CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 7 October 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Zeta, Terminus, mParticle, ActiveCampaign, Qualtrics, Qlik, Sitecore and BlueShift.

Zeta acquires Apptness digital survey platform

Zeta Global has acquired digital survey vendor, Apptness, to integrate into its marketing platform offering.

Apptness was founded in 2015 and offers a digital survey platform for gathering audience insights across the Web. Zeta said it will directly integrate Apptness into the Zeta Marketing Platform, expanding and enriching its Data Cloud and identity graph with more than 45 million monthly consumer signals. It’s also expected to grow Zeta’s pool of first-party tracking pixels. Financial terms were not disclosed.  

“Apptness’ technology to empower publishers is second to none and we anticipate it will be accretive to Zeta from a technology, data and financial perspective. For example, we expect it will enrich our data footprint, strengthen our actionable 360-degree view of the consumer and help Zeta customers achieve even stronger results,” said Zeta chairman, co-founder and CEO, David A. Steinberg. “I am also thrilled to welcome the talented Apptness team to Zeta, which grows our specialised sales capacity.”

US-based Zeta analyses billions of structured and unstructured data points to predict consumer intent by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to then personalise experiences at scale.

Terminus buys Zylotech

Our second acquisition this week is by account-based marketing (ABM) platform vendor, Terminus, which has acquired Zylotech. The vendor has debuted its first customer data platform (CDP) for B2B marketers off the back of the dela.

Terminus claimed the purchase of Zylotech makes it the only ABM platform with a standalone CDP purpose-built for B2B. Terminus CDP is designed to help customers continuously cleanse go-to-market data and automatically discover new buying committees at target accounts.

Zylotech’s client base includes Google, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco and Rimini Street. Its platform encompasses auditing, cleaning, enriching and data management functionality. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. As part of the deal, Zylotech founder, Abi Yadav, joins Terminus has head of platform innovation.

The acquisition comes a year after Terminus picked up GrowFlare, an account intelligence software solution.

“CDP is becoming more widely adopted in B2B, as companies recognise their marketing automation and CRM systems are not enough to provide true data unification and sharing,” commented CDP Institute founder and martech commentator, David Raab. “By acquiring Zylotech, Terminus positions itself – and its clients – to take full advantage of the capabilities that a CDP provides.”

MParticle secure US$150m investment

Customer data platform (CDP) vendor, mParticle, has secured US$150 million in Series E funding to support its expansion plans.

The latest investment round was led by Permira’s growth fund and included existing vendors plus backers such as former Adobe CFO, Mark Garrett, and New England Patriots All-Pro star, Jake Bailey. As part of the funding process, Permira’s principal joins the mParticle board. In total, mParticle has now raised $272 million.

The company said the latest funding is earmarked for global go-to-market expansion, as well as to support “significant” R&D investment. MParticle offers a technology solution for managing data volumes across sources, systems, APIs and applications. The solution is able to sync customer data in real time to more than 300 analytics and marketing APIs.

“The acceleration of customer data connectivity is helping drive the digital economy to new heights,” said mParticle CEO, Michael Katz. “These days, teams are trying to do more with less and the brands that are winning are focused on improving the trust quotient with their customers by creating better interactions driven by better data, privacy controls and open ecosystem approach. Our partnership with Permira and the latest funding will help us deliver the solution to these challenges, to more brands, at a rapid global scale.” 

Sitecore unveils enterprise CMS

Sitecore has launched what it’s claiming is the first enterprise-grade, cloud-native content management system (CMS) platform during its Symposium this week.

The digital experience platform vendor said Sitecore Experience Manager Cloud is a cloud-native CMS offering flexibility, integration-friendliness and authoring experience for business users to create and deliver personalised digital experiences. The launch was complemented by new product updates thanks to recent acquisitions made off the back of a US$1.2 billion investment into the vendor to aggressively grow its market share and tech capabilities. These recent acquisitions include Boxever, Four51, Moosend and Reflektion.

Among the new announcements this week and taking advantage of Boxever, for example, is Sitecore Personalise and Sitecore’s personalisation engine. The vendor said the AI-based technology empowers digital leaders to deliver next-level, real-time experiences, optimise their conversion funnels, and engage customers with relevant content and offers.

Off the back of the Reflektion acquisition, the vendor has debuted Sitecore Discover, which it claims is the only solution on the market that integrates search with marketing and commerce capabilities. There’s also Sitecore Health Cloud, build in Microsoft Azure and catering specifically to the US healthcare market.

Sitecore’s new SaaS DXP is built on composable architecture, allowing users to plug in best-of-breed products from across the vendor’s 1200-strong partner ecosystem, and create an integrate platform to cover content, visitor and data processing at adjustable scale and through APIs.

“Our recent acquisitions have been fundamental to building the most advanced composable platform available today, something we see as the future of DXP,” Sitecore CEO, Steve Tzikakis, said. “By bringing our portfolio together in the cloud, brands can achieve this and enjoy a truly integrated, flexible and scalable platform – delivering personalised experiences for their customers, whatever the channel.”

