CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 17 March 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Brandwatch, Adobe, Acxiom, Sitecore, WeCommerce, Progress Software, Movable Ink, HubSpot and ReverseAds.

Brandwatch acquires influencer marketing platform

The first of our acquisitions this week is from Brandwatch, which has picked up influencer marketing platform provider, Paladin, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal sees Brandwatch bringing full influencer marketing capabilities into its product offering less than a year after being bought by Cision. Founded in 2016, Paladin offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to help brands and agencies run more effective influencer marketing campaigns by covering influencer discovery, campaign management and reporting.

Brandwatch said it was determined to create a suite that gives more options for brands, creators and consumers to find each other.

“Influencer marketing and management is the next evolution of how marketers and communications professionals utilise digital and social media,” said Brandwatch president, Ulrik Bo Larsen. “It's the next and most important phase of the social landscape. Paladin has built an exciting company out of California that has grown into a successful global business, making influencer marketing easier for marketers. We're excited to rapidly accelerate their reach and scale the hell out of this.”

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

Adobe debuts CDP, AI and integration enhancements to Experience Cloud

Adobe has used this week’s global Summit to announce a plethora of new features, tools and integrations across the Adobe Experience Cloud aimed at addressing three overarching ambitions: Unified customer data management, content velocity and end-to-end customer journeys.

On the customer data platform front, and a year after launching its RT-CDP offering, Adobe debuted new capabilities connected through to other parts of its Experience Cloud offering aimed at fast, flexible and trusted data connection and orchestration. These include a fresh integration between the CDP and Adobe Target to activate customer profiles as audience segments; a partnership with OneTrust’s third-party consent management platform to provide tools for managing personalisation using customer consent data; and Real-Time CDP Connections, allowing brands to streamline data collection, enrichment and distribution with low-code implementation.

AI enhancements using the Adobe Sensei engine across the portfolio were also announced. Among these are new sales opportunity predictions through Adobe’s Real-Time Customer Data Platform (CDP) for B2B teams, new Attribution AI models in Customer Journey Analytics that allow users to view how online and offline campaigns across end-to-end customer journeys are performing then recalibrate attribution models against ROI targets; and an extension of the AI attribution service to inform Marketing mix modelling that takes advantage of Adobe’s acquisition of Workfront last year.

Read our full report on all the product news here.

WeCommerce completes acquisition of KnoCommerce

Also celebrating an acquisition milestone this week is WeCommerce, which completed the purchase of ecommerce survey and insights platform, KnoCommerce.

WeCommerce is a provider of ecommerce enablement software and tools for merchants. The company said KnoCommerce, which enables merchants to capture and act on zero-party data collected directly from customers, was highly complementary and further spurred WeCommerce’s growth trajectory.

KnoCommerce was incubated by Lunar Solar Group, an ecommerce and digital growth consultancy. The business will continue to be led by CEO, Jeremiah Prummer and operate as an independent brand within the WeCommerce portfolio. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“KnoCommerce has a superior management team tackling one of today’s biggest industry challenges and opportunities. Their business is also highly complementary to our existing portfolio, and we’re looking forward to partnering with them to accelerate their growth trajectory,” WeCommerce CEO Alex Persson, said. “As zero-party data continues to play an increasingly vital role in ecommerce and overall customer understanding, KnoCommerce is well positioned to become the leading zero-party data platform for merchants worldwide.”

Movable Ink crosses US$100 million in annual recurring revenue

Content personalisation vendor, Movable Ink, has crossed the US$100 million in annual recurring revenue threshold and highlighted a number of achievements over the past year that helped it reach the revenue milestone.

On the list are the acquisition of artificial intelligence (AI) content engine, Coherent Path, which aims to help marketers understand customer intent and activate data by serving personalised content across touchpoints. Movable Ink has also expanded across Europe, increased its employee base by 300 people to more than 500 globally, and extended solutions partnerships to 60 through the Movable Ink Exchange.

The company said the client list now includes two of the top three global media companies, two hefty global hotel chains, and six of the top 10 US retailers.

“This is a major milestone. The Martech5000 lists more than 8000 martech solutions, but strikingly, only a few dozen have surpassed the $100 million revenue mark. Movable Ink is in a class of exceptional companies and growing faster than ever,” claimed Movable CEO and co-founder, Vivek Sharma.

HubSpot relaunches Service Hub

HubSpot has revamped its Service Hub offering, introducing a new customer portal, inbound calling, SLA management and other features.

