CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 27 July 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from Marketo, Outbrain, Alterian, HubSpot, Upwire, Oovvuu, Qualtrics and MaritzCX.

Marketo customers shut out after Web domain outage

Marketo’s CEO, Steve Lucas, has issued an apology to the vendor’s global customers after they were shut out of Marketo’s core application due to a failure to renew its domain name registration.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed that on the morning on 25 July PST, all Marketo Web domains experienced access issues with the vendor’s DNS that affected all Marketo instances. This issue prevented customers from logging into its core application.

The outage stemmed from an oversight to auto renew the vendor’s domain name registration for its main URL, This led to a series of issues which Lucas attributed to a combination of human and process error.

 “While the propagation of the Marketo domain started early on the morning of July 25, completion will vary depending upon local propagation settings,” the spokesperson told CMO. “We expect most customers to have access to the domains shortly.”

In his email to customers, sighted by CMO, Lucas said the vendor’s core application continued to operate in the background throughout the problem, and assured customers that data was never at risk during the outage.

“While our global support team in Ireland was working with our DNS registrar in the very early morning hours, members of our customer and partner community helped pinpoint specific issues that aided us significantly,” he stated. “While this does not absolve market of responsibility for this serious situation, I would like to thank the individuals who assisted us.”

Lucas said he has now commissioned a detail review of internal operating procedures on a number of fronts to ensure Marketo has fail-safe protocols in every area of the business.

Read our full report here.

HubSpot buys Kemvi to up machine learning capabilities

HubSpot has acquires artificial intelligence and machine learning startup, Kemvi, in a bid to help round out its CRM platform so users can better connect with prospective buyers.

Kemvi’s DeepGraph is a proprietary algorithm that analyses content online to understand what’s happening with buyers and prospects. Under the acquisition, the technology will be incorporated into HubSpot’s CRM offering to both automate processes as well as help with sales outreach through identification of new prospects and market segments, providing suggestions on how to create personalised emails and insight into the behaviour of end customers.

“Today’s consumers expect a personalised experience throughout the buying process, meaning that the modern salesperson needs to spend valuable time conducting research and tailoring each interaction with that buyer,” said HubSpot co-founder and CEO, Brian Halligan.

“Kemvi’s DeepGraph technology gives salespeople that added boost to better connect with their prospects and close the deal without getting bogged down in time-consuming tasks. We’re excited to bring this technology into the HubSpot ecosystem, and look forward to working with the Kemvi team to build even more tools to empower the modern salesperson.”

Alterian launches Chameleon

Alterian has taken the wrappers off Chameleon, its new-look customer experience management platform designed to facilitate more ‘adaptive’ marketing.

According to the vendor, Chameleon lets marketers adapt to customer behaviour and improve single interactions in the moment they occur. The technology offering incorporates access to real-time customer insights, campaign management tools, and a dynamic decisioning engine.

Key use cases include dynamically adjusting campaigns across multiple channels, real-time data mobilisation through API connectors, and what the vendor calls ‘adaptive identity management’.

“Chameleon’s millisecond marketing capabilities let adaptive marketers personalise messaging in the moment using fast and slow data to maintain relevancy across their ecosystem,” said Alterian CEO, Bob Hale. “These are dynamic omni-channel campaigns that leverage real-time rules to dynamically personalise messaging in less than 100 milliseconds, staying fully targeted on the latest state of each customer relationship on any channel. With Chameleon, we are setting a new standard for personalised messaging.”

Aussie company launches to tackle high-tech communications

Australian company, Upwire, has officially launched its communication workflow platform to the local market and is opening up in the US, promising a new way for brands to manage communications with customers.

The vendor claims to be offering the first ‘drag and drop’ technology for helping businesses build voice, SMS and email communication systems without coding knowledge. The launch follows a successful pilot phase with local and international enterprise clients and channel partners to automate activities such as outbound calls, SMS and email. Clients include FlexiGroup, QBE and Computershare.

Upwire claimed that through trials, companies saw a 250 per cent year-on-year increase in text messaging, 300 per cent growth in voice minute traffic, and a 500 per cent increase in business transactional emails via its platform.    

Upwire co-founder Ben Brophy, said the response to the platform validated a global market need for a simple way to build intelligent communications.  

“We’re seeing a shift towards technology based ways to seek information. Simultaneously, businesses are increasingly looking at ways to minimise operating costs, reduce their dependency on specialist IT skills, and improve customer service,” he said. “We built Upwire to address these needs after years of building enterprise communication systems through our previous company, Zync.”  

