CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 21 July 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Zeta Global, Sizmek, Rocket Fuel, Marketo, Campaign Monitor, Freshworks, Integrate, YomConnect and DataXu.

Zeta Global buys Boomtrain

Zeta Global has acquired San Francisco-based Bootmtrain, an AI-powered marketing platform, for an undisclosed sum. The deal is the marketing platform vendor’s 10th in as many years.

Boomtrain launched in 2014 with a marketing technology platform based on machine learning, aimed at helping brands better understand and communicate with customers. Since then, it’s attracted more than 120 customers including CBA and Dow Jones.  

Under the acquisition, Boomtrain’s technology will form the personalisation engine within Zeta Global’s digital marketing offering, ZetaHub. Zeta Global said the deal also sees it holding one of the largest machine learning patent portfolios in marketing technology, and bolsters its global staff headcount to 1300 employees. Boomtrain’s HQ will also become part of Zeta’s Silicon Valley Centre of Excellence, while its Bangalore-based office represents Zeta’s third engineering hub in India.  

“We are delighted to announce the addition of Boomtrain’s world-class team and technology to Zeta Global,” said David A. Steinberg, Zeta’s Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO. “My co-founder John Sculley and I believe machine learning will fuel next-generation marketing technology. This acquisition accelerates Zeta’s already significant investments and achievements in machine learning to enable the world’s leading brands to deliver 1:1 marketing at scale.”

Zeta Global’s offering is positioned as a people-based marketing platform, leveraging analytics and machine learning to create omni-channel, people-based conversations between brands and customers. The company was founded by former Apple and Pepsi-Cola CEO, John Sculley, with David A Steinberg, and has been gaining plenty of attention from the industry and research groups alike for its growing marketing platform play.

Boomtrain is Zeta Global’s 10th acquisition in 10 years and comes off the back of a Series F Financing round in April, where Zeta secured US$140 million.Other purchases include the CRM division of eBay Enterprises in 2015 for US$80m, Acxiom Impact for $50m in 2016, and ClickSquared for an undisclosed sum in 2014.

Sizmek acquires Rocket Fuel for US$145m

Another adtech vendor on the acquisition trail is Sizmek, which provides a creative optimisation platform for programmatic online advertising. This week, it purchased marketing technology player, Rocket Fuel, in a deal worth US$145 million.

Together, the companies said they’ll service 20,000 advertisers and 3600 agencies globally in 70 countries with artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics, dynamic creative and media optimisation, making them one of the largest independent marketing platforms in this space.

Under the terms of the deal, a Sizmek affiliate has launched a tender offer for all outstanding shares in Rocket Fuel stock for $2.60 per share, valuing the adtech company at $145m. Upon completion, Rocket Fuel will become a privately-held company. The deal is expected to close in Q3, 2017 and already has the backing of Rocket Fuel’s board of directors.

Sizmek executive chairman, Dr Mark Grether, said the deal gives clients a self-service predictive marketing platform that optimises campaigns across the entire media plan.

“This is the next logical step in marketing automation – media optimisation and full creative optimisation combined, bringing together the context and the creative for the optimal consumer experience,” Dr Grether said in a statement. “The result is advertising that is deeply, personalised, highly intuitive, and AI-enabled for peak performance, redefining the boundaries of creative possibility and media execution.”  

The deal is a significant one for Rocket Fuel given its fall from grace since its 2013 IPO, Pund-IT principal, Charles King, told CMO.

You can read our full report into the acquisition, along with Rubicon Project’s nToggle purchase, here.

Marketo adds new functionality to Engagement Platform

Marketo has made several enhancements to its core platform, including improvements to account-based marketing capabilities, Web personalisation and customisation and real-time data-driven analytics features. 

The list of new features baked into the vendor’s Engagement Platform includes LinkedIn Lead Gen forms integration, allowing users to collect leads on mobile via pre-filled LinkedIn forms and sync data to the core Marketo platform. Web personalisation campaign enhancements, meanwhile, are designed to help with tailoring onsite experiences using new customer intent signals such as scrolling and exit.

On the ABM front, Marketo has rolled out custom fields and percentile scoring for named accounts, plus account list APIs to share named account lists with other applications. To improve its analytics capabilities, the vendor is now offering Marketing Performance Insights, real-time analytics and key performance indicator monitoring.

“Marketo is committed to delivering the technologies that will enable marketers to engage buyers across every channel and touchpoint at the speed and scale required to succeed in the Engagement Economy,” said group vice-president of product management, Cheryl Chavez. “This latest release includes many of the capabilities that our customers and partners asked for to help them listen better, learn more, engage effectively, and measure the impact of those engagements in driving revenue.”

Campaign Monitor looks for further Insights

Email and marketing automation vendor, Campaign Monitor, has launched a new suite of analytics tools to help marketers better gauge the performance of email marketing campaigns.

Campaign Monitor Insights is a new analytics offering featuring interactive dashboards and reports for measuring email marketing performance data, reporting on results and acting on insights gleaned from activity. For example, users will be able to see all email performance KPIs and subscriber engagement trends through the centralised dashboard, as well as product comparative reports on campaigns, journeys, lists, segments and geographies.