The customer service software platform was first introduced in 2018 and allows teams to use feedback insights to inform customer journey improvements, as well as tap into tools for team and case management. Australian clients include Cars24 and the Australian Institute of Fitness.

Key features of the new-look HubSpot Service Hub include a customer portal to keep ticket conversations going between customers and reps with the aim of resolving issues faster. Service level agreement (SLA) management tools help companies prioritise incoming requests based on importance to ensure that service teams are meeting customer expectations, while mobile inboxes offer tools for collaboration and delivering support efficiently while on the go.

Inbound calling is also now in beta and allows teams to receive calls to a mobile device and track inbound calls from customers in the HubSpot CRM platform.

“Consumers tolerate poor customer experiences and end up feeling overlooked and disappointed far too frequently. Combatting this is why we originally launched Service Hub, which has since evolved to include all new features that strengthen the customer experience and provide authentic interactions that not just satisfy the customers’ needs, but delight them too,” HubSpot director of success, JAPAC, Sabina Sobinina, said.

“We know almost every customer [93 per cent] is more likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service, which is why it’s so important that teams have a unified understanding of customers.”

Progress unveils latest Sitefinity DX version

Progress has taken the wrappers of the latest version of its Sitefinity DX offering, providing a new layer of composability for developing and deploying multichannel digital experiences.

The latest 14.1 release takes advantage of the .Net 6 framework to build on composable elements of the digital experience platform, speeding up front-end development and cross-platform deployment. It’s also offering new digital asset management system integration with Cloudinary and Frontify, plus advanced search capabilities augmented by AI using Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search.

In addition, audience analysis, segmentation and targeting tools using AI are based on content consumption and expand personalisation opportunities by conversions and touchpoints.

“The CMS market is evolving towards composable DXPs and organisations need a trusted technology partner to help them remove the complexity and compile the right solution that will propel them forward,” said Progress John Ainsworth, EVP, enterprise application experience. “That’s why Sitefinity DX is designed to cover all essential aspects for marketers and developers including digital experience, application experience and agile infrastructure. We provide numerous cross-integration opportunities so that organisations can get everything they need from one vendor.”

Acxiom and Sitecore announce tie-up

Acxiom Real Identity is now integrated with Sitecore’s customer data platform (CDP) offering after the two companies partnered up to improve first-party data capabilities for brands.

The customer intelligence firm said the combination of Acxiom Real Identity with Sitecore CDP is designed to help brands extend the view of customer and prospect journeys by observing behaviours across all owned and paid media digital interactions. Sitecore’s CDP uses advanced decisioning to inform next-best action and can personalise Web customer experience in real time. The pair together will power a first-party identity graph with tagging and persona enrichment capability to better inform customer journey decisions.

Specific use cases identified included fuelling enterprise-level use cases from operations to marketing to data governance, more consistently connecting people across touchpoints, devices and channels, better maintaining changing customer information and providing a preferred customer view tailored to the brand’s needs.

“Every brand needs to accept the reality of a cookie-less world and start treating their first-party data as a strategic asset,” said Acxiom global chief strategy officer, David Skinner. “This partnership with Sitecore will be crucial in helping our customers operate in this new environment, where leading brands will compete based on the quality of the insights from their first-party data.”

ReverseAds secures US$600,000 in startup funding

Keyword advertising startup, ReverseAds, has secured US$600,000 in initial funding from Asian financing and growth platform, Choco Up, to support its expansion, product development and talent acquisition efforts.

Through Choco Up’s funding, ReverseAds will be accelerating its business growth in APAC, Europe and the United States. On the list are opening the firm’s first office in Australia, ramping up research in product development and expanding the team to support its accelerating growth. The funding will also lead to incorporation of blockchain technology as part of ReverseAds App’s ecosystem.

ReverseAds’ keyword advertising platform uses blockchain to validate that every click is from authentic, potential buyers of clients’ products or services, without Personal Identifiable Information (PII) collection or storage. It claimed integrating blockchain helps clients ensure compliance with major data privacy regulations. With ReverseAds’ assignment algorithm, companies can identify users' keywords based on past searches, clicks, likes, follows, and purchases, all within GDPR, CASL, and CCPA guidelines.

Headquartered in Singapore, ReverseAds employs staff from 27 countries, with offices in Phuket, Bangkok, Canada and the US. Over the past year, its monthly revenue has grown by 500 per cent and its year-over-year growth has exceeded 260 per cent from 2020 to 2021. 

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