CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 11 May 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from Jive, etouches, Podium, Zendesk, Outbound, Rocket Fuel, AppNexus, Ampsy and CabinetM.


Jive software picked up for US$462m

Community collaboration software vendor, Jive, has entered an agreement to be acquired by ESW Capital’s Wave Systems division for US$462 million.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Jive, which is currently a publicly listed company, will become part of the Aurea family of companies, and the software integrated into the latter’s customer experience management platform. Jive claims to have about 30 million users globally using its platform to connect and share information and ideas, with customers including T-Mobile, Schneider Electric and EMC.

“Jive, in combination with Aurea, enables us to bring customer experience and employee and customer engagement together,” said Aurea CEO, Scott Brighton. “We look forward to helping Jive clients get maximum value out of their investment with Jive.”

Industry pundits commenting on the deal suggested it was a positive one for Jive, but also reflected the end of the Enterprise 2.0 era of 2006 – 2012. In an article on TechCrunch, for example, principal at Deep Analysis, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, said the deal was a good one for ESW and Aurea, because it brought in good, albeit legacy, software and an engaged client base.

Read more of that analysis here.

Podium raises US$32m for reviews platform

US-based customer review platform startup, Podium, has raised US$32 million in a Series A funding round in order to support new product development for emerging channels and more applications of customer review data.

The funding round was led by Accel Partners and supported by Google Ventures, Summit Partners and Y Combinator.

The company said one of the initial areas of focus is an interaction platform to open up customer feedback via mobile chat apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, allowing brands to auto-send requests for customer reviews or surveys based on details in their existing CRM or sales system. The funds will also be used to expand the engineering team to help build a more comprehensive customer interaction platform.

Podium launched in 2014 to help offline businesses better get a handle on customer reviews and feedback. The company claims it now has 10,000 businesses on-board and experienced 600 per cent revenue growth in the last year. According to report on TechCrunch, it is expected to generate US$30m in revenue by the end of 2017.

Zendesk acquires Outbound.io

Customer experience management vendor, Zendesk, has acquired Outbound.io, which provides a toolkit for sending more targeted messages to customers.

Outbound helps further extend Zendesk’s customer engagement engine from support to proactive outreach, allowing brands to send messages via email, Web, mobile push notifications and SMS by building customer segments based on customer data, then proactively sending messages to those segments. Users can also deliver messages in real time based on a customer action or lifetime stage.

Outbound was founded in 2013 in the US with the ambition of improving the quality of messages marketers were sending to customers. Other features include built-in A/B testing and conversion tracking.

Zendesk said it plans to combine its offering with Outbound’s, creating a single, multi-channel solution for brands. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Etouches is acquired by private equity firm

The third acquisition in this week’s round-up is event management technology vendor, etouches, which has been purchased by private equity firm, HGGC, for an undisclosed sum.

In a statement announcing the deal, the companies said the investment will be used to help etouches significantly expand its business and further invest in its cloud-based offering in order to win a bigger slice of the US$6bn event management software and venue sourcing market.

Etouches has more than 1300 global customers including Lufthansa, Dell, Ikea, Volkswagen/Audi, Ticketmaster, Vodafone and BNP Paribas. The nine-year old company claims it has executed 46,000 events totaling 5.8 million registrations over the last 12 months.

“The HGGC team’s experience in marketing technology gives it a very sophisticated understanding of the opportunity in front of us as enterprises transition from single-point solutions to a suite of solutions that manage the entire event lifecycle,” said etouches CEO, Oni Chukwu.

Rocket Fuel taps Google API to fight malware

Rocket Fuel says its new adtech solution based on Google’s Cloud Vision API will help fight malvertising in the digital advertising ecosystem.

The vendor’s predictive marketing platform uses artificial intelligence, big data, blacklists and multiple anti-malware tactics to scrutinise advertising. By adding in Google Cloud Vision API, Rocket Fuel said it can further identify and reduce the number of ads that fail to render or click through correctly, as well as better protect consumers against malicious intent.

Specific new capabilities include text inspection using Google Translate to detect prohibited products and ‘clickbait’ ads, as well as assisted automation.

“Malvertising and those who perpetuate it have been a huge problem for the digital advertising industry for years,” said Rocket Fuel CEO, Randy Wootton. “Rocket Fuel is committed to the fight against malicious ads and by continuing to leverage outside technologies like Google Cloud Vision API, we can take even greater strides in protecting brands, agencies and consumers.”

AppNexus extends ad buying to digital long-form content

Programmatic adtech player, AppNexus, has extended its platform to help advertisers and publishers reach audiences across longform digital content including TV and film.

The vendor said the latest capabilities are aimed at assisting brands reach consumers as they shift viewing patterns from traditional linear TV to digital video. Using the AppNexus Console for Buyers, advertisers can target their buys on connected TV devices, including smart TVs and game consoles, in addition to desktop, tablet and mobile.

“Connected TV households increased 65 per cent between 2014 and 2017, and 10 per cent of TV viewing is now on these devices, per reports from the IAB and Nielsen,” noted said AppNexus SVP of video technology, Eric Hoffert. “As consumers increasingly cut their cords and digital video becomes mainstream, publishers can’t afford to miss out as advertising dollars follow viewers to digital devices like connected TV.

“AppNexus is investing in video technology to help advertisers target their audiences in these new environments and help publishers profit in this shift to online video.”

CabinetM debuts new martech management offering

CabinetM, which produces a discovery and management platform for marketing technology strategy and digital transformation, has released its new Enterprise Cabinet offering.

The subscription-based product is targeted at marketing teams and agencies and designed to help streamline workflow management between staff around planning, researching and management marketing technology strategy, acquisition and implementation.

There are five key components: collaboration architecture, a marketing stack framework, contract tracking system, messaging and reporting functionality that are permission-based, and an enterprise ‘SkillStack’environment to manage internal technology proficiency.

CabinetM CEO, Anita Brearton, said a lack of coordination and oversight is leading to escalating costs, security risk, inconsistent results and a ton of frustration around digital transformation.

“The CabinetM Enterprise Cabinet makes it easy to work across teams and functional silos to manage an enterprise-wide marketing technology strategy without sacrificing the speed and time to market efficiencies of small group, distributed efforts,” she said.

Ampsy and Find Your Influence join forces

Social media technology vendor, Ampsy, has partnered with Find Your Influence to bring together its analytics platform with the latter’s influencer marketing offering.

Ampsy offers social geofencing and analytics technology for analysing social content in real time, and has a client list including Jimmy Kimmel Live, American Idols Tour, Britney Spears, Red Bull, W Hotels, and AC/DC. Find Your Influence (FYI), meanwhile, has a management dashboard for connecting brands with influencers.

Under terms of the partnership, Ampsy will provide FYI and its clients with detailed analytics on fans who share social content in-and-around events and activations of FYI clients.

Ampsy and FYI will roll out the integrated technology and service throughout 2017 to major experiential brands, including at the 2017 US Governor’s Ball in New York City.

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