CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 30 June

All the latest martech and adtech news from LinkedIn, Razorfish, Zappar, CallidusCloud, ReachLocal, CabinetM, SharpSpring, Rover and SAP Hybris

LinkedIn goes programmatic

LinkedIn has launched programmatic buying as a way to access LinkedIn display ads.

Advertisers have the option to purchase LinkedIn display ads programmatically either through an open auction, if they’re already buying programmatically, or via LinkedIn private auctions. The social media company said the latter wanting to bring in first- or third-party data, such as website visitors or CRM contacts, will be able to target its audience specifically through the private auction option. Similarly, it’s also offering specific audience segments, such as IT decision makers, via its own offering.

The company said it is supporting the majority of demand-side platforms (DSPs) and agency trading desks, and has more than 4000 premium brands enabled to run across the site.

Razorfish launches data intelligence platform

Digital agency, Razorfish, has launched a new platform combining cognitive algorithms, data intelligence and machine learning aimed at creating more timely, relevant and seamless brand experiences across all touch points.

Based on artificial intelligence algorithms, COSMOS mines behavioural data in order to predict the needs, wants, and motivations of consumers across the customer journey.

The platform is modular, allowing organisations to either deploy the platform at scale or purchase need-based solutions that can be integrated with existing marketing and technology platforms. It also has the capacity to learn, reason and activate deep customer insights by introducing cognitive optimisations that drive loyalty, customer retention and experiences with a deeper sense of personalisation.

You can read the full report here.

AR and VR creation for the masses

Australian augmented reality vendor, Zappar, has unveiled a set of AR and virtual reality creation tools that it claims will help bring the two emerging technologies to the masses.

The Zapworks offering has been in development for the past five years and is designed to let digital creatives produce immersive AR/VR content experiences on mobile devices. It comprises of vertically integrated tools and a single user interface for creating and distributing content and gathering analytics and includes AR, VR, 3D model support, JavaScript actions, and single-click previewing and publishing, as well as the ability to publish VR content over the air without creating a standalone app. Three modules are being offered - Widgets, Designer and Studio - based on a tiered, per-seat subscription model.

To date, Zappar has produced AR/VR campaigns for several well-known brands including Rovio/Angry Birds, Coca-Cola, PEZ and Warner Bros.

“With this next wave of mobile occurring, we need to re-imagine what is possible and create more immersive content that is made for this new canvas – even extending beyond AR to short-form VR,” said head of Asia-Pacific, David Francis. “Our mission is to truly democratise AR for the first time and we are letting the entire ZapWorks suite loose.”

Gannett acquires ReachLocal

US media company and owner of USA Today, Gannett, has acquired SMB focused digital services group, ReachLocal for US$156 million in cash.

The purchase price represents a 188 per cent premium on the closing price of ReachLocal shares at 24 June and has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. It is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2016.

Gannett president and CEO, Robert Dickey, said the acquisition of ReachLocal adds more than US$320 million of annual digital revenue, a strong raft of digital marketing solutions technology, and a well-respected management team to the media company’s digital arsenal.

ReachLocal has more than 16,000 customers across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific and provides services around Web presence, search, lead generation and advertising. Its CEO, Sharon Rowlands, said the deal would enable it to drive growth and accelerate innovation.

“ReachLocal’s focus on local small and medium sized businesses aligns well with Gannett’s local-to-national strategy and extends our reach into new local markets,” Dickey said. “This transaction represents an important step as we continue to transform our business to meet the changing needs of consumers and advertisers in today’s digital world.”

New tool to showcase your martech stack skills

Want to show off your martech flair? Marketing technology management platform, CabinetM, is looking to help digital marketers do just that with a new tool for showcasing an individual’s martech stack expertise.

The Skillstacks tool allows marketers to visually demonstrate personal marketing technology stacks they’ve compiled as well as their proficiency level. These visualisations can be shared via LinkedIn, as well as embed a custom stack link in a resume or cover letter.

“With the shift to digital, marketing has become an increasingly technical function, making it imperative that marketers showcase their specialised technology competence alongside their marketing skills in any job search,” said CabinetM CEO, Anita Brearton.

