CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 March 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from IBM, Salesforce, Emarsys, Qualtrics, Eyeota, Smaato, Freckle, LiveRamp, Nimble and InMoment.

IBM and Salesforce partner on AI

Watson and Einstein are teaming up, and IBM and Salesforce hope the pairing proves as smart as it sounds.

The two companies are working together to bring information from IBM systems into Salesforce’s products through a series of integrations. Under the agreement, joint customers will be able to combine Watson's insights from their unstructured data with Einstein's insights about information stored with Salesforce. That comes alongside other integrations that bring weather and application data into Salesforce.

Both Salesforce and IBM have massive customer bases that could be reached by this partnership. It's an interesting deal given IBM's historic strength in on-premises computing and Salesforce's cloud focus. Each tech titan has been focused on machine intelligence, so collaborating makes sense.

Connecting IBM’s Watson to Salesforce will allow companies to combine public information with insights on data they control, then bring those into Salesforce to better personalise product recommendations. According to a press release, one use could be collating information about local shopping patterns from Watson with precise customer preferences from Salesforce to send targeted marketing emails.

IBM customers will be able to connect cloud and on-premises data to Salesforce using a connector for the Application Integration Suite. In addition, companies will be able to bring weather information from IBM subsidiary, The Weather Company, into Salesforce using a new Lightning component.

Watson, weather and consulting services are expected to launch globally in the second half of this year. The Application Integration Suite connectors are slated for global availability by the end of this month. IBM and Salesforce didn’t reveal any prices for the integrations, but they plan to do so around the time the ship.

Qualtrics unveils experience management platform

Customer feedback measurement vendor, Qualtrics, has taken the wrappers off its new XM Platform aimed at tackling the wider customer experience management gap.

Aimed at doing what Salesforce did for CRM and what Workday has done for HR, the vendor said its new platform is the first solution designed to redefine the experience management category by helping users measure, prioritise and optimise the experience companies deliver around customers, products employees and brands.

According to Qualtrics CEO, Ryan Smith, the platform is about shifting the focus away from operational data to experience data

“For too long, organisations have been looking exclusively at data about the past—the operational data or ‘O data.’ Where companies fail is in not leveraging experience data, or ‘X data’,” he said. “X data is the human-factor data, the beliefs, emotions and sentiments that tell you why things are happening and that help predict what is going to happen next.

“While there are plenty of technologies to help companies manage their operational data, until now there hasn’t been a technology that makes it easy to capture and understand the X data.”

Emarsys offers up new integrations

B2C marketing cloud vendor, Emarsys, has followed up the debut of its artificial intelligence-based solutions with several new platform integrations.

New partnerships have been struck with Salesforce eCommerce, Magento, Facebook, Return Path, Hybris and Oxid, aimed at bring more data into the mix and improving the AI platform’s predictive capabilities, incentive recommendations and email send time optimisation.

Emarsys has also released two new products specifically integrated with Facebook and Return Path. Emarsys Lead Ads creates an automatic connection between brands’ Facebook forms and their Emarsys accounts, allowing them to capture new leads from any Facebook form directly into their Emarsys database. Emarsys Deliverability Tools, meanwhile, which are now in pilot phase, are integrated with Return Path and include deliverability reporting and tips to help marketers identify possible issues and optimise email deliverability at an ISP level.

“Progressive marketers now have the power to overcome the pressure by using AI, which will allow them to focus back on strategy, content and creative. This makes their job easier and maximises their Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI),” said Emarsys head of strategic partner integrations, Guy Hanin. “However, they need to be ready for AI. Choosing the right platforms, tools and partners ahead of time is fundamental, and will empower marketers to rise to aggressive revenue and growth goals by making their jobs easier and their marketing activities more effective.”

Freckle IoT gets on LiveRamp

IoT data supplier, Freckle, has joined forces with LiveRamp to make its first-party custom segments available via LiveRamp’s identity solution.

Freckle IoT operates an installed base of more than 50 million mobile devices worldwide, providing deterministic, in-store location data captured directly from opted-in users' mobile phones in real-time. Advertisers interested in custom individual in-store segments of the top 25 retailers from Freckle are now able to access these segments from LiveRamp's IdentityLink data store feature via many leading demand-side platforms (DSPs) and other media platforms in use today. Additional custom segments are prepared within 24 hours and distributed via IdentityLink to the media platform of choice.