The vendor said interactive maps also drill into subscriber growth trends and engagement rates by geography, in order to improve campaigns through localisation and personalisation. The new insights tools are being rolled into the core Campaign Monitor platform.

Australian adtech player sets sights on US market

Australian behavioural advertising player, YomConnect, has established its first office in Los Angeles to help expand the footprint of its homegrown solution globally.

YomConnect’s software is designed to help brands understand and communicate with potential customers through predictive advertising via mobile devices. It does this through its media network, consisting of 143 million segmented customers primarily in the Australian, New Zealand and US markets.

“Our methodology is simple: Word of mouth is still powerful advertising. That’s why we focus on endorsed content views - trusted content endorsing and educating a brand or product directly to their friends or followers who engage with them,” said company co-founder and director, David Scopelliti. “We go even further - collecting a research sample at the point of advertising. This allows brands to optimise their future campaigns with any audience.”

YomConnect managing director and co-founder, Natalie Scopelliti, said, the company is working to maximise the outcomes for brands by combining research with endorsed content views.

“The result is more cost effective predictive advertising, and research data that brands can apply to all their media buys. This is tried, proven and scalable, and that’s why we have now come to engage with companies and agencies in North America,” she said. YomConnect is based out of Brisbane and works with clients such as airports, sporting franchises, tourism, financial and retail brands, breweries and entertainment.

Freshworks acquires eighth company in two years

Recently rebranded business software vendor, Freshworks, has purchased Joe Hukum, a software startup that works with businesses to build their own chatbots based on logistical workflows.

The acquisition is Freshworks’ eighth in two years, and comes hot on the heels of the purchase of Chatimity and Frilp, which the company said enhance its neuro-linguistic programming, artificial intelligence capabilities. Freshdesk was established in 2010 originally as Freshdesk, and rebranded to Freshworks in June.

Joe Hukum is just two years old and was founded by the same team that established two prominent Indian healthcare startups, HealthKart and 1mg. The technology offering uses a decision tree framework to automate sales, service and support workflows across channels and user interfaces. Under the new acquisition, the team will work to build bots on top of the existing Freshworks product, to enable workflow automations for demand generation, knowledge management and dynamic in-app self-service.

“We are seeing strong interest from our customers on how they want to leverage chatbots as they are looking for new ways to engage with customers on their web and mobile channels,” said Freshworks founder and CE, Girish Mathrubootham. “As customer preferences shift from traditional phone, tree based call centre support, chatbots offer a new support experience, while essentially solving the age old challenge of triaging customer enquiries and routing that to the right support agent.”

Freshwork’s list of clients includes Bridgestone, Avast, Cisco, Honda, Toshiba and Unicef.

Joe Hukum co-founder, Arihant Jain, added being part of Freshworks gave his team the ability to scale and impact hundreds of thousands of customers.

Integrate secures US$8m for B2B intelligence offering

US-based Integrated has raised US$8 million from a number of high-profile technology investors to help expand its B2B marketing intelligence product offering.

The Series D funding round brought total financing in Integrate to date to $35m. investors included ExactTarget founder and CEO, Scott Dorsey, Vitrue (Oracle) founder, Reggie Bradford, and former CEO of Responsys (Oracle), Dan Springer. The money will be used to grow sales and business development operations, as well as hire more product and engineer staff.

Integrate’s Demand Orchestration Software is designed to improve outbound demand generation and automate top-of-funnel marketing programs. It sit on top of CRM and marketing automation systems and filers leads flowing between the marketing database and adtech outputs, such as publishers, content syndication platforms and display advertising DSPs. Capabilities include managing all third-party lead, event and inbound data in one dashboard.

In a blog post announcing the investment, Integrate CEO, Jeremy Bloom noted comments made by Bradford about Integrate’s ambition: “Integrate has made significant investments in managing the complex flow of prospect data into the B2B organisation and now serves as the de-facto standard for this type of data exchange. I’m optimistic they will own the demand orchestration category.”

DataXu teams up with Teads

DataXu has struck a new partnership with outstream video advertising provider, Teads, to strengthen its programmatic video play.

Under the deal, the DSP said it becomes the first certified provider purchasing Teads Studio video units programmatically in the region, giving brand and agency customers access to new video ad formats that can be delivered across devices and reported on in real-time via the DataXu platform.

The list includes Tead’s inread formats such as scroller, 360, Skin, live and Sing. Teads Studio is the new-look offering formerly known as Brainient, which Teads acquired in 2016.

“By allowing advertisers to buy Teads Studio video units programmatically, we’re opening up a new opportunity to incorporate these custom units into a variety of media plans,” said Teads CEO and group CMO, Emi Gal.

DataXu VP and general manager of Asia-Pacific, James Sampson, said the partnership was particularly targeted at marketers gearing up to increase video spend who are held back by a lack of premium video inventory.    

“This development allows us to bring our expertise in programmatic video advertising to the region, so that we may continue providing the best tools for organisations to optimally engage and measure their omni-channel consumers,” he said.  

DataXu also launched its Validated Inventory Marketplace this week, designed to give advertisers piece of mind around the authenticity of ad inventory. The marketplace is comprised of publishers and authorised resellers monitored by technology and curated by DataXu’s media supply chain quality staff.    

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