CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 2 September 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news from Zendesk, Cognigy, Contentsquare, DoubleVerify, Brandcrush, Netcore, NielsenIQ, Qualtrics and Freshworks

Zendesk snaps up Cleverly  

Zendesk has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) automation startup, Cleverly, for an undisclosed sum.  

The customer service management vendor said Cleverly’s technology will be integrated across the full Zendesk portfolio to help users automate more processes and applications around customer support management.  

Zendesk executive VP product, Shawna Wolverton, said conversation volumes are increasing by more than 20 per cent year-on-year, triggering more businesses to look to AI to help deliver reliable and efficient customer services. Cleverly uses machine learning for tasks such as prioritising and routing customer support tickets based on intent, helping plug identity knowledge gaps and automating replies for common customer queries either in tandem with agents or for self-service.  

“Today, our AI-enabled capabilities help businesses automate the conversations they have with customers, boost agent productivity and increase operational efficiency with features like Answer Bot, macro suggestions and content cues. With Cleverly, we will deliver a range of capabilities that automate key insights, further reduce manual tasks and improve workflows, and overall lead to happier, more productive support teams,” Wolverton said.  

It’s not Zendesk’s first acquisition. The vendor picked up customer services startup, Smooth, in 2019 for an undisclosed sum. It also previously purchased US-based Base, which develops software for analysing large volumes of sales data.  

Contentsquare acquires Hotjar

Our second acquisition this week is by Contentsquare. The digital experience analytics vendor is joining forces with Hotjar, which provides a product experience insights platform for the SMB market.  

According to a statement, the deal allows the companies to serve the global market end-to-end and from SMB to enterprise. The combined team exceeds 1000 staff globally, but the companies plan to continue operating independently for the foreseeable future.  

The acquisition, Contentsquare’s sixth in two years, comes four months after Contentsquare raised US$500m in Series E funding, bringing its total valuation to $2.8 billion. Since then, Contentsquare has expanded its patents portfolio, launched three new products, and started increasing its global headcount. Customers include BMW, IKEA, Microsoft, Rakuten, Sephora, The North Face, and Verizon.  

Hotjar meanwhile, provides product experience insights for teams in small and mid-market businesses and was founded seven years ago. The companies said they already boast of deep synergies across their respective solutions. Through the deal, Hotjar said it will learn from Contentsquare's advanced technology and resources, while Contentsquare will benefit from Hotjar’ reach and product-led approach.   

DoubleVerify acquires German ad verification player  

DoubleVerify has acquired German-based ad verification company, Meetrics, in an all-cash transaction. The value of the purchase hasn’t been disclosed.  

Under the deal, Meetrics sales, product and engineering teams will continue to operate from offices in EMEA. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021 and is DoubleVerify’s first since listing on the New York Stock Exchange in April.  

Meetrics was founded in 2008 and provides Media Rating Council accredited media quality measurement and solutions covering ad viewability, fraud and brand safety and suitability. It’s also struck measurement partnerships with ‘walled garden’ players, Google and Facebook. It has 80 customers across 23 countries including ITV, Le Monde, Carrefour and L’Oreal.  

The technology will be integrated with DoubleVerify’s digital media measurement and analytics offering.  

“Our strategy in support of this mission is to verify everywhere - across channels, formats, platforms and geographies,” DoubleVerify CEO, Mark Zagorski. “The Meetrics transaction fully supports this approach and bolsters our operating footprint in EMEA, adding experienced sales, product and engineering teams and tenured customer relationships that will continue to help accelerate the growth of our international business.”  

Homegrown player launches media monetisation platform  

Brandcrush has launched an enterprise software solution designed to help brands monetise their owned media potential.  

The Brandcrush media monetisation platform is designed to convert touchpoints, such as in-store shelves, out-of-store parcels and digital sponsorships, into bookable media. It stems from the Australian company’s initial marketplace activation solution and is being pitched to a raft of companies, from grocery and direct-to-consumer retailers to shopper centres, gym chains and universities.    

