CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 14 September 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from Vision Critical, Adobe, Act-On Software, Mobile Embrace, AskNicely, AdRoll, AppNexus, Rubicon Project and SendinBlue.

Vision Critical acquires Pressly

Customer community management platform, Vision Critical, has acquired Canadian content curation, distribution and analytics player, Pressley, for an undisclosed sum.

In a statement, the company said picking up Pressley was about strengthening its ability to help organisations improve engagement across communities of customers and employees, by making it easier for internal stakeholders and community members to better insights and intelligence.

For example, new functionality based on the Pressly platform will enable community managers to efficiently compile and distribute insight to relevant stakeholders in a secure, accessible environment, ensuring customer intelligence is optimised and employees across the organisation have the tools to be more customer-centric.

“The market research model doesn't work anymore unless organisations can demonstrate to their customers that there is real value in participating,” commented Vision Critical CEO, Scott Miller. “Customer relationships are now impacted by every experience, and customers often feel that their contributions are not valued or even considered.

"With Pressly's technology, our customers will be able to effortlessly deliver engaging intelligence back to their community members, to demonstrate their members’ influence on the company’s decisions and to build stronger, long-term customer relationships.”

Pressly CEO, Jeff Brenner, said the two organisations shared a joint vision around customer engagement.

“Pressley was founded to help organisations simplify engagement among communities of their customers and employees to build better relationships,” he said. “That fundamental principle is one we share with Vision Critical, and we are excited to join the Vision Critical team in pursuit of that shared vision.”

Adobe sets brand sights on the car

Adobe has taken the wrappers off new analytics, personalisation and advertising capabilities in its Experience Cloud, all aimed at helping brands take advantage of the emerging experience opportunities in vehicles.

The latest offerings are all powered by the vendor’s artificial intelligence layer, Adobe Sensei, and include the ability for customer data across various touchpoints to be leveraged by auto makers and in-car app developers to inform content decisions around personalised playlists, on-route recommendations and audio ads.

On the list of new functionality is the ability to understand drive time behaviour thanks to an extension of Adobe’s Analytics to capture in-care interactions such as voice. Delivering personalised in-care content, meanwhile, is being made possible through Adobe Experience Manager, which now allows brands to design, manage and serve contextual experiences to in-care screens. Adobe Target then can be employed to optimise content variations for the care, with Adobe Campaign providing the platform to deliver messaging in the car.

As an example, Adobe said a car maker could deliver a tailored audio message for a new and customised lease offer.

Also new is the ability to serve targeted audio ads thanks to enhancements to the Adobe Advertising Cloud, which can be linked through to retargeting activities across other channels.  

Adobe noted the 10 of the world’s biggest automakers use Adobe Experience Cloud today, and said it’s working with these brands, along with ecosystem players such as the Automotive Grade Linux project, to advance new digital in-car capabilities. 

“In the automotive industry, in-car digital services are opening up new revenue sources and pushing brands to become true experience businesses,” said vice-president of Adobe experience Cloud emerging businesses, Amit Ahuja. “With consumer expectations at an all-time high, content has to be informed with data insights to satisfy individual preferences. As car rides transform into immersive, personalised digital experiences, Adobe gives brands the tools to be exceptional no matter where they engage the customer.”

Mobile Embrace debuts AddGlu

ASX-listed mobile advertising provider, Mobile Embrace, has launched what it’s claiming to be a revolutionary new mobile and online marketing automation platform.

AddGlu is based around capturing ‘consented’ information given by the consumer, then allowing marketers to access those leads to acquire new customers via online and mobile devices. Key features include automated optimisation based on permissioned first-party data and the ability to serve relevant offers and promotions based on consumer needs in real time thanks to performance algorithms and real-time machine learning.

There’s also heat mapping technology to analyse how consumers interact with marketing content, along with A/B testing functionality.

AddGlu is the result of Mobile Embrace’s acquisition of Vizmond Media’s marketing automation platform in 2015 and is a further step in the company’s plans to own performance marketing. Mobile Embrace claims more than 3 million transactions are now occurring across its performance marketing operations.  

Mobile Embrace CEO and MD, Neil Wiles, said AddGlu is about enabling businesses to secure genuine interested customers.  

“It is an intelligent and powerful technology platform that is the product of considerable time, dedication and commitment by a group of very talented people within MBE,” he said.  “AddGlu further strengthens our proprietary technology stack as we continue to focus on positioning MBE at the forefront of the digital performance marketing industry to drive growth and shareholder value.”  

Act-On taps performance with new insights tool  

SMB-oriented marketing automation vendor, Act-On Software, has released Engagement Insights, a new reporting tool for delivering real-time analytics into the hands of users.  

The new offering is designed to give platform users real-time access to analytics through a live data connection, as well as the ability to create pre-configured, templated reports in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets for exporting and sharing and view insights via a more easy-to-use dashboard.  

As an example, Act-On said marketers will be able to see email click to open rates and gauge top converting forms and landing pages with weekly and monthly analysis, as well as better understand content downloads as well as weekly and monthly peak download times.  

“As marketers, we must learn to harness the data we generate from our marketing campaigns and use it to fuel our future marketing decisions,” said Act-On CMO, Michelle Huff.  

AdRoll adds to ABM offering

Adtech player, AdRoll, is looking to take a bigger slice of the account-based marketing (ABM) pie, announcing an enhanced product aimed at B2B marketers.

