction has closed.

MediaMath unveils new Marketing Institute

Ad tech player, MediaMath, is hoping to advance industry knowledge around programmatic in Asia-Pacific with a New Marketing Institute (NMI) providing education and training services.

From April, the institute will offer modular courses and certification programs around programmatic techniques and technologies, firstly through a classroom training program in Singapore, as well as live online courses accessible to all markets. Courses start from basic-level digital marketing through to advanced modules build around MediaMath’s TerminOne platform and omni-channel certification.

“Newer advertising practices and rapid advancements in data and media technologies, especially programmatic, are regularly disrupting the industry,” said MediaMath managing director for Asia-Pacific, Rahul Vasudev.

“However, during this constant evolution process, media and marketing professionals have very few avenues to stay abreast of the changing ecosystem. This is creating a significant talent gap in the industry. By establishing NMI in APAC, MediaMath is committed to giving back to the industry and helping grow the entire space.”

The launch comes off the back of similar initiatives by MediaMath globally. To date, NMI has trained more than 9000 professionals globally.

Eyeota and Grapeshot join forces

Local audience data vendor, Eyeota, has struck a partnership with Grapeshot to bring the latter’s data provisioning for advertising targeting capabilities into its audience marketplace.

The deal sees Eyeota launch new Grapeshot audience segments in its Data Marketplace, giving advertisers the ability to find and target audiences based on the content they have recently read. Grapeshot’s segments will be matched against more than 1.8 billion data profiles managed by Eyeota.

To do this, Grapeshot deploys a page crawling algorithm to identify the keywords on a page that signifies the content meaning. It then takes a reader of the page and allocates them to an audience segment, enabling advertisers to target a relevant message to them, wherever and whenever they are seen again.

The audience data segments will be available to advertisers via Eyeota across the following platforms: AOL Platforms, Adap.TV, Adform, Adobe, Aggregate Knowledge, AppNexus, Audience Science, DataXu, Google DoubleClick, Krux, Lotame, TheTradeDesk, TubeMogul, Videology, Turn, RadiumOne and Rocket Fuel.

Lotame partners with Kantar Shopcom

Fellow DMP, Lotame, is also looking to boost its audience segmentation offering via a new partnership with Kantar Shopcom.

The deal sees the data management platform vendor and Kantar offer combined audience segments in the consumer packaged goods space, which they claim encompass data from 95 per cent of total US CPG spend and showcase actual purchase behaviour. The audiences have been created by data collections house, IRI, and have been named ‘Shopcom IRI CPG Audiences powered by IRI ProScores’. The audiences are available in a variety of DSPs.

Kantar offers a data platform that uses proprietary analytics to provide actionable insights to retailers. Its database include shoppers from frequent flyer programs, purchase data from IRI and point-of-sales data.

“In 2015, the CPG category was the second-largest sector for programmatic buying, with eMarketer estimating that 63 per cent of digital display ads among advertisers in that industry being purchased programmatically,” said Lotame general manager of data solutions, Jason Downie. “There are many industry data buyers that are excited to get this data and enrich their campaigns, and Lotame is thrilled to be the partner making it available for marketers and agencies.”

Segmint picks up pace with data-driven marketing platform

US-based cross-channel marketing platform vendor, Segmint, has announced a slew of new capabilities in its SegmintOne platform.

New features include control group functions and A/B testing, real-time data analysis capabilities and business intelligence dashboards including customisable filters and visualisation functionality.

The vendor is also offering up what it calls ‘Intent key lifestyle indicators’ to maximise cross-sell and customer engagement. The platform assigns these KLIs to each anonymised customer based on their products, activities, interests, channel preferences, spending habits and more. These are then used as real-time triggers to deliver personalised messages to each individual.

SegmintOne is primarily targeted at the financial services sector.

“With analytics at their core, these enhanced products help CMOs improve the success of banks’ marketing campaigns and can inform their marketing spend,” said Segmint president and CEO, Rob Heiser.

“We developed these solutions after listening to our partners desire to provide the next generation of banking through KLIs serving as real-time triggers for delivering a highly personalised, truly tailored banking and payments experience.”

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