CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 15 July 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news from Impact, Salesforce, Amperity, Birdeye, Mitto, Flashtalking, Mediaocean, Sitecore and ActiveCampaign.

Impact secures US$150m in funding

Accelerating automation innovation and global scale is in the sights of partnerships management platform, Impact, after securing US$150 million in funding.

The vendor’s latest funding round was led by Qatar Investment Authority, joined by Providence Public, and brings Impact’s total valuation to $1.5 billion. The funding will be used to accelerate investment in partnership automation innovation, increase channel partnerships, and scale Impact’s go-to-market efforts for brands, agencies and publishers globally.

“Partnerships create a path to the modern consumer by establishing a natural connection in the form of trusted information, reviews, and recommendations and done with the consumer’s experience in mind,” Impact CEO, David A Yovanno, commented. “Impact has seen impressive growth in productive partnerships by driving this new wave of connection between brands, publishers and consumers.”  

The latest news comes off the back of several acquisitions made by Impact in the last 12 months, including those of Affluent, Trackonomics and Activate.

Impact also announced this week it has surpassed $100 million in annual recurring revenue, growing more than 50 per cent in the past year. Clients include Shopify, Uber and Walmart. The company now has more than 600 employees in 14 offices across nine companies.

Amperity raises US$100m

Also securing the big bucks this week is customer data platform (CDP) vendor, Amperity, which has raised US$100 million in series D funding.

The latest cash injection brings total funding in the company to $187 million and its valuation to $1 billion. Funding was led by HighSage Ventures with participation from existing investors, Tiger Global Management, Declaration Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Madera Technology Partners. The plan is to expand sales and marketing, grow internationally and invest in product research and development.

Amperity’s focus is on first-party data graphs and customer data management tools. The company was founded in 2016 by two former employees of enterprise marketing management startup, Appature, which was acquired in 2013 by IMS Health. Customers include Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Smithsonian and Seattle Sounders FC.

“Our core belief is that brands should own the relationship with their customers, yet until now have not had the tools to do so. We’ve created this capability by inventing technology that identifies customers across a brand's first-party data, creates a Customer 360, understands customers' interests and develops analytics to predict their intent – data and insight that are critical to success in a rapidly changing economy,” Amperity co-founder and CEO, Kabir Shahani, claimed.

“We're grateful to have crossed the rubicon at a time of unprecedented market demand, successfully delivering critical functionality for customers through a period of massive disruption.”

Salesforce announces new tech for non-profits, media

Salesforce has taken the wrappers off a new Marketing Cloud solution for non-for-profits as well as a fresh offering for publishers.

The new solution sees non-profits get access to the full Suite of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and integration with Google Analytics, budget-friendly implementation assistance from select members of Salesforce’s consulting partner community, and Trailhead online learning platform access. The name of the game of the new non-profit platform and support package is to provide technology that improves engagement, speeds up campaign execution, reduces manual processes and generates analytics.

Key functionality includes templates for email campaigns targeting subscribers, volunteers, donors and supporters, plus native integration with the Nonprofit Success Pack and tools to segment in order to personalise content for emails. Salesforce said several Appexchange partners are committing support to help non-profits and affordable implementation assistance is available from select consulting partners.

Salesforce also this week announced Advertising Sales Management for Media Cloud, a new industry-specific application for publishers to help manage cross-channel advertising sales, automating client reporting and optimising campaigns.

Key features include a unified platform to replace siloed systems for managing different media channels such as digital, audio or TV advertising, streamlined data flow across advertising systems, configurable and automated approvals along the workflow, and a single view of activity to help optimise campaign performance in real time.

Mitto extends business meeting connectivity

Communications platform vendor, Mitto, has extended its business messaging connectivity across Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Twitter.

The aim is to offer a single inbox and dashboard via the Mitto Conversations platform that houses all customer engagement channel communication so users can more quickly interact and respond successfully regardless of channel and without requiring APIs. For example, through Messenger integration, users can respond to shopping and product recommendation inquiries, while with Instagram, there’s an ability for quick replies and immediate customer support.

