CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 13 January 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Vision6, ironSource, Tapjoy, BlueConic, Nosto, Lotame, Gainsight, AskNicely and ActiveCampaign

Constant Contact acquires Vision6

Homegrown email and SMS marketing platform, Vision6, has been acquired by Constant Contact for an undisclosed sum.

US-based Constant Contact, a digital marketing platform also provided oriented towards SMB, confirmed it’d signed the acquisition agreement this week on a deal expected to close in Q2, 2022.

Established in 2001, Vision6 offers an SMS and email marketing platform in Australia and has a client base stretching from small business to government, non-profits, retail and marketing agencies. Clients include IVE Group, Mitsubishi Electric, Big4 Holiday Parks and poolwerx.

The two companies said bringing Vision6 together with Constant Contact provides a platform for growth in the Australian market and will enable Vision6 customers to enjoy the benefits of Constant Contact's comprehensive digital marketing software platform.

“The acquisition of Vision6 will bring us a strong management team with a deep commitment to serving Australian customers,” said Constant Contact CEO, Frank Vella. “I look forward to working with the Vision6 team to lead investment and growth within the Australian market."

Vision6 co-founder and CEO, Mathew Myers, was also pleased to be joining forces. “Constant Contact is not only a leader, but a pioneer in the industry, and I look forward to leveraging the depth of their solutions to bring increased value to our customers and partners in Australia.”

BlueConic CDP gains strategic private equity investment

BlueConic has secured a strategic investment from private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, to accelerate growth of its customer data platform (CDP).

The investment was led by Vista’s Endeavor Fund and will go towards accelerating BlueConic’s global expansion efforts. The sum invested was not disclosed. Existing investors, including Spring Lake Equity Partner, Sigma Prime Ventures and Converge Venture Partners, will continue as minor investors in the company.  

BlueConic’s CDP platform is used by more than 300 companies worldwide including Heineken, ING, T-Mobile and VF Corporation.

“In today’s privacy-first era, I truly believe Vista is the best possible partner to help BlueConic – and our customers – fully capitalise on the growing demand for the collection and use of consented first-party data,” said BlueConic founder and CEO, Bart Heilbron. “This investment marks an exciting milestone in our company’s journey that will allow us to leverage Vista’s substantial knowledge and expertise as we continue on our mission to transform how companies operate by putting unified, actionable first-party data in the hands of growth-focused users.”

Nosto acquires SearchNode

Commerce experience platform, Nosto, has made its second company acquisition, picking up ecommerce search tech player, SearchNode, for undisclosed sum.

Nosto said SearchNode’s award-winning search technology, which is driven by natural language processing, will allow clients to implement site personalisation, merchandising, segmentation and testing strategies natively to further optimise shopper journeys.

“As we integrate personalised search into our AI-powered commerce experience platform, for the first time, retailers will be able to leverage the full power of search data across the entire store to deliver seamlessly connected, personalised commerce experiences from the moment a user lands on their site,” claimed Nosto CEO, Jim Lofgren.

The transaction follows Nosto’s acquisition of Stackla Visual user-generated content offering in May 2021. With the addition of Visual UGC and Search integrated into the core of the Nosto Commerce Experience Platform, Nosto claimed it’s now positioned to offer retailers a comprehensive range of commerce experience optimisation capabilities within a unified platform.

The deal is subject to regulatory and other approvals and conditions.

IronSource completes Tapjoy acquisition

Meanwhile, ironSource has officially completed its acquisition of Tapjoy, a move it says will increase monetisation opportunities for app and game developers.

Israel-based and New York Stock Exchange listed ironSource announced its acquisition of Tapjoy, a mobile marketing and monetisation company, last October in a deal worth US$400 million. The acquisition is designed to strengthen ironSource’s offering for app developers, with increased access to in-app inventory, as well as tools for in-game advertising.

Tapjoy is designed to help advertisers connect with app users and was founded in 2006 in San Francisco. It’s one of four acquisitions made by ironSource in 12 months. Others include in-app monetisation player, Soomla, video and playable ad platform, Luna and mobile app marketing automation vendor, Bidalgo.

“This acquisition, along with others we’ve made recently, will increase the number of access points we have into app-based businesses, as well as provide additional opportunities to expand the number of solutions customers use on our platform,” ironSource CEO and co-founder, Tomer Bar Zeev, said.

Lotame and FullContact partner up to improve data connectivity

Consumer identity resolution-as-as-service player, FullContact, has struck a partnership with Lotame with the aim of offering marketers and advertisers improved data connectivity across the open Web without third-party cookies.

