CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 20 May 2021

All the latest martech, customer and adtech news from Salesforce, Taboola, Oracle, Klaviyo, Salesforce, SugarCRM, Twilio, GRIN, ADA and Styra

Salesforce joins the CDP throng

Salesforce has renamed its Customer 360 Audiences to Salesforce CDP and added new features.

The list of enhancements includes Tableau integration, Mulesoft integration, improved segmentation, enriched profiles with customer lifetime value and engagement scores, and AppExchange app integration. The newly renamed Salesforce CDP is built on the same data platform as Salesforce Sales, Service and Commerce clouds, enabling data to be shared across those systems, although Marketing Cloud is resided on a separate platform

Specifically, enhanced segmentation is designed to help users query data and build smarter audiences using an improved segment builder tool with type-ahead functionality to suggest new attributes as well as replicate previous segments. Mulesoft integration allows API external app and data source connection from sources such as ERP, loyalty and point-of-sale systems. The new-look Calculated Insights also aim to provide enriched unified profiles with metrics such as customer lifetime value and engagement scores, and allows users to rank or segment customers into different categories, such as 'newly lapsed customer'.

Salesforce CDP will also now enable customers to activate segment data via AppExchange apps from participating partners across Web, mobile and connected TV advertising.

Taboola and Oracle Moat partner on video measurement

Web recommendation tool, Taboola, has announced a collaboration with Oracle Moat Measurement, which specialises in real-time attention analytics, aimed at bringing advertisers new control, choice and transparency while working with Taboola.

Oracle Moat Analytics is now directly integrated within Taboola Ads, Taboola's media buying platform, giving advertisers instant access in the platform to Oracle Moat Analytics measurement video campaign performance, including impressions, viewability, completion rate and more.This is the first time that Oracle Moat has worked with a platform like Taboola to embed its analytics transparently and directly into reporting tools. This is also the first time Taboola has allowed an external third-party measurement provider to be directly integrated into its advertiser offerings.

Previously, Taboola collaborated with Oracle Moat to offer 100 per cent guaranteed viewability or completion for video advertisers.

Read more: Industry weighs in on Oracle's acquisition of Moat

SugarCRM adds AI predictions to marketing automation

SugarCRM is bringing SugarPredict to marketing automation to facilitate rapid and reliable marketing lead qualification and prioritisation through AI-powered predictive lead scoring.

SugarPredict provides predictive lead scoring using AI to analyse engagement and conversion data from Sugar Market. Previously available in Sugar Sell, SugarPredict is now available to all Sugar Market customers, bringing productivity and efficiency gains to marketing and sales organisations.

“Extending SugarPredict to marketing automation is another proof point for our value proposition of letting the platform do the work. Talking with companies from manufacturing to financial services, we hear the same frustrations again and again about the high maintenance required by their CRM. Our industry is supposed to make the customer experience easier to manage with technology. It’s time to make customer experience technology easier to manage too,” said SugarCRM CEO, Craig Charlton.

Twilio acquires Zipwhip

Cloud communications platform, Twilio, has struck a definitive agreement to acquire Zipwhip for approximately US$850 million, with the transaction expected to close by the end of 2021.

Zipwhip’s business texting platform enables companies to reach customers through SMS and is part of Twilio’s plans to strengthen its cloud-scale APIs for SMS, WhatsApp and chat communication channels for businesses to communicate with customers.

In a statement, Twilio Communications Platform senior VP and general manager, Simon Khalaf, said providing multiple, secure communication channels giving businesses options to communicate with customers on the channel they prefer was the driving force behind the deal.

“Messaging is becoming a preferred way for consumers to engage with brands, therefore it’s critical to provide multiple messaging options,” he said. “By bringing together the world’s leading cloud communications platform and a trusted partner in the messaging ecosystem, we have the ability to deliver more secure, high-quality toll-free traffic at scale.”

Twilio offers cloud-scale APIs for SMS, WhatsApp and chat and has been working to build out its messaging products, services and reach, including through new offerings such as Frontline and recent acquisitions. The most notable of these was Segment, which it acquired for US$3.2 billion in October. It also acquired Electric Imp, and Internet of Things platform company, in July last year for an undisclosed sum.

Klaviyo secures US$320 for data and marketing automation platform

Klaviyo, a customer data and marketing automation platform vendor, has raised US$320 million in Series D round of funding led by new investor, Sands Capital.

The latest round follows the company's $200 million Series C financing in November 2020, and brings the total value of the company to $9.15 billion and total funding to date to over $675 million. A raft of new investors participated including Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Whale Rock Capital Management, ClearBridge Investments, Lone Pine Capital, Owl Rock Capital, Glynn Capital, and Keith Block (former co-CEO of Salesforce), alongside participation from existing investors, Accel and Summit Partners.

Klaviyo's data analytics platform aims to help online businesses develop and nurture one-to-one relationships with customers at scale. It does this by applying AI and machine learning to pull in customer data, generating audience insights and automating and customising relevant communications, advertising and marketing campaigns. the platform integrates with several ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Stripe and WooCommerce.

The new funding will be used to accelerate product development, increase marketing and sales, lift headcount by 500 more employees in the next year and fuel international expansion by region and vertical. The company claims to have doubled its customer base in the last 12 months, and now serves more than 70,000 paying customers from small business to Fortune 500 companies.

"The bill of goods that's being sold is that you need third-party data and third-party infrastructure to be successful, and that's simply not true," said co-founder and CEO of Klaviyo, Andrew Białecki. "There's a different way to grow, where you can be an independently successful business without relying on the big ad platforms and marketplaces."

GRIN raises US$16 million

GRIN, which specialises in influencer marketing software for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, has raised US$16 million in new capital led by Imaginary Ventures, with participation from Good Friends Venture Capital.

The additional funding will allow the company to heavily invest in channel integrations, reporting, analytics and a new suite of tools to support the creator economy. It comes less than six months after GRIN closed an initial Series A funding round of $10 million.

GRIN is an end-to-end platform for brands including influencer sourcing, relationship management and sales tracking.

“We re-opened our Series A at a jump in valuation after hearing the enthusiasm from Imaginary to be a part of our growth," said GRIN CEO and co-founder, Brandon Brown. "Imaginary has a long track record as leading brand investors and our partnership signals our impact on the DTC market. This new round will help us tackle the painful problems both brands and creators face today and continue our rise into being the system of record for the creator economy.”

ADA announces US$60 million investment

In other funding news, analytics, data and AI digital marketing business, ADA, has announced a US$60 million investment from SoftBank Corp.

ADA uses proprietary technology for data processing, ingestion and consumer AI models, gleaned from 375 million consumer profiles on monthly basis. With this funding, ADA will continue its development of AI models, with the primary focus on precision targeting, invest in content analytics and automation of content creation, and also create data platforms to deliver consumer insights, predict consumer mindset and help business decisioning.

Styra raises US$40 million in Series B round

Cloud-based authorisation company and creator of Open Policy Agent (OPA), Styra, raised US$40 million Series B funding round, led by Battery Ventures with participation from A. Capital, Unusual Ventures, Accel, Capital One, and Citi Ventures.

Styra plans to expand Styra DAS with new policy-as-code use cases across the cloud-native stack and expand integrations with key technology partners. Additionally, Styra will expand its open source and developer advocacy team, ensuring OPA users find success at every stage of their journey. Styra will also continue to foster the community culture of collaboration and innovation that has made OPA so successful.

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