CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 29 July 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news from Medallia, OpenText, Oktopost, Criteo, Taboola, DoubleVerify, Klaviyo and BigCommerce.

Medallia sale values CX vendor at US$6.4 billion

Customer and employee experience management vendor, Medallia, is to be acquired by software investment firm, Thoma Bravo, in an all-cash deal valuing the business at US$6.4 billion.

The transaction announced this week came after an unsolicited bid made by Thoma Bravo and will see Medallia become a private company two years after it publicly listed. The business will also gain access to additional resources and flexibility to build and expand its customer offering.

Under the agreement terms, Medallia shareholders will receive $34.00 per share in cash, a premium of approximately 20 per cent on Medallia’s closing stock price on 10 June 2021. The transaction is expected to close in 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

“Since becoming a public company in 2019, we have made significant progress bolstering our leadership position in experience management. Today, Medallia benefits from a differentiated portfolio of cloud technology solutions and an expansive, loyal customer base across a diverse set of industry verticals and geographies,” commented President and CEO of Medallia, Leslie Stretch.

“We are eager to build on our success and begin the next phase of differentiated growth, and we believe that becoming a private company represents the best opportunity to do just that. In addition to maximizing value for our shareholders, this transaction will enable us to execute on our long-term strategy with even greater effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility.”

OpenText joins the CDP ranks

A new customer data platform (CDP) is one of the latest solutions introduced by OpenText this week as part of its expanding digital experience management offering.

The new OpenText Experience CDP is designed to help marketers personalise experiences and communications by bringing together first and third-party data sources for programs of work across channels. To do this, OpenText has integrated Google Marketing Audiences with its TeamSite and Exstream solutions. Tools include unifying personalisation data for all customer touchpoints, tapping intent audience data for communications and experiences, and synchronising Google and first-party audience lists.

The vendor has also enhanced its OpenText Experience Cloud CE 21.3 with an integration between its Media Management offering and Shutterstock, plus a new jobs dashboard with team view to streamline workflows. In addition, there are new APIs to integrate its Core Experience Insights with digital and communication management functionality across the wider platform.

Also on the list are fresh capabilities in OpenText Media Management CE 21.3 including a new dashboard, step-list job views and Team view, plus management assignment tools. Watermarking has been introduced to ensure digital assets protection, along with tracking for downstream content usage with configurable download terms and usage questionnaires. WS Rekognition also now incorporates AWS Rekognition Image AI services so customers can analyse and enrich metadata.

Finally, enhancements in Core Experience Insights include APIs for interaction event data to use in custom analysis, a new dashboard for customer-centric analysis within journeys, plus tools to visualise where a customer is in a journey, segments applied and other events and touchpoints they engaged with.

Oktopost secures $20 million investment

B2B social media marketing platform, Oktopost, has scored US$20 million in funding to accelerate its product roadmap and grow sales and marketing resources.

The Israel-based company offers a technology platform for B2B social media marketing management, employee advocacy and revenue attribution. Additional modules include social listening and highly customisable native analytics, and there’s integration into various third-party marketing automation solutions including Adobe’s Marketo, Salesforce’s Pardot and Hubspot, along with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM platforms.

The latest $20 million investment comes from UK equity firm, Expedition Growth Capital and is the first sizeable cash injection into the eight-year old business: Prior to this round, Oktopost had raised less than $1 million and grown profitably since its inception in 2013.

Oktopost plans to use the funding to advance its product roadmap focused solely on B2B requirements, boost its customer success function, accelerate marketing and sales and explore strategic acquisitions. The company has teams across Tel Aviv, London and Atlanta and plans to grow its workforce by 50 per cent in H2, 2021.

Criteo expands retail media offerings for Asia-Pacific

Criteo is expanding its commerce media platform solution across six markets in Asia-Pacific including Australia.

The vendor’s Retail Media aims to help advertisers use a retailer’s first-party data to advertise on retailer sites and apps, as well as across the open Internet. The tool is designed to assist brands with reaching shoppers at the digital point-of-sale and gain visibility of their media spend impact on product sales.

The product was first launched regionally in Japan at the end of 2019 and is now available in five more markets: Korea, Australia, South-East Asia, Taiwan and India. According to Criteo, its Retail Media solution is used by more than 100 retailers and 120 agency customers and is expected to drive nearly US$700 million in media monetisation for retailers and $3.3 billion in product sales for brands in 2021.

“We were quick to expand our retail media offerings here in Asia, a key growth market for Criteo. In Q1 this year, our retail media business grew 122 per cent year-over-year, and we are excited to see increasing demand for our technology, especially here in Asia,” said Criteo EVP and general manager, growth portfolio, Geoffroy Martin.

