CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 11 January 2018

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from MathCapital, Skyword, Sprinklr, Act-On Software, Sitecore, Stackla, Sizmek, Tableau and Emarsys

New fund launches to support martech and adtech leaders

MediaMath founder and CEO, Joe Zawadski, and co-founder and former Undertone executive, Eric Franchi, have joined a new early-stage venture capital fund as partners looking to support burgeoning marketing and advertising technology leaders.

MathCapital is particularly focused on applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence to marketing, consumer advocacy and consent solutions, measurement and analytics offerings, and supporting new channels of interaction, such as augmented and virtual reality and voice-based interaction. The new company is operating out of New York City and plans to partner closely with MediaMath, a programmatic technology vendor, giving its supported startups access to that vendor’s 4500 advertisers, 350 partners and in-house business expertise.

The company noted marketing expenditure globally exceeds US$1.5 trillion annually, with digital marketing currently representing $230 billion of that spend.

“We are powering the next great wave of innovation in marketing,” Zawadzki said. “Our mission is to connect consumers and marketers in ways that delight both, and this fund will support the ecosystem that makes that happen. We will connect portfolio companies to MediaMath's technology platform and enterprise scale, accelerating their success, and moving all of us closer to our shared vision.”

Skyword banks US$25m to fund expansion

Content marketing software vendor, Skyword, has raised US$25 million in growth equity from Rho Acceleration to fund its market expansion plans.

The business, which was founded in 2010, provides content marketing software and services and claims to have helped brands publish more than one million stories, earning more than 1.8 billion visits organically. Customers include AutoTrader, GE Health, Groupon, HortonWorks, HP, Lahey Health and IBM.

The latest cash injection will be used to accelerate growth globally along with product innovation. Skyword has also set up a $5m working capital line with Cambridge Trust to further support its ambitions.

“We are thrilled Rho Acceleration has recognised that marketers must transform their approach from an ad-centric to a story-centric one,” said Skyword CEO, Tom Gerace. “This investment validates that the Skyword Platform, our global freelance network, and our companion services enable Skyword to deliver unmatched offerings to global brands.”

As part of the transaction, George Bitar, Doug McCormick and Mark Roehrenbeck of Rho will join Skyword’s board of directors.

Sprinklr debuts new automated social ad management tools

Social media management platform provider, Sprinklr, has taken the wrappers off Social DMP, a data management platform, as well as new predictive budget allocation capability designed to help brands better manage their social advertising spend.  

Social DMP will automatically organise, unify and segment unstructured customer data such as CRM lists, offline and streaming data sources as well as social sources including Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter, based on specific customer attributes. These include market trends, customer behaviour and paid, owned and earned social media metrics. Data automatically syncs and moves audiences into different groups based on actions they have taken.

The new predictive budget allocation tool, meanwhile, is being made available via the Sprinklr Advertising Cloud and is designed to help brands reduce campaign costs. Features include automatically distributing campaign budgets to top-performing ads, and setting custom KPIs and goals to trigger redistribution.

“Three billion people are connected on social with their real identities – there are no more strangers,” said Sprinklr CTO, Pavitar Singh. “Advertising is no longer about creating as many impressions as possible; it’s about seeing a real person with a real need, and reaching them wherever they are. With Sprinklr’s Advertising Cloud, brands can advertise to a segment of one like never before to deliver personalised ads at scale.”

Sizmek goes for full transparency

Buy-side adtech vendor, Sizmek, is now offering full transparency across its AI-powered platform, a decision aimed at providing better visibility, control and performance across media planning and buying.

The ambition is to give agencies and advertisers a clearer understanding of AI-driven campaign performance and cost by offering transparent pricing across its media, creative, data, technology, and service related costs. Sizmek said it hopes to set a new standard in the digital advertising industry, which is coming under repeated fire for its very lack of transparency as automated buying and selling ramps up.