The aim is to create a cost-effective, simple way to access cutting-edge tech such as artificial intelligence-driven bots and voice biometrics, combined with familiar tech like SMS and email, without having to know a single line of code, Brophy added.    

Upwire will launch its US office in the coming weeks based in San Francisco with eight staff across account management, tech support and local general manager.     

Homegrown startup launches Watson-powered video on-demand

Another Australian startup debuting its latest offering this week is Oovvuu. The company has launched an IBM Watson powered video on-demand news platform to connect viewers with more relevant video and news content.  

Oovvuu connects video content from 40 broadcast partners, including ABC, BBC and Bloomberg, with the most read-news articles using IBM’s Watson to match videos with breaking news. Oovvuu’s technology platform, Compass, with the help of Watson, ‘watches’ videos and ‘reads’ articles matching them within media outlets, where they are seen by a billion people daily.

The vendor said the technology analyses articles as soon as they are published, “digesting” more than 300,000 articles a day to better understand what audiences want when searching or reading about any given topic, Compass can match up to 1000 videos to relevant articles in less than a second. 

“Global and local news moves fast and by using machine learning, AI and the cloud, we can match videos with breaking news, embedding relevant videos directly into articles in real time,” said Oovvuu founder, Ricky Sutton. “Moving at speed and adding value to viewers is the life blood needed to secure new advertising value for media organisations.”

Oovvuu is one of a number of startups receiving access to entrepreneurial services through IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program. 

Qualtrics debuts predictive intelligence engine

Qualtrics has debuted its predictive intelligence and machine learning engine, Qualtrics iQ, a platform it says provides a foundation for turning data into customer insight.

The vendor compared the technology to IBM Watson, and said the engine could process amounts of texts in seconds, perform deep statistical analysis and make predictive recommendations. The new offering was tested by more than 200 clients as part of a pilot launch.

There are three core components. Stats iQ is designed to provide automated and instant data analysis and taps into relate, univariate, bivariate, crosstabs, regression and modelling analysis techniques to do it. Text iQ uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to automatically group customer responses by suggesting relevant or related topics as well as assigning sentiment scores. Driver iQ is aimed at helping users prioritise key data driver variables and includes real-time filtering.  

Qualtrics iQ hunts down experience gaps automatically, predicting what customers want and helping organisations find and address issues before they negatively impact the business,” said Qualtrics head of product, Webb Stevens. “Machine learning helps automate tasks that were previously time consuming or impossible to scale, like analysing open text feedback or finding key drivers buried in your data.”

Outbrain buys Zemanta  

Content discovery platform provider, Outbrain, has acquired Zemanta, a Slovenian startup that provides a native demand-side platform for programmatic advertising.  

Under the terms of the deal, Zemanta’s platform will continue to operate as a standalone product but gains access to resources and finances to help grow the business and expand globally.  

According to Outbrain, the product’s ability to bid on advertising based on predicted user engagement made it a natural fit with its own offering. The vendor said that by using Zemanta’s One Native DSP, marketers and agencies can access the largest native supply opportunities in the world, spanning dozens of programmatic native networks and including large marketplaces like Yahoo, Facebook and Outbrain.  

“Digital marketing has grown on the strength of two important trends: Efficiency gains from programmatic buying and the effectiveness that comes with native advertising,” said Outbrain CEO, Yaron Galai. “By pairing Outbrain’s global network with Zemanta’s platform, marketers benefit from scale, brand safety, and user engagement all together in one offering.”  

MaritzCX brings behavioural science expertise into its platform 

MaritzCX says its decision to infuse its customer experience management platform with behaviour science research is about improving the results of brand CX programs.

The vendor has appointed Charlotte Blank as its first chief behaviour officer and formed the Maritz Field Research Collaborative in a bid to foster thought leadership, academic research partnerships and bring behavioural science knowledge into all Maritz companies.   

“People can’t always articulate why they do what they do, because so much of our decision-making is influenced by subconscious drivers,” Blank said in a statement. “The combination of CX data with behavioural observations can reveal insights to customer perceptions that surveys alone can’t provide. When you understand the ‘why’ of customer behaviour, you greatly increase the success of customer experience programs.”  

The intention is to give customers more ‘aha’ moments, said MaritzCX president and CEO, Mike Sinoway.

“By combining Charlotte’s leadership with decades of behavioural science research, our market research capabilities, and our advanced technology, MaritzCX can significantly amplify a company’s understanding of its customers.”   

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