CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 15 June 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Salesforce, ROKT, Cheetah Digital, Simple, LogMeIn, Jive Software, Lotame, Appboy, Acast and Ubiquity.

Salesforce introduces AI-powered account-based marketing

Salesforce has taken the wrappers off its new Einstein Account-based marketing (ABM) offering fuelled by artificial intelligence (AI).

The vendor said Einstein ABM brings together new and existing functionality into an end-to-end ABM platform for B2B marketers. Top-line features include lead scoring to automatically identify accounts most likely to convert based on relationship history and past purchases, as well as a nurturing solution, dubbed Engagement Studio, aimed at helping marketers and sales reps send personalised emails based on real-time buyer behavior or qualifying values.

Other capabilities include Einstein Opportunity Insights to analyse customer sentiment, competitor involvement and overall lead engagement, and Einstein Account Insights to help sales reps with prospect news, such as M&A activity and financial results. Marketing and Sales Analytics, along with Multi-Touch Campaign Insights, then allow users to rate performance as well as modify campaigns and activity based on insights.

 “Identifying the most valuable sales accounts to secure new business remains a challenge for many B2B companies. Often times, there are many decisions makers within a targeted account, and it’s hard to personalise engagement at scale,” said SVP and GM at Salesforce Pardot, Michael Kostow. “Einstein ABM redefines B2B marketing, giving sales and marketing professionals the tools they need to secure new business and growing existing accounts, all on one platform and powered by AI.”

Each of the different components on offer under the ABM umbrella are being sold either as standalone, or available as part of Salesforce Pardo or Sales Cloud Einstein. Multi-Touch Campaign Insights is the only piece not yet officially available, but is due for release in H2, 2017.

ROKT secures $US$26m in funding

Australian digital marketing company, ROKT, has secured US$26 million in a series B funding round led by a number of high-profile and iconic local investors.

The latest capital raising round was led by ASX-listed company, Moelis Australia, with Lachlan Murdoch, Greg Roebuck, James Packer-backed Square Peg Capital and New York’s Time Inc also contributing to the investment.

The $US26m consisted of $15m announced in February as well as a further $11m investment made by existing investors. The funds will be used to broaden ROKT’s offering as well as accelerate global growth.

ROKT offers an algorithmic-based solution aimed at improving e-commerce results by optimising customer journeys as well as monetising portions of websites being underutilised. Clients signed up to its native monetisation services include eBay, Ticketmaster, Live Nation, Gumtree, AXS, Dominos and Kogan. The company also works with performance marketers focused on acquiring new customers at the point of transaction.

“All of us at ROKT are appreciative of this latest vote of confidence from our investors," said ROKT chairman and CEO, Bruce Buchanan. “It serves to further step up our efforts, sharpen our focus and continue to execute flawlessly at the intersection of digital marketing and e-commerce.”

It’s been a busy few months for ROKT. In March, the company acquired calendar marketing solutions player, CalReply. It’s also been building out its management ranks with new managing directors in EMEA and Asia-Pacific. The organisation has offices in Sydney, New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Auckland and Singapore.

Experian rebrands to Cheetah Digital

Experian’s Cross-Channel Marketing business has been united with the Cheetah email marketing platform and rebranded Cheetah Digital.

The rebrand follows the sales of the Experian division to private equity firm, Vector Capital, in April. The business consisted of Experian’s cross-channel and email marketing products including Experian Marketing Suite, along with professional and strategic services. These have been combined with CheetahMail and Mail Publisher.

As a result of the new ownership, Peter McCormick has been named executive chairman of the board for Cheetah Digital, while Sameer Kazi, former executive vice-president at ExactTarget and, has been appointed CEO. Experian CCM’s global president, Matt Seeley, remains as chief operating officer.

“We are deeply committed to providing CCM’s customers with the same level of high-quality solutions and services that they have been experiencing for many years,” McCormick said. “We are confident that with our domain expertise and dedication to R&D, Cheetah Digital will become the leading, global SaaS marketing platform for the enterprise.”

The company is pitching Cheetah Digital Marketing Suite as a platform to help marketers build and optimise high-volume, high-complexity and high-performance cross-channel campaigns. Existing customers include Delta Airlines, Williams-Sonoma and World Vision.

LogMeIn takes aim at CRM with Bold360 platform 

LogMeIn has released a new intelligent customer engagement platform aimed at helping organisations build a 360-degree view of their customer touch points and contextual data.

The Bold360 solution is designed to build customer profiles and actionable data to assist customer service teams improve experiences. The platform includes automation functionality to create, curate and manage common service answers, as well as self-service tools and an intuitive interface, allowing agents to work across different channels while accessing the interaction history for all customers they’re assisting.  

Bold360 also integrates with business systems such as Salesforce and Zendesk, so that information can be directly accessed in the platform, as well as interaction channels such as live chat, Facebook Messenger and email.

“There is a significant white space when it comes to engagement capabilities of traditional CRM tools,” said LogMeIn’s general manager, customer engagement and support solutions, Paddy Srinivasan. 

