CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 16 February 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from GMC Software, Rubicon Project, NewsWhip, ROKT, Alterian, HubSpot, Prezzee and Vungle.

GMC Software offers latest release

Customer communications management vendor, GMC Software, has rolled out version 11 of its GMC Inspire platform, promising 500 new enhancements and 25 new features.

According to the company, the new-look platforms is its first cloud-based customer experience CX and communications collaboration tool, and offers integrated customer journey mapping technology. This allows users to bring in third-party tools and data to make customer lifecycle decisions through a single Web-based interface.

The new release also features a mobile software development kit (SDK) to deliver customer communications as a mobile service.

“The new features and enhancements in GMC Inspire R11 address the momentous shift in the marketplace and in the CCM industry as a whole,” said GMC’s marketing chief, Tamir Sigal. “Today everyone within an organisation is being held responsible for creating the most positive customer experience possible. R11 enables stakeholders throughout the organisation to take part in the process of CX transformation.”

News Corp ditches Rubicon Project investment

News Corp has offloaded an 8 per cent investment into adtech marketplace, Rubicon Project, in favour of placing its bets with AppNexus.

According to a report posted on AdExchanger this week, News Corp sold off its 8 per cent stake, or 3.9 million shares, as reported in an SEC filing. Last year, the media giant invested $10m in rival adtech player, AppNexus, and also signed a master services agreement, which allowed it to switch over to the latter’s products or ad server as needed.

News Corp’s investment into Rubicon Project goes back to 2010. It’s also invested in other adtech players, most notably acquiring video advertising vendor, Unruly, in 2015 for US$90m.

Rubicon Project confirmed that News Corp had ended its investment into its company but said the media company remains a valued partner and customer.

NewsWhip raises US$6.4m for its new storytelling technology

Content analysis startup, NewsWhip, has raised US$6.4 million in a series A funding round to grow its storytelling technology offering for publishers and agencies.

The company’s technology is being across the media, marketing, and public relations sectors to predict trends, spot influencers and develop editorial strategy. It does this by analysing stories, social media posts and videos to identify significant of breaking stories, pre-viral content and emerging trends. Customers include the BBC, Washington Post, Edelman and MasterCard.

The cash injection will help NewsWhip to grow out its Dublin and New York teams and expand skills in product, machine learning, commercial strategy, marketing and sales.

“As we’ve grown, so has our ambition - we now recognise how much work we have ahead with integrating bigger datasets, demographics and core machine learning capabilities,” said CEO and co-founder of NewsWhip, Paul Quigley.

ROKT scores US$15m to accelerate global growth

Homegrown digital transactions software company, ROKT, has secured US$15 million in Series B funding to expand its global operations.

The investment round was led by Moelis Australia Asset Management, and supported by Time Inc, John Ho, Lachlan Murdoch and Square Peg Capital.

ROKT provides a transaction and performance marketing technology aimed at optimising customer journeys and improving monetisation of websites. The group has offices in New York, LA, London, Sydney, Melbourne Auckland and Singapore. Customers include eBay, Ticketmaster, Expedia, and Domino’s.

The new funds will be used to speed up growth by accelerating development of its technology, expanding its management team, international footprint and even acquisitions.

"This funding round is all about stepping up the speed and scale of ROKT's growth. It comes at a time when ROKT is experiencing dramatic momentum worldwide," said the company’s CEO, Bruce Buchanan. "It gives us the opportunity to build upon our dynamism as well as achieve more and better outcomes for our clients and partners.”

Hubspot and Shutterstock join forces

Social media management platform, HubSpot, has struck a strategic partnership with Shuttershock to bring curated images from the latter’s collection into its platform.

Under the arrangement, images will be made available to all customers running and optimising their marketing strategies directly through the HubSpot platform. Users can select and licence images as well as save them to file manager for later use.

"At HubSpot, we're all about giving our customers the tools they need to really engage with and delight their audiences in a more inbound way," said Brian Halligan, CEO and Co-Founder of HubSpot. "High-quality visual content is such a key piece of that puzzle, and we're excited to be working with Shutterstock to bring those valuable resources to our customers."

Alterian aims to fuel adaptive customer interactions

Three months after a management buyout from SDL, cross-channel campaign and interaction vendor, Alterian, is looking to position itself as the adaptive customer experience company.

The vendor claims the focus of its customer experience system is about allowing marketers to conduct both batch and real-time campaigns across channels, as well as tap analytical insight about their effectiveness and create audience segments.

“Our goal is to give marketers the ability to bring the rich history of consumer transactional data together with the real-time context of how the consumer interacts with the brand, providing a unique and consistent customer experience across channels,” said Robert Hale, Alterian CEO. “For many marketers, this is first time they can really seize the opportunity to connect data with customers – on customers’ terms – to spark an instantaneous, welcomed exchange and create a profitable relationship.”

Prezzee claims new way to provide corporate gift incentives

Digital gift card provider, Prezzee, has debuted a new business feature that allows users to buy and send gift cards in bulk via email.

The company says the new platform will help corporates with retention campaigns, consumer incentives as well as staff incentives. To do this, users upload a CSV file or list, select their preferred gift card options, and distribute in bulk.

Prezzee co-founder, Matt Hoggett, said the time and effort it takes to distribute rewards can be onerous.

“Let's face it, being more efficient is something everyone is trying to achieve especially when it comes to acquisition and retention campaigns,” he said. “Prezzee’s ability to send eGift cards via email also eliminates the significant postage cost of corporate gifting and the issue of lost gift cards.”

Vungle reaches US$300m annual run rate

Performance marketing platform provide for in-app video ads, Vungle, claims it has chalked up its six consecutive year of revenue growth, reaching a US$300m annual run rate.

Vungle serves up in-app adds on more than 500 million devices. The adtech company said its software development kit was now used in 40,000 mobile apps worldwide, growing by 125 per cent year-on-year. Revenue growth has been driven out of the Asia-Pacific region, and Vungle has chalked up a 400 per cent revenue increase in China since 2015. The company now maintains offices in Beijing, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.

“Companies of all sizes, from established brands and Fortune 500 businesses to independent mobile studios, have begun to adopt in-app video ads as an integral part of their customer acquisition strategies,” claimed CEO, Zain Jaffer. “And that's why Vungle is bullish on performance marketing. It's proven, it's defensible and mobile marketers spend more when there's clear, quantifiable ROI and lifetime value (LTV)—this has and will continue to fuel Vungle's growth."

Customers include Ubisoft, Honda, Google, Procter and Gamble and Nissan.

  • With additional reporting by Scott Carey

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