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

All the latest martech, adtech and customer technology news from Outbrain, Medallia, The Trade Desk, Slack, Hopin, Clara, Slack and Yellowfin.

Outbrain plans IPO, secures US$200m

Just days after filing its registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to kickstart the IPO process, Outbrain has secured a US$200 million investment.

The content recommendation platform filed its IPO papers last week, with the intention of listing on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol, OB. The number of shares to be offered and price point were not confirmed.

Days later, Outbrain confirmed it had scored a US$200m funding injection from Boston-based investment firm, The Baupost Group. Baupost manages about $31 billion and invests in a wide range of asset classes including significant holdings in publicly traded debt and equity securities, private debt, real estate, and private equity.

“We are excited to announce this investment from The Baupost Group, who share our vision and commitment for our business, our team and our future prospects,” said Outbrain co-CEO, David Kostman. 

“We proudly lead the recommendation space we created. We have bold plans for the future to continue delivering critical innovation to our premium media partners worldwide and expanding our powerful open web global advertising platform,” added Outbrain co-founder and co-CEO, Yaron Galai.

Oracle to power Medallia Experience Cloud

Voice of customer and employee platform vendor, Medallia, has chosen Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as the preferred cloud platform to underpin its Medallia Experience Cloud SaaS platform.

Medallia said moving to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure would deliver performance improvements, decrease costs, improve ease of use and allow for expansion globally by providing a standard platform for new services deployment. Medallia’s platform employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to surface predictive insights based on customer interactions such as voice, video, digital, Internet of Things, social media and corporate messaging.  

The new alliance also sees both companies jointly marketing and selling Medallia solutions through the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, with Medallia now part of Oracle’s PartnerNetwork. The partnership is an extension of a deal struck between Medallia and Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience last year that saw the customer insights platform integrated into Oracle Service.

“From both a business and technology perspective, our newest partnership with Oracle is an important one to us. With this transition, we’re expecting to see higher performance at a lower price point and expand our customer base through Oracle’s global data centre footprint,” said Medallia senior vice-president, channels, alliances and global partnerships, Steve Vierra.

Hootsuite's new partnership

Editor's note: Please note this news item has been removed at the vendor's request.

Clara debuts to deliver intelligent search

Customer experience management provider, Clarabridge, has taken the wrappers off Clara, an intelligent search assistant designed to help brands uncover insights and trends across all customer feedback and interaction data.

The company said Clara can be leveraged by anyone in an organisation without the need for strong data or text analytics skills. The tool is available in the Clarabridge Studio CX data analytics environment.

To use Clara, customers type in a specific topic, event or trend of interest relating to their customer management processes. From there, Clara churns through customer feedback and interaction data sources to deliver visual results in seconds.

Clarabridge has also debuted several other features across its platform. These include new conversation intelligence capabilities, such as the ability to automatically evaluate the reasons behind cancellations, transfers and holds during a customer call or chat, plus pre-built connectors to integrate with a company’s tech stack. A new integration with Zendesk also allows for chats and non-conversational tickets, as well as calls and other data from Five9 and AWS S3, to be connected through to the platform. Similar outbound connectors for Qualtrics and Amazon S3 have also been introduced. 

The Trade Desk launches new media trading platform

Adtech player, The Trade Desk, has a new trading platform, Solimar, aimed at helping marketers harness first-party data as part of digital media trading.

Solimar integrates goals-based media buying settings, first-party data onboarding and media trading across channels including broadcast video on-demand. In addition, the new offering includes an advanced measurement marketplace for optimising campaigns based on real-time performance.

There is also an emphasis on working with Internet identity, and The Trade Desk it’s leveraging Unified ID 2.0 so advertisers can better nurture more loyal customers. Other major first-party data owners, such as retailers and offsite measurement companies are also making data available to advertisers in Solimar’s measurement marketplace, enabling advertisers to track the performance of their campaigns to actual consumer actions.

“By adding planning and decisioning into every aspect of the buying cycle, Solimar acts on information in real-time, ensuring all decisions are data-driven,” said The Trade Desk co-founder and CTO, Dave Pickles.

Nice aims to up the ante on conversational service

Nice has described its fresh offering, CXone SmartReach, as an integrated customer experience management suite for digitally fluent customer service.

The new CXone SmartReach offerings comes off the back of Nice’s recent acquisition of conversational AI player, ContactEngine. The solution aims to help organisations have more proactive, multi-day, asynchronous conversations with customers through the customers’ channels of choice. It’s based on Nice’s Enlighten AI cloud-based platform.

Nice said native integration of digital and self-service allows teams to engage with customers before they request service, upon initial service query search as well as during interactive service sessions, with all seamlessly connected.

“Organisations need to reinvent digital service from a reactive approach to consumers’ needs - to a proactive personal touch in their digital channel of choice,” said Nice CXone CEO, Paul Jarman. “With the addition of CXone SmartReach to our already comprehensive suite of CX solutions, we are helping companies initiate intelligent conversations with customers, taking digital CX to the next level.”

Hopin makes fifth acquisition in a year

Event management platform vendor, Hopin, has made its fifth acquisition in a year and within weeks of its second birthday.

The company has purchased Attendify, an event management platform which improve capabilities for organisations to better market their events and grow audiences. Financial details were not disclosed.

Hopin said Attendify’s Audience CRM will soon be introduced on Hopin as an attendee data platform for capturing engagement, identifying intent signals and for data-driven attendee management. The toolkit allows users to build an engagement database of which attendees visited which sponsor, voted in a poll or engaged in a session.

Additionally, Attendify will allow Hopin to introduce a campaign management capability so event marketers can directly orchestrate email marketing to drive registrations, get important information out to registrants, and engage audiences between programs. Attendify was founded in 2011.

“As we continue to help our customers navigate a reshaped events industry, our focus remains on investing in Hopin’s all-in-one platform, including augmenting it with intuitive marketing tool, ” Hopin founder and CEO, Johnny Boufarhat, said. ‘With the addition of Attendify, our event marketing suite gets even better and we can deliver more meaningful tools to organizers that drive growth.”

Among Hopin's other recent acquisitions are two video providers Jamm and Streamable.

Slack aims for flexibility with new features

Slack has taken the wrappers off a suite of new features across its platform aimed at enabling a digital-first, more flexible approach to collaboration.

Among the fresh additions are Slack Huddles, an audio-first way of communicating in Slack as an alternative to video meetings. There’s also new ways to record, upload and share video, voice and screen recordings that can be watched and responded to in channel.

The new enterprise directory, Slack Atlas, allows users to navigate the company directory within Slack, while Scheduled Send is a tool to schedule messages.  

Yellow elevates data storytelling

Analytics vendor, Yellowfin, is looking to improve data narrative storytelling with its latest version 9.6 release.

Yellowfin Stories was first introduced in Yellowfin 8 and allows users to create data narratives by combining written, longform analysis with embedded images, text, video or snapshots of analytical content from Yellowfin.

The new platform enhancements with version 9.6 include a data storytelling feed allowing dashboard designers to incorporate the most relevant stories directly into their dashboard, as well as the ability to create story templates based on existing stories from this feed. Fresh story filters allow authors to dynamically filter embedded analytics content within a story and save their configuration against the published version, plus enhanced visualisations in chart building tools. There’s also now native identity provider configuration support using SAML Authentication.

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