CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 27 October 22

All the latest martech and adtech news from Jasper, Oracle, Alida, NICE, InfoSum, Experian, Mortar, Lytics and Flaunter

Jasper raises US$125M in Series A funding round

Artificial intelligence (AI) content platform, Jasper, has raised US$125 million in a Series A funding round, bringing its total market valuation to $1.5 billion.

The round was led by global software investor, Insight Partners, and included participation from Coatue, Bessemer Venture Partners, IVP, Foundation Capital, Founders Circle Capital and HubSpot Ventures. The funding will be used for product development, to improve the customer experience, and to better connect Jasper to other creator platforms.

The funding followed hot on the heels of the release of Jasper Art, the vendor’s new text-to-image generation functionality. Available for Chrome, the browser extension allows Jasper users to take generative AI to power third-party textboxes and content platforms. The extension works across Google Docs, Gmail, Notion, HubSpot, Shopify, social media platforms and content management systems.

The startup’s flagship product, Jasper Anywhere, is about making generative AI accessible to businesses and individual creators to produce new content, artwork and also repackage content for format, language and tone. Jasper use cases include scaling content strategies, writing and illustrating children’s books, helping non-native speakers communicate, and enabling people to develop daily writing habits.

“Generative AI represents a major breakthrough in creative potential, but it’s still inaccessible and intimidating to many,” Jasper CEO, Dave Rogenmoser. “Jasper is working to bring AI to the masses and teach people how to leverage it responsibly so that businesses and individuals can better convey their ideas. We’re grateful to our investors for believing in that potential as firmly as we do.”

Jasper launched in January 2021 and claims more than 70,000 paying subscribers ranging from individual creatives to teams at large enterprises.

Oracle Unity CDP Expands AI models across industries

Oracle has taken the wrappers off 15 new AI models within its customer data platform (CDP) to help businesses personalise customer interactions to their specific industry.

The new baseline AI models are available in Oracle Unity, part of the vendor’s Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) offering. Sectors supported include automotive, consumer packaged goods, communications, financial services, healthcare, high-tech and utilities.

The AI can help with predicting customer behaviours or providing next-step recommendations. For example, a global car brand could use Unity’s Next Best Action and Next Best Offer models to recommend the most relevant actions and offers for every customer based on sales and transaction patterns. In the CPG space, an online cosmetics company can use Unity’s Customer Lifetime Value model to estimate a customer’s value over time based on profile and transaction patterns. It could then create a campaign for a new, high-end skin care product targeted at those customers who have bought less than two skin care products in the last six months and spent over a certain threshold.

“Every industry has its own unique language and processes. To make sense of the various types of data and gain a true competitive advantage, customer data needs to be viewed through the appropriate industry lens,” said Oracle CX executive vice-president and general manager, Rob Tarkoff. “Unity has always been more than a traditional CDP, and today we are making it even more powerful by enabling organisations to use the expertise Oracle has built from 40+ years of data modelling across the world’s largest industries.”

Alida launches Conversational Surveys

Experience management vendor, Alida, has debuted a new Conversational Surveys product as part of the Fall 2022 release of its Total Experience Management (TXM) platform.

The vendor said Conversational Surveys, delivered via SMS, will allow brands to reach a wider array of audiences and unlock insights through a more familiar, conversational style of feedback capture. Features include enhanced tools such as highlighter, media player, multiple choice grids in tables and language selection.

There’s also new Catalan language support in Community and Surveys, along with an ability to automatically detect device languages on Mobile App and translate all non-user generated content into multiple languages, including traditional and simplified Chinese.

Streamlining workflows has been given renewed attention, and Alida said users can develop, distribute and manage numerous communications across multiple segments and markets in a single workflow within Community. They can also distribute actions to specific roles across the organisation with the Actions tool, and login using single sign-on (SSO) credentials.

On the analysis front, there’s additional data filters to gain more granular insights and identify trends with Surveys and Community Reports.

InfoSum and Experian team up on identity

InfoSum has partnered up with Experian to enable brands, partners and media owners to leverage Experian’s identity graph when matching and working with first-party data sets in its data clean room technology.

The name of the game is to help organisations enrich their identity profiles and amplify match rates when collaborating on first-party data sets in a more privacy compliant clean room environment. Through the partnership, the pair are collaborating on identity resolution, data onboarding and data collaboration in one environment.

The two companies said the latest partnership also builds on both Experian’s and InfoSum’s existing integrations with IRI, enabling marketers to further enrich their first-party data, expand existing audiences and increase match rates without having to move or share their data. Through Experian activation destinations, customers can then push audiences across the supply chain to inform campaign performance.

The integration builds on Experian’s collaboration with InfoSum as an InfoSum Bridge participant, which first launched in 2021. InfoSum Bridge gives Experian and InfoSum clients the ability to leverage Experian’s digital and offline identifiers to strengthen interoperability and addressability.

“Using InfoSum’s data clean rooms in tandem with Experian’s identity solution, we’re seeing organisations have increased match rates and data enrichment across multiple partners – all while remaining in full control of their data,” said InfoSum chairman and CEO, Brian Lesser. “Experian’s goal of creating a suite of future-ready data collaboration solutions for their customers and partners is made a reality through utilisation of InfoSum’s privacy-enhancing technology.”