“As customer expectations change, the old way of managing customer interactions will no longer suffice.  Bold360 not only helps businesses interact with their customers, but also builds intelligent and actionable profiles that help brands offer the right recommendation at the right time based on all the information about that customer – not just a small subset based on past interactions.”

Simple ups the ante on streamlining marketing workflows

Simple has added a number of new features to its marketing workflow management platform aimed at lifting the efficiency of marketing teams.

The latest additions include improvement to the vendor’s marketing work management system, Jobs, which allow users to request work using templates pre-populated with customised information and pre-defined approval workflows. Customised Briefs can also be created for each Job type.

There’s also new tools to track the time taken to get work done and approved, single sign-on functionality, and the ability to alter processes and add new team members mid-stream to lift collaboration.

“The changes mean marketing teams will spend less time asking agencies and creative teams to re-do creative work, facilitating the continuous delivery expected of brands these days,” SimpleHQ’s head of product marketing, John Craig, said.

Lotame and Cint partner up for custom insights communities 

Data management platform (DMP) player, Lotame, has partnered with insights exchange platform, Cint, to create custom research panels for extended audience insights.

Under the agreement, Lotame clients will be able use Cint’s technology to create panels of site visitors for tailored research, directly accessible in the DMP. Cint works with publisher to register site visitors who become panellists included in a pool sold programmatically to market researchers. Each panellist is compensated for completing a survey. On the back end, Cint then collects anonymised demographic data which is now being fed into Lotame’s DMP.  

“Lotame is committed to bringing our clients actionable data. This partnership combines our data expertise with Cint’s rich, first-party profile data that can be immediately leveraged,” said Lotame senior director of marketing innovation, Laura Lewellyn. “Our client base will be able to drive deeper insights based on visitors’ responses and increase monetisation from their readership.”

Cint hosts 40 million registered consumer panellists worldwide. 

Appboy gets Current

Appboy says its new Currents data export interface furthers its ambition to help brands unite technologies to deliver better customer lifecycle engagement.

Currents is a high-volume and real-time data export interface for Appboy that connects directly with data warehouses, business intelligence tools and data management platforms that sit in the marketing stack. The vendor said it’s been released to make it easier for marketers to seamlessly link Appboy to other systems while taking advantage of new technologies that enable real-time data streaming.

“Currents is a major evolution for the Appboy platform; one that really brings home the fact that we exist within a wider ecosystem,” said Appboy cofounder and CEO, Bill Magnuson. “It seamlessly works with a company's existing setup adding speed, ease-of-use and functionality.

“We wanted to build a tool that would help bridge the gap across teams and dig deeper into the marketing stack and the role it plays in supporting the strong customer and brand relationships that real success is built on.”

Aurea finalises acquisition of Jive Software

Jive Software has officially joined the list of Aurea companies following completion of the group’s US$462 million sale.

ESW Capital, through its affiliate Wave Systems, has officially finalised its acquisition of Jive, first announced in May. Under the agreement, a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Jive common stock was commenced at US$5.25 per share in an all-cash transaction, pegging the deal at US$462 million.

Jive provides a platform for intranet and customer community interactions aimed at helping organisation accelerate their digital transformation plans.

“This kind of deep engagement – where employees, customers and partners come together through collaboration – will be a critical driver to broaden the customer experiences Aurea delivers to market,” said Jive CEO, Elisa Steele. “It's been my great honour serving as Jive's CEO and I salute the Jive team who helped transform Jive to lead with cloud, drive to profitability and achieve record revenue for the company.”

Audio on-demand platform debuts programmatic ad marketplace

Podcast content management vendor, Acast, has launched a private marketplace for programmatic ad buying.

The marketplace is being powered by AdsWizz’s supply side platform, which provides advanced digital audio advertising solutions. Through the Acast Programmatic marketplace, marketing and advertising agencies, and brands will be able to programmatically buy audio ads on the more than 1400 shows and across 56 million monthly listens on Acast’s platform and covering the full international scope of Acast’s presence. These buys can be targeted by country and by iTunes categories such as sports and business.

“Acast has been working to close the gap between advertisers and audio content creators since being founded in 2014 and Acast Programmatic brings us one step closer to that goal,” said Acast chief revenue officer, Ross Adams. “Our mission is to use technology to make the podcasting and audio experience great for everyone.”

Spark New Zealand acquires Ubiquity

Spark NZ-owned big data and analytics software business, Qrious, has acquired marketing automation player, Ubiquity, for an undisclosed sum.

The combined entity will see Qrious’ data and analytics capabilities coupled with Ubiquity’s agency campaign services and proprietary marketing automation platform, ‘Engage’. According to Spark, the acquisition responds to the growing demand for analytics services coupled with digital marketing expertise.

Qrious CEO, David Leach, said overlaying Qrious’ expertise onto Ubiquity’s existing platform, and being able to natively embed advanced analytics and reporting capabilities into it, will create a world-class marketing automation and analytics solution that will help New Zealand businesses accelerate their data-driven marketing journey.

“Increasingly, analytics is becoming integral to organisational decision making and all aspects of business. Combining digital marketing expertise with data-driven intelligence in this way has the power to transform organisations by driving smarter and more personalised digital engagement with their customers,” he says.

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