AdRoll said it’s taking a performance marketing-based approach to ABM. Key enhancements to its offering are the ability to target individuals based on attributes such as job title and industry, as well as sync data across HubSpot and Marketo platforms. This allows users to connect ABM with their CRM in order to create targeted campaigns for key accounts as well as personalise ads using CRM data. On the flip side, the connection also allows marketers to more successfully demonstrate their impact on sales.

AdRoll ABM does this through the AdRoll IntentMap, an opt-in data set for advertisers that includes more than 1.2 billion digital profiles processed daily.

“With robust platform integrations like Marketo and HubSpot, marketers can not only create campaigns targeting their key accounts, but can also clearly see AdRoll's impact directly in their CRM to improve the handoff to sales,” AdRoll chief revenue officer, Suresh Khanna, said.

"By integrating more deeply with AdRoll, our partnership is empowering B2B companies to take inbound marketing a step further, revealing new insights to seamlessly access, enrich and target leads," said HubSpot Chief Strategy Officer Brad Coffey. “Customers can now see the impact of their campaigns, with access to both platforms simultaneously.”

New Zealand mobile feedback startup secures NZ$6.7m investment

AskNicely, a New Zealand-based company providing customer feedback software, has secured NZ$6.7 million to drive expansion of its SaaS-based offering.

The latest cash injection round was led by Blackbird Ventures, and will be used to fuel business growth. The announcement coincided with the release of AskNicely’s new mobile app version for iPhone, allowing users to monitor and act on Net Promoter Score results and data in real-time from anywhere.

“Great businesses are built on repeat, happy customers yet many businesses have no idea whether customers are actually happy until it’s too late.” said AskNicely co-founder and CEO, Aaron Ward. “Our mission is to help businesses grow faster by acting on customer feedback to increase customer loyalty, spend and referrals. Now, with our new mobile app, it’s incredibly easy incorporate real time feedback into the daily routine for everyone from the CEO to front line staff.  

“The ability to intercept a negative experience, or celebrate positive ones, is transformational for our clients and is now made even more accessible on our mobile app.”

AskNicely was established in 2014 with a mission to produce a lightweight method of collecting feedback that could integrate with platforms such as Salesforce, Slack, Hubspot, Zendesk and more. The company claims to have seen annual revenue growth of 350 per cent over the past 12 months, and has opened a new office in Portland, Oregon. High-profile customers include Jetstar, Xero, Deliveroo and Seagate.

Key capabilities include tracking NPS by product, team or segment, trends and leadership analytics, and the ability to monitor responses and reply accordingly.

New indy organisation for open source header bidding solutions launches

AppNexus and Rubicon Project have joined forces on Prebid.org, a new organisation dedicated to developing and promoting open source header bidding solutions and open source tools for driving publisher monetisation.

Prebid.org is a designed as a collaborative group of industry partners, open to all parties advocating for efficient monetisation solutions and a digital advertising ecosystem that thrives through fair competition, the companies stated. As opposed to proprietary technologies, open-source header bidding solutions are updated on a continuous basis by a multitude of industry players.

So far, the Prebid.org community has attracted 81 demand partner adapters, five analytics providers and 191 individuals to contribute code to the project. Those joining Prebid.org must commit to a Code of Conduct containing directives for header bidding wrapper mechanics, data and transparency and user experience.  

“The formation of Prebid.org marks a crucial step forward in the push for industry-wide adoption of open-source header bidding technologies,” said Rubicon Project chief technology officer, Tom Kershaw, who is also a director of Prebid.org.

“Today's announcement demonstrates a collaborative commitment to buyers, sellers, and the advertising ecosystem as a whole as we continue to blaze this trail of sharing and openness in an effort to promote continued growth and monetisation opportunities for all parties.”  

AppNexus product line manager and chairman of the new group, Michael Richardson, added that a fragmented header bidding landscape poses a great risk to the industry.

“Rather than independently competing, duplicating efforts, and wasting resources, we can push for fair competition and better results as a team. The collaboration around Prebid.org by industry partners has been incredible, showing it to be the pragmatic path forward,” he said.

New marketing automation player scores US$36m

There’s another SMB digital marketing automation player on the block scooping up investment.

SendinBlue, a five-year old US company pitching a digital marketing suite for SMBs, has secured US$36 million in Series A funding by sole investor, Partech Ventures. The startup company claims its suite fills a void in the marketplace for sophisticated tools that can be provided at an SMB price point. So far, SendinBlue claims to have reach across 300 million end customers in 140 countries and in 10 languages with more than 50,000 users on its platform.  

In the US alone, the company claimed a 125 percent year-over-year increase in new customers and project users in the US market to increase tenfold in the next four years.

Key capabilities of the SendinBlue platform include the ability to design, send and track integrated campaigns via email and SMS, and additional advertising channels shortly. The capital injection will be used to expand the product offering, expand the global footprint, and grow SendinBlue’s integrations ecosystem with third-party tools for workflow, goals and desired customer experiences. 

“This funding is a testament to SendinBlue’s unique position in the digital marketing landscape and will be used to further our momentum as we enter our next phase of growth,” said SendinBlue CEO, Armand Thiberge.

“Incorporating new, innovative marketing channels into SendinBlue’s user-friendly interface will empower SMBs to efficiently implement advanced marketing campaigns previously reserved for enterprise teams. With the support of Partech Ventures, we’ll execute our aggressive product roadmap to solidify our position within every best-of-breed marketing and advertising technology stack.”

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