CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 September 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news from Sitecore, Mailchimp, Convo Ink, Tableau, Hootsuite, Acquia, MessageMedia and Pipeliner CRM

Sitecore scoops up AI digital search platform  

Sitecore has acquired US-based Reflektion, an eight-year-old artificial intelligence-powered digital search platform that works to predict patterns, context and customer needs in order to convert shoppers.  

The acquisition is the fourth made by Sitecore this year and follows a US$1.2 billion investment into the digital experience vendor to drive growth. Sitecore said Reflektion’s complementary commerce, AI and personalisation capabilities would sit well alongside those acquired through the purchases of Four51, Boxever and Moosend and further elevates personalisation and real-time information across channels.  

Specifically, Reflektion’s capabilities are to be combined with Sitecore’s offering to help engage, educate and empower shoppers to make purchase decisions faster. Use cases include transforming product data into more consumer-friendly language, to understanding shopper intent, behaviour and product preferences using search as its guide.  

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in September.

“Search is about more than just entering words into a box and hoping for the right results – it is the cornerstone of a digital experience. With Reflektion, a brand can add various types of searches including personalised search, preview search, conversational search and voice search,” said Sitecore CEO, Steve Tzikakis. “This reduces customers’ effort and anxiety to find exactly what they need – with more convenience and speed – and leads to increased customer satisfaction with more conversions and revenue.”  

Homegrown startup pitches smarter content marketing  

Australian-based Convo Ink has taken the wrappers off a content marketing engine solution aimed at improving the workflow between content marketers, PR and the media industry.  

The martech is debuting a unified platform for marketers, content writers and publishers with drag-and-drop functionality for creating branded content formats. Core functionality includes auto-generating content formats that can be distributed across mobile, desktop and digital out-of-home publishers with better precision and scale.    

For advertisers and agencies, the name of the game is simplifying creation and distribution of branded content. The vendor also plans to allow advertisers to target select audiences in order to reduce media investment wastage and improve results.  

Convo Ink is the brainchild of Aaron Macarthur, who worked in sales for Southern Cross Austereo, Allure Media and Verizon, and CTO, Adam Crampton. The startup recently completed a seed funding round led by M2 Capital and has conducted product trials with several brands including hayu, Young Henry’s and numobile. It’s also been working to validate its platform with tech partners such as The Trade Desk and DoubleVerify and plans to announce publisher deals soon.  

“At Convo Ink, we believe every brand has a story to tell and great brand stories create attention with customers and drive sales,” Crampton said. “We are excited to launch our smart content marketing engine, which allows advertisers and media agencies to move into the high-growth content marketing space with all of the speed, scale and precision provided by programmatic marketing technology.”  

Reports of US$10bn+ Mailchimp sale  

Intuit is reportedly in talks to acquire email marketing vendor, Mailchimp, for at least US$10 billion, according to various media reports.  

Intuit is behind brands financial and accounting software, Quickbooks and TurboTax. According to reports in Reuters and Bloomberg, the company is in talks to buy Mailchimp for more than US$10 billion. Reports suggest no final decision has been made and the deal could still fall through, or another potential buyer emerge through the process.  

The deal, if it did eventuate, would be the biggest ever made by Intuit in its near 30-year history. The vendor last year spent US$7.1 billion on Credit Karma, and has been around for nearly 40 years.  

US-based Mailchimp was founded in 2001 with the aim of creating an all-in-one marketing platform for SMBs. The martech player has made several acquisitions in the past three years, including SMS marketing software vendor, Chatitive, in January 2021; feedback management platform, BigTeam, in June 2020; ecommerce player, LemonStand, in 2019; and automated design platform, Sawa, also in 2019.    

Acquia joins the acquisitions party  

Also on the acquisitions trail this week is Acquia, which picked up digital asset and product information management software vendor, Widen, for an undisclosed sum.  

The digital experience management vendor said Widen’s selling point is capabilities that unify digital assets such as rich media, product information and marketing copy into a single workflow and user interface. The improved control over digital content will be integrated into the Acquia Open Digital Experience Platform as well as remain available as a standalone solution.    