Experian Marketing Services and Data Quality president, Genevieve Juillard, added having a secure ecosystem for collaboration is increasingly important to marketers.

“With Experian’s market leading data and identity solution offered within InfoSum, together we are able to deliver on the vision of empowering companies to securely collaborate across first-,second- or third-party data,” she said.

NICE Enlightens journey orchestration

NICE is claiming an industry first with a new offering to orchestrate synchronous and asynchronous interactions at scale.

Enlighten Journey Orchestration employs real-time natural language understanding (NLU) and Enlighten AI Intent Classification models built on decades of data collected by NICE to help improve customer journey management. The CX vendor said Enlighten Journey Orchestration also executes real-time responses engaging self-service, proactive, knowledge or agent engagements based on the actions and outcomes of an organisation’s most successful interactions.

Enlighten AI’s pre-built models are designed to help an organisation determine ways consumers express themselves both digitally and with voice to understand consumer intent. The platform then identifies optimal execution paths by identifying historical interactions that generate the high sentiment values/results with the shortest effort.

NICE said it’s also using Enlighten AI at the heart of its CXone platform to complete decisions in real-time to understand intent and orchestrate successful journeys.

“We have continued our journey to move AI to the mainstream in CX with the goal of helping the industry achieve digital fluency. With the exciting advancements in Enlighten Journey Orchestration, front-end applications are not just smarter and with more interesting insights, customers can now accelerate their digital and self-service transformations with embedded technology at the heart of the journey,” NICE president, CX division, Barry Cooper, said.

Aussie-based Mortar debuts its digital marketing offering

Homegrown martech startup, Mortar AI, has officially launched its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform designed to help businesses excel in digital marketing.

Mortar AI said its mission is to offer a sophisticated, previously unaffordable, suite of digital marketing tools to businesses irrespective of size. These include a CDP, digital programmatic media buying functionality and data analytics, visualisation and reporting.

The platform uses AI and machine learning to understand a brand’s customer then identify, find and deliver new customers via first-party communications, media targeting, paid social and lookalike marketing.

“One of the key things that sets Mortar apart from other customer data platforms on the market is that we offer access to programmatic digital media campaigns,” claimed Mortar global sales director, Keiren Hemming. “At Mortar, our AI machine learning is trained to understand your brand’s ideal audiences and target them. Unlike paid social alone, the diverse data Mortar AI collects during programmatic advertising campaigns allows for precise targeting and retargeting that can support almost any marketing channel.”

Lytics composes new CDP approach

US-based Lytics has unveiled its Conductor customer data infrastructure, describing it as the centrepiece of its composable CDP offering.

Conductor connects and unifies customer data with the aim of generating better results across the marketing and data stack, improving ROI and reducing costs. The product sits alongside Lytics Cloud Connect, a reverse ETL solution using SQL attributes to access and important data from a company’s data warehouse to build segments; and Lytics Decision Engine, providing data activating capabilities.

The martech vendor said Lytics Conductor enables enterprise businesses to collect and manage customer data, manage identity and create unified profiles that can be used for activation. Conductor then loads all data into the warehouse in minutes to provide a standardised data set for further analytics and modelling across an organisation.

“Every company has customer data that is underperforming and, in today’s market, they can’t afford to,” said Lytics president, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff. “Conductor is the centrepiece of our platform’s composable strategy and will play a leading role in any organisation's data activation strategy, ensuring their ability to future-proof their customer data tech stack and eliminating any concern of large vendor lock-in.”

Flaunter changes hands, introduces new leadership line-up

Australian PR management platform, Flaunter, is transferring to new ownership and has set its sights on tapping additional industry verticals and international markets.

The SaaS platform was previously run by founder and CEO, Gaby Howard, who developed the platform as a way of digitising PR processes, reporting and providing access to images and resources for journalists, influencers and content creators. It’s also used as a tracking tool for brand sampling and gifting.

As of this week, Flaunter is now headed by managing director, Lisa Cachia, and general manager, Mel Cawston. The pair said they are focusing on new industry verticals and opening international markets. Howard has now moved to a new role as head of operations for ecommerce startup, Carted.

“Flaunter has taken me on an incredible journey, and I couldn't be prouder of what we have achieved. I'm excited to see what Lisa and Mel have in store for this next chapter. I know the company is in the best hands for its next stage of growth,” Howard said.

Flaunter clients include Givenchy, MAC Cosmetics, Oroton, Charlotte Tilbury and Globe West.

Cawston said over the past month, the platform has expanded its reach into the kids and baby, plus home and accessories industries, and hopes to launch into technology, wellbeing and wedding verticals in coming months.

“What started as a platform for the fashion industry is quickly becoming an innovative solution for brands, agencies and media across many industries both in Australia and internationally,” said Cachia. “We have so many plans for the platform to drive engagement and performance metrics and we will continue to be a digital disruptor in this industry. Flaunter is going to be an even better place for visual content to exist.”

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