CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 3 March 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Zendesk, impact, Genesys, Bloomreach, BigCommerce, Hey Yabble, Truescope, Semrush and Kompyte.

Zendesk abandons Momentive acquisition plans

Zendesk has terminated its whopper US$4 billion acquisition of SurveyMonkey owner, Momentive, after failing to secure the approval of several of its shareholders.

Under the terms of the deal, first announced in November, Momentive stockholders would have received 0.225 shares of Zendesk stock for each share of Momentive stock, or about $28 per outstanding share, giving Zendesk a 78 per cent holding and bringing the value of the deal to over US$4 billion.

However, the plan was decidedly unpopular with several investors, including Jana Partners and Janus Henderson, who began proceedings to take on additional board seats as they worked to block the deal in advance of a vote on 25 February 2022. Zendesk also rejected an unsolicited takeover proposal submitted earlier this month, saying it did not value the company highly enough.

In its latest statement, Zendesk said it did not receive the approval of its stockholders to adopt the proposal to issue shares in connection with the proposed transaction.

“While we were excited by the potential of this transaction to transform the customer experience and create stockholder value, we respect and appreciate the perspectives of our stockholders,” said Zendesk CEO and founder, Mikkel Svane. “We remain focused on accelerating our rapid growth in the enterprise, continuing to lead the market with easy-to-use and innovative products and, importantly, unlocking opportunities to create value for customers by empowering them with rich, multi-dimensional customer intelligence.”

Svane also stressed Zendesk remains strong, chalking up 30 per cent revenue growth to $1.34bn in 2021 and said it’s on track to reach $3.4bn by 2025.

Thrive and Genesys partner up

Customer service management vendor, Genesys, has teamed up with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive business to create new solutions countering employee burnout and improve their experiences on the job.

Thrive Reset is aimed at enabling organisations embed wellbeing tools directly into workflows for workers to de-stress, reset and recharge in real time. The pair said an early pilot with a retailer showed offering showed a 17 per cent lift in productivity scores as well as a 5 per cent increase in customer satisfaction ratings.

A key element is the ability to course-correct an employee from stress in 60 seconds. For example, frontline employee who has just experienced a tough customer call could be given a brief video-based break designed to reduce stress and help them reset. Other triggers could be number of calls handled or call duration.

Genesys and Thrive also plan to enable automatic delivery of wellbeing breaks for employees during critical times using technologies like real-time AI-based sentiment analysis determined by key factors including mood of the previous interaction, behaviour and tone of voice. Thrive Reset for Genesys will be available in March to businesses via the Genesys AppFoundry.

Bloomreach secures US$175m in funding

Commerce experience cloud vendor, Bloomreach, has just achieved a US$175 million funding round led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management.  

The latest investment injection brings Bloomreach’s market valuation up to US$2.2 billion. The company said the money will help it accelerate growth through investments into its data platform and ecosystem, extend geographic reach and better service all segments of the market, especially mid-market and enterprise.

Bloomreach pitches its approach as a ‘best of pillar’ strategy focused on ensuring each of its product pillars - discovery, content and engagement - modularly remain best-in-class while also offering a well-integrated commerce experience cloud for personalisation.

In a blog post, Bloomreach CEO and co-founder, Raj De Datta, said the company is entering a new chapter and set to go after a $21 billion ecommerce market and projected $38 billion in ecommerce experience software spending.

“If the first 20 years of ecommerce have been about standing up the store, or simply transacting online, then the next 20 years are about standing out from the crowd or differentiating in the face of increased digital competition and rising consumer expectation,” he commented.  “Our teams at Bloomreach have become the authors of this new story of ecommerce, devoting ourselves to the single-minded pursuit of architecting the world’s number one Commerce Experience Cloud.”

Aussie media intelligence startup raises $6.2m

Home grown media intelligence startup, Truescope, has secured $6.2 million in funding to support its international expansion efforts.

The latest investment round was led by venture capital firms, Investible and Jelix Ventures, as well as other private investors. The funds will be used to launch and support Truescope’s USA market entry and accelerate engineering and technology innovations in the SaaS platform’s pipeline.

Truescope was founded in 2019 by former Media Monitors chief, John Croll, and ecommerce and tech expert, Michael Bade. The company has 250 clients across Australia, Singapore and New Zealand and is building out a commercial team in the US, with development based in Australia.