Acquia said while traditional DAM solutions help simplify content management, a modern solution also needs robust technical capabilities, extensibility and built-in governance. The vendor touted a PIM, native cloud-based solution like Widen’s as enabling enrichment of product data with marketing copy and digital assets, making it easier to create branded product content as well as legal documents. Widen’s ability to support complex marketing workflows and enterprise DXP requirements was also flagged.    

The acquisition is expected to close later in September. Widen’s 700-strong customer base includes New Balance, Crayola and Hootsuite.  

“Acquia has long been an established leader in managing textual website content. Now, with Widen, we will be able to offer world-class capabilities around rich media and product information content,” said Acquia co-founder and CT, Dries Buytaert.  

Tableau latest update pitched as taming data volume growth  

Data visualisation and reporting platform, Tableau, has debuted its latest update, 2021.3, including new data and analytics capabilities for managing exponential growing volumes of data.  

Among the latest data management features are a ‘data prep’ tool for better server resource management and to generate rows for mapping out trends in data. There are also new governance processes to make it easier to view the type of data users have and where it came from. In addition, features aim to increase flexibility and segmentation, allowing administrators to centrally configure which users and groups have access to which slices of data and configure access accordingly.  

On the enterprise scalability front, a new enterprise reference architecture is in play, along with dynamic scaling to resource deployment and contain management during peak versus off-peak demand times. The vendor said IT teams can also better optimise the performance of Tableau Server by defining application resource limits.

Data prep and catalogue improvements, along with the new subscription plans, will be available later this month with the release of Tableau 2021.3, while other features will be available in coming months.

Hootsuite debuts new Microsoft Teams integration

Hootsuite says it’s new Amplify by Hootsuite for Microsoft Teams integration will help drive employee advocacy and broaden customer reach by facilitating better social media content sharing across an organisation.  

The social media management vendor has created a new integration for Microsoft Teams aimed at encouraging Amplify as well as Teams customers to seamlessly share curated social media content directly from within the Teams platform. Specific capabilities include promoting key campaigns through employee networks, sharing pre-approved content across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and better story sharing across teams and departments.  

The latest connection comes a year after Hootsuite announced its integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 within its Global ISV program for business applications, providing access to its apps ecosystem for Microsoft customers.  

MessageMedia launches SMS integration with ActiveCampaign  

MessageMedia has announced a fresh integration with ActiveCampaign that brings SMS messaging directly into the marketing automation platform.  

The text message integration will allow ActiveCampaign customers to add SMS into existing automation workflows, introduce real-time and two-way messaging with customers as well as streamline communicatiosn tracking. For example, users can add SMS to automation workflows to send targeted promotions, engage in a conversation with prospects through text messaging, while having messages automatically logged against contact records for better communications oversight. MessageMedia also converts mobile numbers automatically to include local country codes.  

“Our customers tell us they want to consolidate communications and text within their marketing automation platforms. Our latest integration with ActiveCampaign meets this requirement by enabling exceptional customer engagement through SMS,” MessageMedia CEO, Paul Perrett, stated.  

Pipeliner debuts latest CRM version  

CRM vendor, Pipeliner, is highlighting project management sophistication and connected account management functionality as the big outcomes from the latest release of its CRM software.  

The Kepler 4.0 release sees salesforce automation and key account management functionality united under the wider guise of end-to-end project management. It’s a move the vendor claims ensures more holistic sales management from prospecting to relationship management.  

Key features include the ability to build projects and track objectives and activities related to them; trackability of task durations and visualisations using a Gantt view, and the ability to link projects to any opportunity, contact or account using look-up fields.  

“Our previous major version was called Copernicus, and it signified the momentous event of Pipeliner CRM being fully in the cloud. Since its release three years ago, we have made thousands of improvements,” said Pipelinersales CEO, Nikolaus Kimla. “It is only logical that with our next significant evolution, project management, we name the version after Kepler, the person who fully cemented Copernicus’s theories.”  

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