CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 7 April 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Salesforce, Cyara, Braze, Validity, Permutive, Neustar, GupShup, Databricks and Smart.ly

New Salesforce Service and Marketing Innovations unveiled

New features across Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud have been announced, aimed at connecting the automation and employee dots with customer data and more effective workflows.

On the Service Cloud list is Contact Lens for Amazon Connect, which provides advanced conversational transcription for phone calls, full-text search on call transcripts, real-time sentiment analysis and real-time supervisor alerts to deliver agent coaching. The new features use machine learning and will be natively supported for customers using Service Cloud Voice with Amazon Connect.

Salesforce has also struck new Service Cloud partnerships with Google Cloud and Genesys aimed at giving customers more choice on how they use Service Cloud voice and enable AI-powered recommendations and automated workflows for teams. These integrated include new telephone connectors from both Google Cloud and Genesys to integrate phone and customer data, automate call transcriptions and notes and enable agents to receive real-time suggestions while they’re on a customer call.

Field service teams also got a look in. A fresh addition to the Salesforce Field Service App is a multi-level offline briefcase to serve up necessary records regardless of whether users are online or offline. The briefcase can house personalised work plans, flows, inventory information and knowledge articles. The final Service Cloud enhancement revealed is Visual Remote Assistant, which gives customers the option to schedule in advance and initiate a one-to-one virtual support session with augmented reality from their phone.

Among the Salesforce Marketing Cloud innovations announced are new customer data platform (CDP) and intelligence features. One of these is Streaming Insights and Data Actions, allowing marketers to capture near real-time data signals such as a new customer, a recent product transaction or payment issue, to trigger workflow events.

Advanced Identity Resolution uses AI to match and merge disparate data for better customer identification. Key use cases alluded to include removing duplicated fields as well as connecting the dots on records with names that have multiple spellings or frequently shortened nicknames. New Anonymous Profiles are also designed to track profiles and build data insight on customers when they are in the anonymous state, then connect that data to their profiles once they become known.

Following its acquisition of Datorama, Salesforce also confirmed new additions to Marketing Cloud Intelligence. These include new enhancements to Intelligence Reports for Engagement, which aim to help marketers shift from email open rates due to privacy changes. Instead, they can review by device, client, OS and browser and optimise new KPIs for conversions, clicks by link, bounce types, unsubscribes, complaints, and click event lag.

Finally, new interactive visualisation tools were announced to compare currencies, channels, campaigns, time series and business units in a single customisable view.

Cyara buys chatbot testing vendor

Cyara has acquired automated chatbot testing company, Botium, extending out the chatbot and conversational AI capabilities of its customer experience platform.

Botium provides automated CX assurance capabilities across digital channels. Cyara said the deal is about providing a platform that will test customer journeys cohesively, regardless of channel or whether those journeys are delivered through a single platform or multiple best-of-breed solutions.

Botium has tested more than 100 million chatbot and the company has a 92 per cent recurring customer rate with 1500 Botium Box customers, in addition to 185,000 open source users. Under the deal, Botium’s workforce will join Cyara’s digital CX assurance development team. It also expands Cyara’s existing international presence to Central Europe, with Botium’s offices based in Austria. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition is part of Cyara’s strategic plan for international growth and product innovation, fuelled by a recent $350 million growth investment.

“This acquisition is a major milestone in Cyara’s growth and it further enhances our ability to help companies assure their end-to-end customer experiences,” said Cyara CEO, Alok Kulkarni. “We are so pleased to join forces with Botium to provide an easy way for enterprises to ensure their CX through an IVR, chatbot, agent-based phone, or some combination of voice and digital channels is flawless.”

Braze ups the ante on commerce capabilities

Customer engagement platform, Braze, has taken the wrappers off new products and enhancements to its Braze for Commerce offering aimed at supporting dynamic personalised campaigns driven by first-party data.

Among the new features is Braze Catalogs to infuse product data into cross-channel messages. Recommendations can be quickly built from catalogue data and reused across multiple campaigns using new Braze Content Blocks for drag-and-drop editor. This allows brands to pair individual shoppers with the most relevant products, offers and updates with a no code approach. Braze Surveys then allows retailers to collect zero-party data on shopper preferences to inform campaign personalisation.

There’s also a newly enhanced Braze Audience Sync feature to unite owned and paid channels. Linking native Braze emails, two-way SMS, mobile and Web with paid social channels enables brands to reduce ad spend by immediately shutting off Facebook or Google ad campaigns the moment a shopper converts elsewhere.

In addition, Braze has announced general availability of its Shopify integration available in the Shopify App Store.

Gupshup buys conversational AI player

Conversational engagement player, Gupshup, has Active.Ai, a conversational AI platform used by banks and fintechs. The acquisition is about strengthening Gupshup’s customer experience solutions for BFSI customers.

Singapore-based Active.Ai serves BFSI customers across 43 countries with a conversational banking-as-a-service (CBaaS) platform, enabling more than 300 million user interactions via voice, video and messaging as well as more than 30 million service requests and 50 million enquiries with 95 per cent accuracy. The company has established partnerships with AWS, Microsoft, Infosys (Finacle), TCS, Finastra, EY, PwC and Accenture.

