CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 28 July 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Cordial, Amobee, Oracle, Microsoft, Alida, Infobip, InfoSum and Annex Cloud.

Cross-channel marketing and data platform raises US$50m

Cordial, the owner of a cross-channel marketing and data management platform, has secured US$50M in its latest Series C funding round.

The investment injection is earmarked for bolstering Cordial’s product offerings, expanding its global presence and helping elevate its cross-channel engagement platform’s position in market. The vendor’s services clients include Eddie Bauer, Revolve and Boot Barn.

NewSpring led the round, with new investor, ABS Capital. Alongside the investment, NewSpring Growth partner, Brian Kim, will be joining Cordial’s board of directors while ABS Capital partner, Bion Ludwig, will serve as an observer on its board of directors. This latest round brings total investment in Cordial to $85 million including funding from previous investors, High Alpha and Upfront Ventures.

Specifically, Cordial said it’s looking to accelerate innovation by launching new platform enhancements for maximising the value and impact of each customer message, activating data, and set new precedents for the amount and type of first-party data possible in personalised customer engagement. 

“The fundamentals of customer engagement have radically shifted. If marketers are not connecting all of their data to marketing execution, they are at a significant disadvantage,” said Cordial CEO and co-founder, Jeremy Swift. “We created Cordial with great intention, building for this new horizon of customer engagement.”

Amobee sold to Tremor for US$239m

Nine years after making the acquisition, Singtel has offloaded digital adtech business, Amobee, for US$239 million to focus on higher-return growth areas.

The Singapore-based telco is divesting its US digital media and advertising subsidiary to adtech firm, Tremor International, under a deal valued at US$239 million. After transaction costs and adjustments for debt, the net proceed SingTel expects to realise from the sale was $197 million.

Nasdaq-listed Tremor International has a video-based platform for orchestrating digital advertising campaigns across the open Internet. The divestment comes nearly nine years after SingTel first bought the Amobee DMP business, a deal it said would help it scale and deliver real-time, personalised marketing to mobile consumers. The original acquisition was worth US$321 million.

In a statement, SingTel said the decision to divest Amobee is in line with a strategic reset to sharpen its business focus and recycle assets and capital into growth areas with higher returns.

“This divestment reflects our resolve in executing to our strategic reset,” Singtel Group chief executive officer, Yuen Kuan Moon, said. “We are actively reshaping our portfolio to ensure optimal allocation of resources towards new growth drivers, as well as improve shareholder value.”

Completion of the Amobee divestment is expected by September 2022 and subject to sale conditions as well as regulatory approvals.

Read our full report on the sale here.

Alida debuts customer journeys, platform enhancements

Alida has taken the wrappers off its Summer 2022 product release, introducing 15 capabilities across customer experience (CX), employee experience, product experience and brand experience.

The list includes Alida’s new Customer Journeys product, allowing users to integrate and collect data on customer engagement, as well as build customer journeys with viewability around metrics and recommendations for optimisation. Other new features include the ability to create configurable analysis dashboards from touchpoint data and across customer feedback and interactions, favourite and view preferred dashboards and surveys in the mobile app or by page, as well as adjusting surveys and insight conditions using advanced survey logic and segments.

There’s also text analysis for open-end responses via the one-click dashboard wizard, plus across social media channels using Social Reviews.

Workload management has also been given a facelift with new functionality for managing large groups of users in the Alida platform with a simple CSV upload, the ability to clone reports and their configurations on Surveys to quickly deploy recurring research activities and leverage existing activities as templates, and tools to design curated lists of participants on video discussion using filters.

“With Alida’s new Customer Journeys, organizations can pinpoint customer feedback at all critical touch points and monitor performance to deliver better end-to-end experiences,” said Alida president of products and engineering, Riaz Raihan.

Microsoft launches Digital Contact Center Platform

Microsoft has this week launched its Digital Contact Center Platform, an open, extensible and connected contact centre solution powered with Nuance AI, Teams and Dynamics 365.

The platform is designed to bring together a comprehensive range of solution to serve the contact centre, plus deliver AI to power self-service experiences, live customer engagements, collaborative agent experiences, business process automation, advanced telephony and fraud prevention, Microsoft VP of business applications and platforms, Charles Lamanna, said in a blog post.

The launch comes more than a year after Microsoft acquired natural language processing vendor, Nuance. This brought with it new conversational IT, security and automation capabilities for customer management. Microsoft has also partnered with Accenture–Avanade, Avaya, Genesys, HCL, NICE and TTEC on interoperability and compatibility with existing contact centre systems and components.

“The open nature of our platform enables companies to build on what they already have and easily add any combination of capabilities they need to take their contact centre to the next level,” Lamanna said. “It integrates with a variety of contact centre infrastructures and customer relationship management systems.”

Key features highlighted by Microsoft include customer self-service and automation tools for repeatable tasks, AI-based intent predictions, journey, tracking and sentiment analytics, the ability to intelligently connect customers to virtual and live agents with relevant skills, experience, capacity and availability and AI-powered recommendations for agents, tools for delivering hyper-personalised omnichannel service across voice and digital engagement channels, including major social messaging platforms. The solution also sees Microsoft Teams voice and video embedded within Dynamics 365 Customer Service.

Microsoft said it’s using integrated biometric identification, authentication and fraud prevention to build and maintain brand customer trust. To do this, new contact centre platform employs biometric authentication to authenticate customers based on inherent biometrics and other factors.

Infobip teams up with Microsoft on digital communications

In other Microsoft related news, Microsoft partner and cloud communications vendor, Infobip, has made its SMS and WhatsApp solutions available through Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing.