The latest popular channels come on top of existing support for Google Business Messages, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, WeChat, Web chat and SMS. Mitto is also providing 24/7 technical resources.

Birdeye brings on Messaging

Also improving its messaging credentials this week is Birdeye, which has introduced a Messaging suite in its core experience marketing platform for multi-location businesses as part of every customer plan. 

The new capabilities are designed to help businesses connect with leads and customers through texting, video chat, Google My Business and Facebook and Instagram messages from one inbox and whether they’re in Birdeye Reviews through to Birdeye Referral modules. The vendor said businesses can also collaborate and assign incoming messages to internal teams, so the right people can address new leads and solve customer queries faster and more accurately.

As an example of use cases, Birdeye said customers can get new reviews with messaging, run conversational surveys with messaging, resolve tickets, get referrals, make appointments and answer voicemails.

“Messaging is now table stakes,” said Birdeye co-founder and CEO, Naveen Gupta. “Customers don’t call or email. They text. So businesses need to do the same. That’s why Messaging can no longer be a standalone product. It needs to be everywhere.”

Flashtalking acquired by Mediaocean

Ad management platform, Flashtalking, has been acquired by omnichannel advertising player, Mediocean, for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase will see Flashtalking’s ad serving, creative personalisation, identity management and verification solutions become fully integrated with Mediaocean’s technology. The combined entity will represent an adtech platform with over one trillion monthly impressions and US$200 billion in annual media spend.

The two companies said customers will benefit from solutions for global strategic planning, omnichannel media management, closed ecosystems optimisation and financial reconciliation across traditional media, open Web, closed ecosystems and connected TV. For example, there’s data-driven creative personalisation, in-flight campaign optimisation through artificial intelligence (AI)-based recommendations, flexible identity resolution and analytics for media impact on sales conversions.

Flashtalking and Mediaocean have been partners since 2018 and have worked together to incorporate ad serving data into media buyer workflows.

“Flashtalking is the source of truth for digital and CTV ads and Mediaocean is the system of record for all media. Combined, we will deliver comprehensive and future-forward solutions for omnichannel advertising,” Mediaocean CEO, Bill Wise, said.  

Sitecore tightens ties with Microsoft

Digital experience management vendor, Sitecore, has extended its Microsoft collaboration by more tightly integrating Dynamics 365 Commerce with its Content Hub.

Under the latest integrations, Sitecore said its rich content and personalised experience capabilities will be part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem based on the Microsoft cloud. This will give Dynamics 365 customers access to Sitecore’s content and experience tools, while Sitecore customers have access to an expanded range of data and commerce tools from Microsoft. The company said it’s about delivering one interface to manage content delivery for personalised commerce and digital properties.

According to Sitecore, it also allows customers to further unlock the insights from their data into experiences. For example, auto-personalisation already in Sitecore AI will be enhanced by integration with Dynamics 365 and enable users to connect with a broader audience, enhancing the overall customer experience.  

ActiveCampaign creates US$2m app development fund

Digital marketing platform vendor, ActiveCampaign, is offering up to US$2 million in financial support to developers who create tools to support its platform and customers.

Under the new scheme, developers, startups and agencies of any size or from any industry and geography can secure financial assistance for creating advanced features and integrations with the ActiveCampaign Customer Experience Automation (CXA) platform. Interested parties can apply to the ActiveCampaign Developer Fund via an application. Once selected, developers will be offered financial support upfront, and on an ongoing basis to help them perform the work.

The vendor noted more than 70 per cent of ActiveCampaign’s 150,000 customers now use more than 870 integrations including Facebook, Microsoft, Shopify, Square and Salesforce. With the fund, ActiveCampaign is hoping to grow to over 1000 integrations.

“Unlike all-in-one platforms that force customers to use their solutions, ActiveCampaign gives our customers incredible flexibility to use the tools that work best for their unique needs,” said ActiveCampaign founder and CEO, Jason VandeBoom. “We’re creating this program so our developer partners feel valued and incentivised to create even more tools, and therefore more flexibility for our customers.”

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