CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 13 December 2018

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from HubSpot, AppNexus, Adform, Verint, LivePerson, Flamingo Ai, BigCommerce, and Animoca Brand

HubSpot launch HubSpot Ventures

HubSpot has launched HubSpot Ventures, a $30 million fund that aims to bolster and expand the impact of startups.

Through the venture fund, HubSpot will seek out companies that take the long-view on success by putting their customers first, investing in an inclusive company culture, and delivering highly differentiated products.

The fund will support companies that are dedicated to building long-term customer relationships instead of optimising for quarterly numbers or other short-term goals. Portfolio companies must, among other criteria: Align with the mission to help millions of organisations grow better, have potential to deliver unique value to the HubSpot community, be building a leading SaaS-based product, embody the values in HubSpot’s Customer Code and Culture Code, be raising a Seed, Series A, or Series B round with a notable lead investor.

After the organisation receives an initial investment, HubSpot Ventures will also act as a mentor. The portfolio company will be provided with personalised assessments and coaching from HubSpot experts to give them the tools they need to continue to grow better.

Verint launches Automated Verification

Verint has taken the wrappers off an Automated Verification solution to monitor the end-to-end health of communications systems.

Verint Automated Verification is a new, robotic process automation (RPA) application that brings to customers a team of ‘virtual engineers’ to help eliminate time-consuming and incomplete manual testing of communications systems. It does this by proactively alerting the organisation to possible issues, potentially saving weeks of time and effort often experienced with today’s manual processes.

The solution is part of the vendor's broader set of Workforce Engagement offerings.

“In many organisations, the contact centre is the strategic nerve centre that drives customer engagement and loyalty,” said Pelorus Associates principal, Dick Bucci. “IT teams have invested heavily in communications systems across multiple sites, including the cloud. The end result is a complex system that requires constant testing and monitoring, but it’s all piecemeal and manual. Verint Automated Verification can monitor and test the entire system—from the switch, to the audio quality in the handset, to recording, enabling the IT team to focus on more strategic initiatives that drive customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.”

LivePerson launches Maven

LivePerson, a provider of conversational commerce solutions, launched Maven, a conversational AI that enables brands to replace traditional websites and 1800-numbers with personalised conversations over SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google RCS Business Messaging, Amazon Alexa, and other popular messengers and voice assistants.

Maven enables agents working in contact centres to develop conversational AI experiences. This patent-pending mesh between human agents and AI makes it possible for brands to have personalised conversations with hundreds of millions of consumers, outperforming traditional websites and 1800-numbers on measures such as customer satisfaction and sales conversion.

LivePerson developed Maven using its conversational data set of billions of brand-to-consumer interactions. Maven operates as the brains behind new LivePerson AI-based products that brands use to create, manage, and capture the most from their conversations with consumers.

This includes: Conversation Builder, which non-technical staff such as contact centre agents use to design high-quality automated conversations; Conversation Manager, a console that suggests automated responses and next best actions to contact centre agents; Conversation Intelligence, dashboards and reporting which take the true voice of the customer — their direct discussions with a brand, spoken in their natural language — and turn it into actionable sales and service intelligence.

BigCommerce for WordPress integration launched

Ecommerce platform vendor, BigCommerce, has publicly released its BigCommerce for WordPress integration for WordPress.

This integration expands the ecommerce options available to the millions of merchants using WordPress by giving them the ability to customise and grow their ecommerce businesses.

With BigCommerce for WordPress, merchants benefit from streamlined channel management, access to hundreds of pre-integrated ecommerce apps, and 24/7 customer support from BigCommerce’s team of ecommerce experts. Additionally, natively embedding core BigCommerce functionality like cart, checkout, and account management, advanced promotional capabilities and access to more than 65 pre-integrated global payment gateways directly on a merchant’s domain allowing them to preserve the full site experience built on WordPress.  

Additional benefits include: Integrated content and commerce experiences, ecommerce scalability, native multi-site capabilities, enhanced ecommerce security, Gutenberg ready, and AMP compatible.

AppNexus offers fee-transparent SSP

AppNexus has announced what it claims is one of the programmatic advertising industry’s first fee-transparent supply-side platforms (SSP), giving buyers visibility into technology fees.

The latest offering comes off the back work undertaken for the past 12 months to build agreements with direct publisher clients to offer transparency of their technology fees to buyers. These now represente 82 per cent of transactions on direct sellers in the US and 58 per cent of transactions on direct sellers globally, giving AppNexus permission to make seller technology fees on each impression available confidentially to buyers transacting with the AppNexus SSP.

Buyers can currently view seller technology fees on the AppNexus platform through third-party reporting. AppNexus integrates with transparency partners that track transactions through the supply chain, including Lucidity and AD/FIN, as well as Amino Payments, with whom AppNexus was the first advertising exchange to partner. Through these partnerships, buyers are able to review seller technology fees on their spend.

In addition to partnering with third-party transparency companies, AppNexus is piloting a proprietary fee transparency report to give marketers and agencies insight into seller technology fees across the AppNexus SSP.   

Adform Australia opens

Adform has opened its first office in the country. The Sydney-based operation will provide on-the-ground support for many of Adform’s existing Australian clients, as the company supports the growing programmatic market in the region, which is worth in excess of $1 billion.

For Adform, the move into the Australian market represents many strong opportunities within an innovative, vibrant ecosystem. Led by mobile innovation, the Australian market brings opportunities for a large proportion of Adform’s existing business to develop in the region, and comes as a direct response from requests from many of the company’s global clients.

Aussie mobile products provider joins forces with iClick

Home-grown next-generation mobile products player, Animoca Brands, has struck a strategic partnership with iClick Interactive Asia to jointly develop an online marketing business serving the video games sector.

IClick is a China-based marketing technology platform connecting marketers with target audiences across online platforms. The deal with Animoca sees the ASX-listed company become a reseller of iClick, then analysing and monetising iClick’s data platform of more than 780 million users profiles. It’ll do this by tapping into its expertise in mobile gaming, blockchain, AI and international markets.

The partnership is expected to generate revenues of $8 million per annum for Animoca, diversifying its revenue based in the gaming, media and technology ecosystem and building its presence in China. An initial investment of US$2m is required to develop the media and advertising products and services required to monetise iClick’s Chinese audience data.

“By partnering with iClick, we aim to significantly expand the marketing and distribution capabilities of Animoca Brands in China. We look forward to collaborating with the largest independent Chinese online marketing platform, and to utilise this rare opportunity to leveraging – including through our AI subsidiary, Zeroth – the valuable data assets of over 780 million Chinese user profiles,”  said Animoca Brands co-founder and chairman, Yat Siu.  

Flamingo Ai launches AI for car insurance

ASX-listed player, Flamingo Ai, has launched MAGGIE for Auto Insurance, a cognitive virtual inquiry assistant that assists customers and employees with inquires related to auto insurance.

Pre-seeded with auto insurance knowledge and natural language text-based conversations and over 1200 auto insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and paraphrases, MAGGIE for Auto Insurance can be deployed within hours and configured to an organisation’s specific product and processes, without the need for technologists.

Flamingo Ai’s Machine Learning algorithms enable MAGGIE to rapidly learn from every interaction, becoming smarter, as well as providing analytics and deep insight into customer experience. MAGGIE for auto insurance can be used in three ways: Inquiry Assistant, Form Assistant, and Knowledge.

It's the latest in a suite of AI-based offerings coming from the Australian business to assist with customer experience.

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