“Active.Ai’s robust CBaaS platform adds more vertical depth to our product stack, giving BFSI customers the tools to create intelligent, frictionless micro conversations with consumers using voice, video and messaging channels,” said Gupshup co-founder and CEO, Beerud Sheth. “We are happy to welcome the Active team to the Gupshup family and look forward to driving the next phase of innovations in conversational engagement and commerce.”

The purchase price has not been disclosed. Gupshup became a unicorn in 2021 with a market valuation of US$1.4 billion after raising $340 million from several investors including Tiger Global, Fidelity Management and Research Co. The company acquired Knowlarity in February, its second acquisition in four months, following the purchase of Dotgo, which produces a rich communications services platform.

Validity introduces DemandTools

Validity has launched DemandTools Elements, a new lower-cost option within its DemandTools suite.

The cloud-based solution aims to help businesses more easily dedupe data within Salesforce CRM, thus ensuring teams operate more efficiently and with trustworthy data.  It does this via a dashboard view of a business’ current duplicate levels across leads, accounts, contacts and opportunities, plus controls on how duplicates are identified and how each field value is handled. Users can also find and merge duplicate records in standard and custom objects using 25+ matching algorithms and pre-configured matching rules, custom master record selection and field-level data retention rules.

“Data health is at the core of a business and, if compromised, can cause a devastating ripple effect that impacts the bottom line,” said Validity global head of data solutions, Chris Hyde. “With the support of DemandTools Elements, companies can ensure their data remains their most valuable asset in achieving their overarching CRM goals.”

Databricks Delta Live Tables debut

AI and data management company, Databricks, has announced general availability of its Delta Live Tables (DLT), which it’s pitching as the first ETL framework to use a simple declarative approach to build reliable data pipelines and automatically manage data infrastructure at scale.

Turning SQL queries into production ETL pipelines often requires a lot of tedious, complicated operational work. By using modern software engineering practices to automate the most time-consuming parts of data engineering, data engineers and analysts can concentrate on delivering data rather than on operating and maintaining pipelines.   

Delta Live Tables is the first and only ETL framework combines modern engineering practices and automatic management of infrastructure. According to the vendor, this simplifies ETL development by allowing engineers to simply describe the outcomes of data transformations. Delta Live Tables then understands dependencies of the full data pipeline live and automates much of the manual complexity. It also enables data engineers to treat their data as code and apply modern software engineering best practices like testing, error-handling, monitoring, and documentation to deploy reliable pipelines at scale more easily. Delta Live Tables fully supports both Python and SQL and is tailored to work with both streaming and batch workloads.  

“The power of DLT comes from something no one else can do - combine modern software engineering practices and automatically manage infrastructure. It is game-changing technology that will allow data engineers and analysts to be more productive than ever,” claimed Databricks CEO and co-founder, Ali Ghodsi. “It also broadens Databricks’ reach; DLT supports any type of data workload with a single API, eliminating the need for advanced data engineering skills.”  

Neustar and Permutive partner up

Neustar and Permutive are describing their new partnership as one that will enable trusted connections between advertisers and publishers in a post-cookie world.

The pair are looking to bridge the gap between consumer identity data and a privacy-first Web by bringing together Neustar’s Fabrick data connectivity platform within the Permutive Audience Platform for advertisers and publishers to collaborate securely without the use of third-party cookies or device IDs. The partnership aims to safeguard advertiser and publisher first-party identity data while enabling addressability, transparency and privacy in digital advertising.

Advertisers and publishers can build and activate their desired audiences at scale via Publisher Cohorts across high-quality, premium publisher inventory. These cohorts group like-minded users based on similar characteristics and behaviours while protecting individual identity. Advertiser audiences are activated as Publisher Cohorts through Permutive’s Audience Platform in real-time.

“This partnership unlocks the connection between leading publishers and advertisers by delivering addressable advertising that scales while safeguarding publisher data and reinforcing their direct business,” said Perutive head of partnerships, Steve Francolla. “Permutive’s Audience Platform powers the leading Publisher Cohort Infrastructure on the open Web. Extending Neustar Fabrick into cohorts allows publishers to meet advertisers' demand for their audiences in a secure environment. This partnership is the first integration of this kind at Permutive and paves the way for a more responsible Web.”

Smart.ly enhances automation play

Social advertising automation platform, Smartly.io, has rolled out new advertising automation capabilities for retailers and big-box brands.

There are three unique enhancements for retailers: Budget Pacing Visualizer, Dynamic Local Inventory Ads, and Cross-Campaign Budget Optimization. Budget Pacing Visualizer is a platform-agnostic feature, supported for Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter, which supplies visual representation of campaigns’ budget pacing progress as compared to the target spend for specified timeframes and date ranges.

The Dynamic Local Inventory Ads capability allows for dynamic ads to leverage a local inventory feed on top of a product catalogue for campaigns on Facebook. This gives consumers insight into a product’s store-level price and availability. Smartly.io also enables retailers to customise these ads with branding, logos, borders and other overlays to further enhance the product imagery.

Cross-Campaign Budget Optimization, which is already available on Facebook and Snapchat, can now also be leveraged on Pinterest. For example, retailers can optimise budgets across multiple campaigns on Pinterest that have the same campaign objective in order to maximise ROAS.

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