“Agencies and advertisers are demanding greater visibility and control. They want their partners to move away from black box practices which hide true campaign costs and weaken confidence that media investments impact results,” said Sizmek CEO, Mark Grether.  

“There’s no question that agencies and advertisers value AI-driven insights, but they want full visibility in the process. That’s why we’ve decided to lead the industry with AI-powered recommendations for traders and AI-powered optimisation across the entire media plan offered with full transparency.”   

Sitecore and Stackla partner up

Experience cloud vendor, Sitecore, has joined forces with Stackla to integrate the latter’s user-generated content platform into its offering.

The new partnership sees Sitecore offering Stackla software with its Sitecore Experience Cloud products, including Experience Platform, Experience Manager and Experience Commerce. A new connector has also been developed to ensure integration between the two platforms and will allow Sitecore users to dynamically display user-generated content across digital marketing campaigns.

Data insights and content performance patterns tracked by Stackla are also being captured directly in the Sitecore Experience Database.

“User-generated content builds authenticity and trust and is an increasingly powerful tool in every marketer’s repertoire. It helps solve the problem of personalising content at scale," claimed Sitecore CEO, Mark Frost.

Act-On restructures, brings on new CEO

Marketing automation vendor, Act-On, has brought on a new CEO and chief operating officer and announced a restructure of its operations.

Kate Johnson replaces outgoing CEO, Andy MacMillan, and has served as the vendor’s CFO for the past three years. She is joined on the new-look leadership team by COO and former general counsel and SVP of business development, Bill Pierznik.

The news came as Act-On confirmed it was consolidating its US operations in its Portland, Oregon headquarters to ensure customer-facing teams worked more closely with product development. This will see both its Roseville and San Mateo physical locations shut down.

The vendor also said it plans to hire an additional 50 employees in the next six months to expand its product and engineering functions. All of these moves are designed to help accelerate growth of its SMB and mid-market offering.

“We see a window of opportunity in the marketplace, driven by the fact that marketers need more than just automation. We have determined that we need an immediate, intense focus on delivering product innovation to take advantage of it,” Johnson said. “This is a rebalancing of our resources where more investment will now go toward product development and integrating our operations, allowing us to leapfrog competitors and provide a marketing solution that anticipates behaviours, automates marketing processes and accelerates time to revenue.”

Tableau speeds up data query for faster data response

Tableau has introduced a new data engine technology into its 10.5 data visualisation management tools aimed at helping users generate faster insights for larger data set. The vendor claims Hyper will provide customers with up to five times faster query speeds and three times faster extraction creation. The in-memory technology does this by ingesting data faster as well as completely analytical query processing more promptly.

The new version release also includes Tableau Server for Linux and new functionality to embed multiple visualisations in a single view, as well as drag-and-drop power trend lines, a new Box connector, and updates to the Tableau mobile version. “With Hyper data engine technology powering the entire Tableau platform, customers will take their analytics performance to the next level,” said Tableau chief product officer, Francois Ajenstat. “Hyper brings increased performance and scalability to analysis, making data more useful at all levels in more organisations than ever before.”

Emarsys gets Playable on embedding video

Emarsys has partnered with video email vendor, Playable, to integrate the latter’s video embed technology into its B2C marketing automation platform.

The deal will allow Emarsys platform users to directly embed video content into their email campaigns, including live streaming and high-quality content with sound. Clips can run for up to 10 seconds and created in Emarsys Platform editors.

The partnership is the result of 12 months of testing and development and saw the pair testing the capabilities with customers such as Warner Bros and Red Bull.

“Our patent-protected Video in Email platform upgrades email marketing to the next level with its ability to significantly improve both audience response and engagement metrics,” Playable CEO, Bob Hitching, claimed.

Emarsys head of technology partnerships, Adi Topaz, pointed out presenting engaging and responsive content is high on the marketing agenda.

“Thanks to our partnership with Playable, marketers can now provide recipients with an immersive video experience at the moment of opening each and every email,” he said.

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