The vendor said asking team members to share their personal stacks could also allow CMOs to use CabinetM to keep track and manage expertise across the organisation in support of their overall marketing technology stack and plan.

SkillStacks is the third product CabinetM has brought to market since launching in November 2015. The vendor also claims to have the industry’s largest database of more than 5000 marketing technology solutions, indexed across 100s of categories, and MyStacks, the first platform dedicated to building and managing enterprise marketing technology stacks.

SharpSpring adds landing page, blog building to marketing suite

SharpSpring has added to its cloud-based marketing automation platform with a new template-driven landing page builder and blog builder.

The company said the interface gives users point-and-click functionality to build landing pages and blogs without the need for a developer. Both capabilities are also being supported by the ability to easily add dynamic content without having to write code. This will allow customers to leverage existing lead data captured in SharpSpring and build pages and emails that adapt to visitors by displaying different text, images, and calls-to-action based on their attributes and interests.

SharpSpring is offering a library of templates tailored to seven categories of common business needs, such as product launches and event registrations. Users can also select from dozens of responsive page templates and hundreds of content blocks. The blog builder also comes with pre-built templates, as well as a social sharing widget and an RSS email syndication tool.

The landing page builder and blog builder are available in SharpSpring now, while the dynamic content tool will be available in July.

Rover offers up new proximity marketing suite

Location-based technology provider, Rover, has redesigned its mobile marketing platform for creating and running localised campaigns.

The vendor said it has brought together all of its location-based mobile marketing capabilities into an integrated platform with a refreshed dashboard and CMS. Key new features include a standalone tool for creating and managing beacons and geofencing, mobile messaging tools for push or proximity triggered messaging as well as smarter message triggers, a new natively rendered CMS, improved analytics reporting and overall better integration with beacon hardware.

Callidus buys Badgeville

Sales, marketing and CX vendor, Callidus Software, has acquired assets from enterprise gamification player, Badgeville, for about US$7.5 million.

The Ireland-based company said the all-cash transaction of Badgeville’s leading digital motivation offerings will allow users of its platform to better drive engagement with key customers and employees.

“Badgeville is the leader in a very exciting market,” said CallidusCloud president and CEO, Leslie Stretch. "Digital motivation goes hand-in-hand with cash incentive programs, and we have been partnering with Badgeville since 2012 to drive sales performance and enablement solutions. We will now be able to extend this powerful proposition to all of our customers across the Lead to Money spectrum.”

SAP Hybris launches more customer service capabilities

SAP has taken the wrappers off SAP Hybris Service Engagement Centre, an omnichannel cloud customer engagement solution for call centres it says will allow organisations to deliver contextual and relevant service experiences regardless of channel or device.

The platform is designed to combine unassisted and assisted service with digital commerce and help organisations respond to customers with recommendations, reviews, technical guidance or peer-to-peer advice before they convert.

The solution offers routing across all supported channels, allowing different agents to respond to customer requests while retaining the inquiry’s context. Service agents can respond to community posts, assist with online purchase decisions, provide updates on previously placed orders, create sales orders for new purchases, perform troubleshooting or create service tickets. This can also be integrated with support at the point of purchase.

In addition, there is pre-built integration with SAP Jam Communities for community-driven customer service, Q&A forums and commerce.

Accenture’s high velocity CX solution

Accenture is offering up a pre-configured customer experience management solution based on SAP Hybris technology through the cloud.

According to the consultancy group, the High Velocity Customer Experience solution can be rolled out in three months and will help clients implement and modify SAP customer engagement and commerce solutions to support omnichannel digital customer experience efforts.

“High Velocity Customer Experience can help improve sales growth by maximising customer face time and increasing customer retention and loyalty. It streamlines collaboration between sales, service, social marketing and digital operations across the organisation,” said Accenture’s global managing director of SAP sales and customer service domain, Chris Krammer.

“Combined with the digital technologies provided by SAP Hybris’ customer engagement and commerce suite, this can dramatically improve the customer experience through an omni-channel platform that knocks down silos and boundaries and consolidates and harmonises multiple data sources.”

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