“The Truescope platform was built after we recognised an opportunity to help brands take better advantage of communications technology. We are hiring a fantastic team in the US with a wealth of industry experience, and this factor, coupled with the smartest media intelligence platform in the market, means we’re excited to make a difference to the communications industry,” said Croll. “Now to have this support from the calibre of investors that we do, we know that our strategy stacks up and we’re on track to being one of the leading media intelligence SaaS platforms globally.”

BigCommerce and Digital River integrate

Our second ecommerce platform story this week is from BigCommerce, which has teamed up with Digital River to provide merchants with a commerce solution for fully managing payment, tax, fraud and compliance across borders.

The all-in-one Merchant of Record integration encompasses compliance and risk protection and an embedded global tax management solution and aims to simplify cross-border selling, accelerate global expansion and drive revenue. Merchants can integrate Digital River’s Merchant of Record business model directly to deliver localised checkout experiences for both onshore and cross-border sales directly from within their BigCommerce store.   

As well as global payment localisation, other use cases include instant access to transaction routing technologies, streamlined order management processes and risk management around local tax requirements in 240 markets.

“Cross-border ecommerce continues to grow rapidly, and this partnership comes at a time when many merchants are prioritising expansion to reach international customers,” said BigCommerce CEO, Brent Bellm. “Our partnership with Digital River provides the global commerce solutions needed to go to market faster, at a lower cost and without the risk and complexities typically associated with cross-border commerce.”

Hey Yabble sets sights on disrupting the insights space

New Zealand data insights vendor, Hey Yabble, has taken the wrappers off its evolved flagship product aimed at helping teams better automate and translate business insights.

The Hey Yabble product combines in-house proprietary algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to generate insights from any unstructured text data. The product's new feature, Hey Yabble Count, joins Hey Yabble Query as the cornerstone of the Yabble offering and can be used separately or in tandem. The vendor claims Count and Query are unprecedented within the insights industry as tools that improve productivity, save hours of manual work and create detailed, transformative business insights.

To do this, the vendor is leveraging OpenAI’s GPT-3 technology and proprietary algorithms, which can take unstructured text data and analyse it for themes, sub-themes and sentiment.

“Hey Yabble’s fully automated insights engine can now count, read, analyse and summarise any unstructured text data at a complete level in a matter of minutes — as opposed to days when done manually,” Yabble CEO and founder, Kathryn Topp, said. “This gives users the unmatched and incredibly valuable opportunity of addressing an insight much more quickly, allowing them to spend more activating against the insight and less time processing data.”

As an example, Topp said one customer analysed previously difficult to access insights from call centre transcripts to better understand their customer queries and staff support using Hey Yabble Count. Another national retailer used Hey Yabble Query to generate insights from customer satisfaction comments down to an individual store level.

Semrush to acquire Kompyte

This week’s successful acquisition is being undertaken by online visibility management player, Semrush. The company has announced plans to purchase Kompyte, which has created a competitive intelligence automation and sales enable platform.

US-based Kompyte is an AI-driven solution designed to simplify tracking, compilation and analysis of competitor insights for sales, marketing, product development and executive teams. It does this by consistent monitoring of competitors’ holistic online presence.

“We were always looking for a martech product that uses market data to bring other teams to the table,” said Semrush chief strategy and corporate development officer, Eugene Levin. “Kompyte is exactly that and can be used by almost every department. Marketers can monitor the best campaigns across their industry to find inspiration, product teams can monitor critical feature updates of their competitors and changes in pricing, and sales teams can use battle cards to improve their win rate versus other industry players.”

Levin said the acquisition will expand Semrush's ability to help its customers beyond their marketing departments, and he noted 88 per cent of Kompyte’s total user base falls within sales organisations. The acquisition will also further extend Semrush’s Trends functionality, accelerating its competitive intelligence product offerings.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Impact.com goes on hiring spree in APAC

Partner management software player, impact.com, has made a raft of new hires as well as promotions to support the Australian, New Zealand, Japan, China and Southeast Asia markets and support expansion plans into India.

The latest tranche of roles includes the promotion of Ayaan Mohamud to inaugural VP of marketing for APAC. Impact has also increased its marketing team headcount in A/NZ to seven. Other hires stretch into customer success, partnership and sales teams with Deborah Kan joining as partnership development manager, A/NZ, and Hayley Tse joining as customer success manager, ANZ. Regionally, Kim Sippel has been recruited as corporate account executive, APAC, and Diana Letran has been appointed pre-sales solution architect.

The latest hires come eight months after the company closed a US $150 million round of funding at a $1.5 billion valuation in preparation for an IPO, part of which was earmarked to enable impact.com to double the number of its employees across APAC in 2022.

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