The crux of the partnership is the new, more effective data onboarding solutions. To do this, FullContact’s identity graph will be integrated with the Lotame Panorama ID for scale and activation. FullContact’s person-based identity graph allows marketers to onboard offline data without exposing personally identifiable information (PII) to the digital media ecosystem.

The companies said as clients onboard first-party data to Lotame, FullContact’s Resolve identity resolution product will offer a significantly higher match rate to Lotame’s Panorama ID, as well as faster turnaround through custom integration. This is done so Lotame clients can more quickly leverage first-party data for monetisation, audience expansion, targeting and measurement.

“Marketers have been frustrated with the onboarding solutions available to them,” claimed FullContact CEO, Christopher Harrison. “Existing solutions are too expensive, slow, too reliant on third-party cookies and match rates are subpar. This partnership presents a new option that lets brands onboard, enrich and activate their data better and faster than before, while respecting an individual’s privacy.”

Lotame brings the FullContact solution an ability to engage addressable audiences across a growing number of activation partners including MediaMath, AdForm and PubMatic, as well as traditional activation channels like demand-side platforms (DSPs) and ad servers (such as Google Ad Manager).

“We were specifically looking for a privacy-first partner with good SLAs to commit to building a framework for bringing offline data into an addressable ID space. We found that partner in FullContact,” Lotame global partnerships lead, Pierre Diennet, said.

Gainsight acquires community software player

Gainsight has joined the acquisition trail this week, signing an agreement to purchase inSided, a privately held company based in Amsterdam.

InSided has a community management platform that’s used by hundreds of companies including Gainsight, Gong, Productboard, Hopin, Sprout Social and Zapier. Gainsight said the addition of inSided to its existing products ensures a company’s digital products, customer-facing teams and client communities are connected together across the customer journey.  

“Every technology company wants to increase net revenue retention [NRR], the number one driver of shareholder and enterprise value,” Gainsight CEO, Nick Mehta said. “In our research with clients, the top strategy they were using to scale was to leverage communities to bring users directly into the customer success process and to connect customers with their peers. We are excited that the addition of inSided to our portfolio now allows Gainsight clients to scale digital customer success efforts across community-led, product-led, and customer-led growth initiatives.”

Gainsight has been in the customer management game since 2013, and in 2018 debuted Gainsight PX, as a product and customer teams platform to conduct product analytics and personalise in-ap customer engagement. With this latest acquisition, Gainsight said clients will be able to extend the existing suite with a customer community hub, centralising all content and engagement for end-users in one single platform.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

AskNicely raises US$32m for frontline team solution

Fellow customer service tech player, AskNicely, has completed a US$32 million Series B funding round and is launching its new Frontline Success platform.

The funding round was led by Five Elms Capital with participation from existing investors, Nexus Venture Partners and Blackbird Ventures. As part of the funding, Ryan Mandl from Five Elms will join the AskNicely board.

The funding is earmarked for helping AskNicely create next-gen customer experience software for service businesses, bringing better technology to frontline teams. This including doubling headcount.

“It’s kind of outrageous that the class of worker most impactful on the customer experience is also the most under-served, under-paid, and under-appreciated,” commented CEO, Aaron Ward. “We’ve designed AskNicely for the frontline worker and made it our mission to make frontline work awesome.”

Ward said the Frontline Success platform takes inspiration from some of the world’s leading people-powered businesses who’ve invested in technology to coach and motivate millions of frontline workers with no requirement for supervision or layers of traditional management. 

“Brands like Uber and Airbnb have proven how customer feedback can be gamified for customer-facing staff to unlock small daily improvements which, over time, drive status and rewards with concepts like ‘Superhost’ or ‘Uber Platinum Pro’,” he explained. “For the first time, any service business can now empower every frontline worker with the same capability in a simple mobile app.”

Ward claimed early customers have seen NPS results double and chalked up millions in sales and marketing cost savings from increased repeat purchases and referrals.

ActiveCampaign debuts more Growth Accelerator apps

Digital marketing platform, ActiveCampaign, has taken the wrappers of new Growth Accelerator Apps aimed at helping customers better automate events, surveys, data storage and direct mail.

The Growth Apps ecosystem launched in the second half of 2021 and has produced an array of apps complementary to ActiveCampaign’s core offering. The latest on offer provide an ability to automate gifting sends and direct mail from Sendoso through ActiveCampaign CRM; functionality to trigger feedback surveys through Delighted by updating ActiveCampaign deals and contacts; integration with the Snowflake marketing data automation platform; and seamless tie-ins with ecommerce automation solution, Magento.

“We’re already seeing customers succeed with the integrations from this program, and I’m confident that more customers will benefit from these new apps as we kick off 2022,” ActiveCampaign founder and CEO, Jason VandeBoom said.  

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