Alongside the tech advancements, Sitecore announced three tiers of learning subscriptions – Essentials, Professionals, and Advanced – to drive up certifications across its platforms.

ActiveCampaign goes for custom play

ActiveCampaign has expanded the ability for users to unify and take action on customer data from any integrated solution through custom objects.

The latest platform enhancements mean businesses – small and large – can build customised automations across their technology stack using data specific to their needs. ActiveCampaign noted more than 870 integrations that 70 per cent of its customers use, showing the extent of data integration and app possibilities. The vendor also has 600 automation recipes that data can be leveraged across.

Through custom objects, ActiveCampaign said its updated Salesforce integration allows customers to trigger automations from updates and changes to Salesforce Opportunities – with ‘opportunity’ being the custom object. Businesses that use Zendesk Support with ActiveCampaign, meanwhile, can update contacts with details from new tickets or when a ticket changes, as well as automate creation of Zendesk tickets, using 'Ticket' as the custom object.

“Data flexibility and customisation have been available within the CRM market for years, but I'm thrilled we are taking those capabilities a step further by bringing our automation-first approach to custom objects and making them available to businesses of all sizes,” ActiveCampaign founder and CEO, Jason VandeBoom, said.

Qualtrics identifies Experience

Qualtrics has launched Experience ID, an identity offering that aims to provide a single view of everything customers and employees have shared with a company.

The vendor said the aim of Experience ID is to use conversational analytics, machine learning and journey orchestration to help organisations identify and close experience gaps in their business and identify new opportunities for growth. The list of individualised insights stretches from preferences to beliefs and feelings relating to the customer or employee’s experience of the product or brand. Qualtrics is also pitching aggregated views by segment, such as teams, geographies and verticals in order to identify emerging trends or new market opportunities.

Experience ID is built on the Qualtrics XM Operating System and brings in capabilities from its recent acquisitions: Conversational analytics vendor, Clarabridge, and journey orchestration player, Usermind. These have extended Qualtrics’ ability to capture customer feedback from call centre transcripts, social media posts, product reviews and survey data.

The vendor said four billion Experience IDs now exist in the Qualtrics XM Directory. 

As an example of how this new insight can be used, Qualtrics pointed to a rideshare company using Experience ID to collect and consolidate feedback a rider has shared via the company’s mobile app, on a call with customer support or social media. Using ML and conversational analytics, Experience ID can identify that the rider cares about ‘environment’ and ‘price’, signalling to the company that they should automatically notify the rider in the future of a new sustainability feature or pricing option. Experience ID also tags these topics to then create customer segments.

Read more: What you need to know about voice-based marketing

Qlik picks up Big Squid

Also on the acquisition trail this week is Qlik, which purchased Big Squid for its no-code automated machine learning solution. Financial terms were not revealed.

In a statement, Qlik said combining Big Squid with its existing augmented analytics capabilities expanded its augmented analytics suite for cloud analytics, further advancing Qlik’s vision of ‘active intelligence’, or technology-triggered, real-time actions from trusted data sources to drive business value.

Specifically, bringing Big Squid’s capabilities into the Qlik Cloud will give Qlik users key driver analysis, predictive analytics and what-if scenario planning with API deployable AI models for on-demand predictions directly within one platform. Big Squid’s pitch is enabling data and analytics teams with no-code AI-generated insights through trusted models directly in existing analytics efforts.

“Data and analytics teams know there’s incredible untapped potential to use data to predict and plan what will happen. What they lack is the resources and modelling expertise to discover and deliver the insights that fuel those efforts,” said Qlik CEO, Mike Capone. “With Big Squid’s SaaS no-code AutoML capabilities, teams will be able to seamlessly and easily augment their analytics efforts directly within Qlik with AI-driven models that deliver unique insights for timely planning and action when it matters most.”

Blueshift updates its SmartHub CDP

Blueshift’s SmartHub CDP is promising its users extensions to journey orchestration across all customer experience touchpoints including support, commerce, sales, loyalty, product and other CX channels.

The vendor said its latest SmartHub edition allows brands to orchestrate marketing and CX touchpoints together thanks to a new App Hub and next-generation omnichannel journey builder functionality. The name of the game is connecting the CDP more effectively with campaign management and customer service platforms.

New features include the ability to trigger options, filters, campaign controls and testing options within the BlueShift omnichannel journey builder canvas. There are also built-in AI offerings, such as Predictive Channel and Engage Time Optimization, to help marketers present the most relevant content in the right channel and at the right time to all customers seamlessly.

This is being supported by the vendor’s App Hub 80+ partner integrations, available via a no-code interface. These stretch from integrations with direct mail solutions such as Lob and Inkit, to customer support (Zendesk), sales (salesforce CRM), IVR and softphones (mPulse) and paid media platforms (Google, Facebook, Liveramp).

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