"There has been an enormous increase in client demand for unique data sets. Freckle IoT's ability to provide a deterministic in-store audience, at scale, is rare in today's environment," said LiveRamp head of data partnerships, Luke McGuinness. "This level of accuracy and granularity enables our clients to get greater insight into their customers and to make smarter decisions with their targeting. This is at the core of what we are trying to provide at LiveRamp, and we are happy to partner with Freckle IoT on this initiative."

Nimble secures US$9m for smart CRM

Nimble, which offers a CRM platform for social sales and marketing, has raised US$9 million in its series A funding round to expand its operations. The Santa Monica-based business had initially secured $3.5 million in seed funding from early backers. The latest cash injection will be used to accelerate product innovation, strategic partnerships and drive customer adoption.

Nimble’s cloud-based CRM solution is designed for Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite customers and offers two-way synching with both platforms. This allows the platform to automatically capture all interactions and exchanges that occur within email, calendars and contacts.

Nimble has attracted more than 100,000 businesses to date.

"Today’s legacy CRMs are too complex and hard to use, and we end up spending more time maintaining data in our CRMs than letting our CRM platforms work for us," said Nimble CEO, Jon Ferrara. “Nimble lives where users work: In email, the browser, and on their mobile devices. Our new funding will enable us to continue to delight and empower our customers with simply smarter CRM features so they can effortlessly sell more.”

Smaato automates real-time mobile inventory search

Mobile adtech player, Smaato, has brought new self-service inventory features to its Demand Platform aimed at helping marketers automate and optimise ad inventory and traffic management.

The new Inventory Discovery feature and interface allows users to filter mobile ad inventory based on granular inputs like geography, device type, operating system, queries per second and ad format. This product represents the first release by Smaato since it was acquired by Spearhead.

The feature replaces what was a manual process to search the global, real-time mobile monetisation platform’s 450+ demand partners.

“We’re excited to unveil the Inventory Discovery feature as it provides new value to our demand partners, giving them power to seamlessly identify and target new publisher inventory for their campaigns,” said Ragnar Kruse, CEO and co-founder of Smaato. “By enhancing our platform to give demand partners more control, Smaato continues to close the gap between the demand and supply sides, which makes our overall offering more robust and scalable.”

InMoment launches new CX intelligence tool

InMoment has launched Discover, a new analytics tool aimed at improving how organisations bring together and utilise structured and unstructured data sets for customer experience.

Discover ingests, monitors and mines both structured and unstructured data and is designed as an always-on source of intelligence for enterprises. These data sets include customer and contextual data such as social reviews, customer comments, voice recordings and agent notes. It then surfaces insights in real time based on known and unknown patterns, trends and anomalise, and routes the information to nominated people across an organisation.

Discover is being made available via the InMoment Experience Hub platform or as standalone offering. Early customers onboard include UK supermarket, Tesco, and outfitters, Cabela’s.

InMoment’s EVP product, JD Nyland, has spent a lot of time heading up digital analytics solutions during his career and said the challenges of getting to the ‘why’ of customer interactions was limited because of the reliance on structured data sources.

“InMoment’s expertise in enriching and mining unstructured customer data opens up a whole new world of answers— intelligence—that has so much more value for companies,” he claimed. “Discover marks the beginning of our journey toward customer experience intelligence, one that will take us deeper into the hearts and minds of customers to help brands make smarter decisions across all areas of their business.”

Eyeota teams up with Adbrain for mobile

Audience data provider, Eyeota, has teamed up with Adbrain to extend its data from desktop to mobile.

Adbrain provides cross-device technology solutions and has a reach across 5 billion IDs globally. Its US business matches 80 per cent of smartphones to other devices and also has the ability to map clients’ first-party data sets. Eyeota meanwhile, claims to have 3.5 billion unique profiles across Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Under the agreement, Eyeota’s new mobile audience data will reflect behaviour across mobile app and Web environments and be made available to marketers via demand side platforms.

“Adbrain has a unique position in the market by being independent of media, which allows the company to be laser-focused on the quality of its data,” said Eyeota CEO, Kevin Tan. “Adbrain’s commitment to ensuring its data is of the highest quality matches our own. As more marketers continue to invest heavily in mobile, our partnership puts us in a great position to provide mobile data segments that help marketers take their campaigns to the next level.”

  • With additional reporting by Blair Henley Frank.

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