CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 13 April 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from Qualtrics, Verint, Sprinklr, Skyfii, Dashing Group, Teradata, Lattice Engines, Amobee and Turn.

Qualtrics raises US$180m, bringing company valuation to $2.5bn

Customer feedback management vendor, Qualtrics, has closed a US$180 million funding round, bringing its company valuation up to a whopping $2.5 billion.

The latest capital raising round was led by Insight Venture Partners and Accel with participation from Sequoia Capital, and brings Qualtrics’ valuation up by 2.5 times in less than two-and-a-half years. It also means the vendor is now Accel’s largest single investment ever.

Alongside the funding, Qualtrics announced it had brought on Atlassian CFO, Murray Demo, to its board of directors and chair of its audit committee. Atlassian is also in Accel’s portfolio.

The news comes off the back of the launch of the vendor’s latest Qualtrics XM Platform, aimed at managing four core experience points within a business environment – customer, employee, product and brand – via the one platform.

“We have been following Qualtrics since 2010. Each year, the company has surpassed aggressive goals and continued to stay cash flow positive. The company has even grown at an accelerating rate over this time, placing them among the best-performing enterprise software companies we’ve ever worked with,” said Accel partner and Qualtrics board member, Ryan Sweeney “From a revenue standpoint, Qualtrics is already the size of most public companies and there’s room for a lot more growth considering the large and expanding market in which they play. The interest from investors everywhere underscores the notion that Qualtrics is likely the best private software company on the market today.”

Qualtrics co-founder and CEO, Ryan Smith, said the vendor was experiencing rapid growth, propelled by the recent launch of the XM Platform. “Our investors doubling down is a huge sign of their confidence in the team and the amazing growth ahead of us with experience management,” he said.

Dashing Group debuts real-time shopper engagement platform

Dashing Group has brought a new shopper technology to Australia aimed at delivering real-time engagement insights to retailers.

The platform was developed by Darius Technologies, a joint venture between Velocity Worldwide and Hussman Corporation/Panasonic, and is a personalisation and insights tool for creating, managing, developing and measuring the impact of social interactions on retail customers. It’s pitched at supermarkets, convenience stores, fashion retailers and shopping centres and can be integrated with Beacons, Wi-Fi and electronic coupons in order to better analyse in-store experiences and the consumer’s path to purchase.

Dashing has also become the exclusive Australian partner for PlayNetwork, which enables brands to use entertainment media such as music and video, to engage with customers in-store and out. Headquartered in the US, PlayNetwork works with more than 400 brands including Starbucks, Marriott, Uniqlo, Gap, Hilton Hotels and Adidas.

Dashing Group also struck a deal last September with cloud-based shopper engagement technology company, ComQi, to distribute its platform, which helps brands influence at the point of purchase and in-premise using digital signage, mobile, video, Web and social networks.

“Dashing Technology has partnered with three leading global specialists to deliver the ultimate end-to-end digital experience for Australian retailers and their customers,” Dashing managing director, Russell Kavnat, said. “Attracting potential customers with personalised offers before they walk in and then engaging with them along the path to purchase, both visually and audibly, is crucial in the highly competitive retail environment. Detailed analytical data of the entire consumer journey also ensures that return on investment is maximised.”

Dashing’s client based includes The Athlete's Foot, David Jones, Food Co, Seafolly and Rebel.

Sprinklr targets customer experience management

Social media management vendor, Sprinklr, is working to extend its reach in the wider customer experience management space and launched a number of extensions to its platform.

The vendor has launched five new versions within its Experience Cloud umbrella aimed at five customer-facing departments: Marketing, advertising, research, care and commerce. The Experience Cloud was first launched in 2015 and designed at helping brands engage with customers via Facebook, Twitter and 23 other social channels. Clients using the core platform today include Nike, McDonalds and Nestle.

The New Experience Cloud for Marketing aims to help users deliver content wherever customers are and connect with advocates who can influence them, while Experience Cloud for research is about capturing and translating customer feedback into insights that can inform further engagement activities. Experience Cloud for Advertising, meanwhile, is aimed at addressing paid media planning, integrated audience management and reporting.

The five new clouds will sit alongside the vendor’s original Experience Cloud for Social.

“Disjointed data. Siloed teams. Disparate processes. Point solutions. Unintelligent technology. These are the all-too-common enemies keeping enterprises from delivering seamless customer experiences across their organisation,” said Sprinklr founder and CEO, Ragy Thomas.

“This led us to build a new class of enterprise software from the ground up with one purpose: to reach, engage, and listen to customers, across every customer-facing department – all on the first unified platform for customer experience management.”

Skyfii debuts Social Dashboard

Also aimed at the physical retail space, Skyfii has launched Social Dashboard, a tool for merging social analytics with in-store visitation numbers to better gauge the success of social media campaigns.