Alongside the tech extension, Criteo is building out its supporting team and has appointed a new managing director of retail media in APAC, Taro Fujinaka, to drive regional engagement and growth.

Taboola acquires Connexity

Also focusing on the ecommerce media space is Taboola, which announced its acquisition of ecommerce media platform, Connexity, this week. The transaction is worth approximately $US800 million, consisting of cash and Taboola shares.

Connexity boasts of more than 1 million monthly transaction events and a range of clients including Walmart, eBay, Macy’s and Sketchers. Its tools rely on contextual signals as well as direct relationships with publishers.

Taboola said the acquisition will enable merchants to reach new clients through Taboola on the open Web. Combined, the companies chalked up gross profit of over US$500 million and $185 million of adjusted EBITDA in the 12 months to 31 March 2021.

Taboola said buying Connexity is a significant step forward towards its open Web vision to bring a catalogue of ecommerce offerings into its ‘recommend anything and anywhere’ strategy.

“The rise of social commerce proves the value of commerce alongside content, and with Connexity, Taboola is primed to bring this value to the open Web,” Taboola CEO and founder, Adam Singolda, commented. “Ecommerce is the future of the open Web, consumers will be buying outside of Amazon, on publishers’ sites next to trusted editorial content a lot more than they are today. Amazon has millions of merchants, but merchants mainly have Amazon. That changes today. Combining Taboola and Connexity’s technologies is one step forward in creating an alternative to walled gardens.”

DoubleVerify pitches turnkey brand safety

Digital advertising measurement player, DoubleVerify, has taken the wrappers off several enhancements to its brand safety solution.

A new Brand Safety Floor turnkey option has debuted within its DV Pinnacle platform, enabling advertisers to set up protection against higher-risk content more easily. There are also new extensions to Brand Suitability Tiers, allowing brands to align suitability settings with their standards. These include a new ‘death and injury’ category, providing further controls around ads served on inventory associated with these topics.  

In addition, DoubleVerify has extended offerings to YouTube, to allow its clients to leverage the turnkey brand safety floor controls plus brand suitability tiers across the video platform as well as open Web and Facebook.

“Our new enhancements further empower advertisers to proactively manage their safety and suitability preferences. This, in turn, helps create a stronger digital ecosystem where advertisers are able to support premium publisher inventory while avoiding unsuitable content,” DoubleVerify CEO, Mark Zagorski, said.  

Klaviyo steps up marketing automation game

Klaviyo is now offering an automated price-drop trigger capability, multi-step forms and increased SMS and reporting capabilities in its marketing automation platform.

The vendor said the latest features are about enabling brands to take more control of their customer data and use that information to provide better consumer experiences. They also elevate three core parts of Klaviyo's platform: A secure database for storing customer signal and insight data; messaging and marketing tools; and a learning layer.

Specifically, the latest capabilities include a price drop trigger to alert via text and email subscribers when a product they've fallen in love with goes on sale at a lower price, plus multi-step forms for customer information and subscriptions. There’s also fresh SMS A/B testing capabilities to help with testing variations of SMS campaigns including content, send time and image inclusion.

Finally, a reports library provides pre-built reports that leverage Klaviyo's data to answer common marketing and ecommerce questions.

BigCommerce acquires Feedonomics

BigCommerce is looking to shore up its position as a dominant omnichannel commerce vendor with its acquisition of Feedonomics.

Feedonomics is a data feed management platform that focuses on ingesting, unifying, enhance and syndicate product data then sync this back into existing systems to streamline operations. BigCommerce said the acquisition will allow the two companies to jointly provide merchants to better connect the dots between their back-end operations and sales, marketing and advertising channels.

BigCommerce is paying up to US$145 million to acquire the assets of Feedonomics including $80 million in cash and up to $32.5 million at each of the first and second anniversaries of closing or upon achieving certain milestones earlier.

“This acquisition reflects our strong belief that Feedonomics offers the world’s best product feed optimisation and syndication solution for merchants looking to optimise their advertising and selling via search engines, ad networks, social media sites and marketplaces,” BigCommerce CEO, Brent Bellm, said. “On average, these channels represent ecommerce merchants’ largest non-direct source of sales and one of the largest spending line items.

“With Feedonomics, BigCommerce merchants maximise their omnichannel sales and return on ad spend [ROAS] by connecting, transforming and enhancing their product data across hundreds of global channels. The combination catapults our ability to deliver the world’s most powerful ecommerce platform for omnichannel selling.”

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