The platform has already been used by mealkit delivery player, Marley Spoon, to give third parties the ability to use its boxes as a media activation opportunity. The company claims it’s delivered 17x ROI since the partnership commenced in June 2020.  

“Media assets owned by businesses everywhere are untapped revenue opportunities. Businesses, such as major retailers, have recognised the value of their owned media assets and are building in-house teams to manage and grow this revenue,” Brandcrash CEO and co-founder, Teresa Aprile, said.  

“Making their media easy to find and book is key with more than three quarters of B2B buyers now expecting self-serve tools. Without a digital management solution, the potential for these media businesses is not being realised.”  

Cognigy debuts conversational analytics suite  

Cognigy has taken the wrappers off its new analytics suite extending its conversational AI automation offering.

The new solution is integrated with the Cognigy.AI flagship offering and aims to help organisations make sense of their conversational data and act upon insights in a way that optimises workflows and processes in customer and employee services.

For example, users can track and measure each step in a conversation and identify potential pain points through the ‘Step Explorer’ feature. It’s supported by a real-time overview and customisable dashboard to track KPIs, as well as tools to drill down into aggregated conversations.  

The analytics offering is being integrated into existing Cognigy.AI installations and is also available for on-premise installations through an update.  

Netcore ups the ante on A/NZ plans  

Martech vendor, Netcore, has brought on former Emarsys martech expert, Chantal Capablanca as country manager for Australia and New Zealand. The company said the appointment signals its intentions to expand its operations locally.  

Netcore Cloud has more than 5000 customers globally, with a particularly strong presence in South East Asia as well as India. In recent years, it’s worked to build out a footprint across the US, Europe and South America. Customers include Standard Chartered, Flipkart, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Canon and Puma.  

Netcore’s flagship platform combines communication stack, engagement stack and product experience stack in order to help brands gain a unified view of their customer.  

Capablanca boasts of marketing and technology experience across organisations including Emarsys, LivingSocial, Ovato and Traction Digital, where she held various leadership positions. As country manager for Netcore Cloud, she’s tasked with driving strategy and execution for the business in this region, accelerating the organisation’s ANZ growth trajectory with leading brands.  

NielsenIQ and Qualtrics partner up  

Qualtrics and NielsenIQ are pitching their latest partnership as one that will empower a new level of brand health and experience reporting.  

The two companies are joining forces to create brand experience solutions to provide companies with a real-time, 360-degree view of their brand health based on consumer feedback. The deal sees NielsenIQ using the Qualtrics BrandXM solution to power its Winning Brands solutions. The latter is a model for measuring brand awareness, consideration and understanding before, during and after brand exposure to consumers.  

The joint solution will enable brands to capture key brand metrics, such as Brand Equity Index on a single platform, as well as provide pre-built analytics, automated workflows and interactive dashboards from Qualtrics to simulate future scenarios.  

“NielsenIQ’s best-in-class methodology, combined with Qualtrics’ experience management technology, will help brands adapt and be successful in any business environment,” said NielsenIQ consumer insights global president, Yuneeb Khan. “We are proud to be partnering with Qualtrics to provide brand leaders deeper insights in real-time, allowing them to gain a leg up on their competition.”  

Freshworks readies for IPO debut  

Freshworks has filed for an IPO, listing the size of the offering with a placeholder value of US$100 million. Various reports suggest the company could be worth as much as $10bn.  

Freshworks was founded in India and provides a customer relationship management solution. The vendor has more recently relocated to Silicon Valley. The company boosted revenue by about 40 per cent last year and reported $169m revenue in the first six months of the year, with net losses of $9.8m. Freshworks has 52,500 customers globally.  

According to a Bloomberg report, company founder and CEO, Girish Mathrubootham, has said the company’s options also potentially included a merger with a special purpose acquisition company or a direct listing, as well as raising more capital from private investors.  

The IPO is being led by Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America. Freshworks is seeking to list its shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol, FRSH. Accel India and others of Tiger Global Management each currently control more than a quarter of the company’s Class B shares.   

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