The IO Social Dashboard is designed to tap into social media data, such as that from Facebook to inform retailers of their social marketing impact, as well as audience demographic and behavioural insight, then shares these via a centralised reporting dashboard. It sits as part of the vendor’s wider IO insights platform, which looks at venue performance, customer behavior and loyalty and engagement.

Skyfii CEO, Wayne Arthur, said the vendor had identified the challenge around attributing visitation rates to online campaigns while working with a variety of leading retailers. “The Social Dashboard will provide retail marketing managers and owners of bricks-and-mortar stores with the ability to truly reflect their online social media efforts with campaign objectives,” he said.

Skyfii claims it has already on-boarded two large Australian shopping centres onto the Social Dashboard, including 151 Property (Strathpine Centre) with clients testing the reporting tool over the last couple of months. The new product feature is planned to be released across the remaining Skyfii portfolio over the coming months.

Amobee completes its acquisition of Turn

Singtel-owned adtech player, Amobee, has completed its acquisition of Turn, a programmatic advertising technology platform vendor.

In a statement, Amobee said the acquisition of Turn, now offers marketers an independent, end-to-end advertising and data management platform across all channels, formats and devices, as well as access to proprietary Amobee Brand Intelligence insights, advanced analytics and media planning capabilities.

“The acquisition of Turn underscores Singtel's commitment to grow and scale Amobee to become a global digital marketing leader,” said Singtel CEO of Group Digital Life, Samba Natarajan.

The unified platform is also designed to help brands and agencies to plan and buy media for specific audiences in a more integrated way across desktop, mobile, video and social media. Clients include Airbnb, Dell EMC and Lexus.

Turn was founded in Silicon Valley and provides a real-time insights platform for digital advertising planning and buying. Key features including audience planning, data centralisation, cross-device advertising, and advanced analytics, along with point-and-click access to more than 150 integrated technology partners.

Verint enhances the power of community

Verint Systems has taken the wrappers of new enhancements to its Community solution aimed at helping brands better address the sensibility and emotional needs of consumers and employees.

The latest enhancements include real-time presence and typical indicators, as well as the ability to use emojis and emoticons in online social communities, for marketing, customer service or employee engagement. Threaded comments and forum discussions, for example, allow users to vote up or down on comments in real-time, and sort by oldest or newest responses.

There are also new member and group management capabilities, private messaging enhancements via a new user interface, prioritised notifications and live update reporting, plus calendar improvements.

“Verint Community enables organisations to make better, more informed business decisions based on social interactions and data, and the valuable intelligence it contains to heighten social customer service, digital marketing and employee engagement,” said Verint GM community solutions, Jon Allen.

“Likewise, users benefit from the ability to more effectively collaborate and share information, advance customer self-serve experiences with the ability to find solutions in online resources, deflect support calls, and deliver better products faster by sourcing new ideas from customers, partners and potential buyers.”

The Community Solution is part of Verint’s Customer Engagement Optimisation portfolio that resulted from its acquisition of Telligent.

Teradata ups the ante on customer journey solutions

Teradata is looking to help marketers better visualise customer paths and simulate the impact of new campaigns in advance through new enhancements to its Customer Journey solution.

The updated offering allows users to access analytics, dynamic visualisations, tap machine learning and employ predictive simulations in order to better understand customer journeys and optimise activities accordingly. Specific capabilities include integrated customer path analytics, as well as communication journey visualisation to show how customers flow through a multi-step campaign. There are also visualisation for self-learning models to show the relationship between customer attributes and response rates.

A ‘Bring your own model score’ then allows marketers to inject third party or internally generated model scores into self-learning models to optimise the message for any given customer. Teradata’s Customer Journey solution is available immediately, worldwide.

“In this release of Customer Journey, we are putting more analytics into the hands of marketing, so they can build a deeper understanding of customer experiences and then proactively optimise related journeys,” said Teradata executive VP, consulting and support services, Dan Harrington. “Our solution brings together all the required technology, plus the consulting expertise to achieve faster time to market.”

Lattice lifts predictive analytics play with Dun & Bradstreet

Predictive analytics vendor, Lattice Engines, has debuted a new version of its predictive Insights Platform.

The new offering has been bolstered by a partnership with Dun & Bradstreet that allows the vendor to access the company’s global commercial database of 265 million business records. By analysing 16,000 attributes, alongside Web activity, intent data and more, Lattice claims it’s able to curate the most predictive information for a customer for information segmentation and better targeting campaigns.

Key capabilities include ‘fuzzy matching’, a capability powered by decision graph technology that enables companies to better match incoming lead and account data with buying centres in order to create more accurate scoring, plus more data elements, such as vendor presence attributes. The platform also boasts of enhanced artificial intelligence to drive better company profiling for sales, and auto ratings of leads.

“To drive revenue growth, it is imperative marketing and sales teams be properly equipped to have highly personalised engagements with their prospects and customers,” said Lattice VP of product, Chitrang Shah. “Our new platform capabilities support the need of CMOs to spearhead revenue growth, by giving their teams data-driven insights about their high-value prospects, and the ability to take automated action on that information.”

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