The integration is being pitched as a way to help businesses communicate with their customers over more of their preferred channels to improve the customer experience and boost sales. The integration follows Infobip’s deployment of its Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) on Microsoft Azure last year, adding its omnichannel capabilities to Microsoft’s platforms.

Businesses using Dynamics 365 Sales can now use Infobip to build personalised customer communication campaigns using text messages and benefit from WhatApp’s enhanced features such as graphics and video capabilities. This includes sending personalised coupons to existing or potential customers to increase sales, collecting customer feedback to improve products and services, and sending bespoke event, appointment, or payment due date reminders. Data from a single-view dashboard also aims to provide a more complete view of customer communications across these new channels.

The integration of WhatsApp with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, meanwhile, is about allowing marketing teams to interact with customers where they are most likely to engage. Azure customers will also have the option to use existing Azure credits, as part of the Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment (MACC) program, to access Infobip’s cloud contact centre solution conversations.

Infobip VP of strategic partnership, Veselin Vuković, said the evolution of collaboration with Microsoft demonstrates its commitment to ensuring businesses can communicate with their customers using their preferred channel.

Oracle automates seller tasks in next-gen CRM

Oracle today has debuted a new version of its Oracle Fusion Sales automation application promising more sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) driven tools to help with the sales process.

Part of Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) Fusion Sales uses AI to provide sellers with quotes, proposals and recommended steps to help them increase productivity, close more deals, and instil confidence among buyers. Functionality includes a step-by-step guided process and customisable templates to help sellers onboard faster and engage with accounts as well as progress opportunities. Sellers can also automate the process of re-qualifying and converting marketing leads into opportunities. Connected to Oracle Fusion Marketing, Fusion Sales automatically creates highly qualified leads and then passes them to sellers for follow-up.

Oracle has also automated quotes and proposals so sellers automatically receive initial quotes, proposals and implementation schedules when opportunities are created. These are automatically updated throughout the sales process as a deal progresses and are based on historical data such as prior successful deals, a customer’s industry and account attributes. In addition, there are intelligent content recommendations for marketing-approved content, plus revenue intelligence around business trends and customer sentiment.

Finally, the platform offers the ability to build personalised microsites with resources such as quotes, past contracts, reference stories, buying signals and details for past or upcoming digital meetings.

“Traditional CRM systems were designed to be a system of record for planning and forecasting versus a tool to help sellers sell more,” said Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience executive vice-president and general manager, Rob Tarkoff. “Applying 40 plus years of data and business process expertise, we have done the heavy lifting to engineer the next era of CRM. Oracle Fusion Sales removes the manual steps in the B2B sales process to help sellers close more deals faster and more efficiently.”

Annex Cloud and Ometria partner up on customer loyalty

Loyalty management solution provider, Annex Cloud, has paired up with customer data and marketing platform, Ometria.

The alliance combines Ometria’s customer data platform (CDP) and cross-channel marketing orchestration solution with Annex Cloud’s Loyalty Experience Solution and is aimed at giving companies data, insights, tools and capabilities for loyalty management. This allows for audience segmentation and the ability to leverage predictive insights for personalised cross-channel campaigns across email, mobile, direct mail, in-store, on social and more.

Annex Cloud’s Loyalty Experience Platform is designed to help collect unique consent-based data that enriches customer profiles and allows brands to adapt to evolving needs in real time to improve engagement, increase repeat purchases and reduce churn. On offer are extensible engagement modules, including gamification, Refer a Friend, user-generated content (UGC), influencer management and integrations with industry leading CRM, CX, point-of-sale and mobile platforms.

“Being able to understand and adapt to evolving customer behaviours and preferences is essential to creating value-based, timely and relevant experiences that build lasting relationships,” said Al Lalani, CEO and Co-founder, Annex Cloud. “Joining forces with Ometria will make it easy for brands to engage, recognise, reward and build emotional bonds with each customer.”

The two companies said they’re now rolling out global implementations for mutual customers.

InfoSum launches new data clean room

Data collaboration platform provider, InfoSum, has launched Platform Sigma, a new way of helping clients collaborate across their first-party data assets.

Describing the latest platform approach as the most significant in its history, InfoSum said its looking to provide organisations with safe, secure and interoperable infrastructure to build and manage their own data clean rooms. To do this, Platform Sigma provides a software layer that can sit on top of any existing technology stack to power private and secure collaboration between multiple first-party datasets.  

“InfoSum has been the driving force behind the rapid adoption of data clean rooms and privacy-enhancing technology. Platform Sigma takes InfoSum’s lead in the industry even further,” InfoSum chairman and CEO, Brian Lesser, commented. “Platform Sigma represents the next stage in data collaboration, eliminating all barriers to entry for enterprise organizations to extract the full value from their first-party data – safely and securely – with no risk and no limits.”

Included in the Platform Sigma release are cloud vault, a file streaming solution living within a client’s cloud infrastructure to operationalise first-party data without movement yet publish data for collaboration in a controlled way. There are also tools to manage, prepare, process, query and activate first-party data, as well as log-level files, plus a pre-canned library and bespoke capability for executing analytics models, data visualisations, segmentation and measurement.  

InfoSum has also offered up an integrated development framework that enables third parties to build Web applications directly on its infrastructure to provide advanced insights and functionality.

As part of the Platform Sigma launch, InfoSum said it’s also launching Safe Audience Transfer, an open-source project that leverages its patented privacy-enhancing technology in order to create interoperability between all data silos and systems including clean room-to-clean room operations.

Read more: Why second-party data is crucial to marketers

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