CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 24 November 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Zendesk, Freshpaint, HotJar, iion, Tealium, Deloitte, Fast Simon, Talkdesk and AppHub.

Zendesk purchased by investment group for US$10.2bn

A private investor consortium led by Hellman & Friedman and Permira has completed its acquisition of customer experience management platform, Zendesk, worth US$10.2 billion.

The acquisition was first announced on 24 June 2022 and approved by Zendesk stockholders in September. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Zendesk shareholders receive $77.50 per share in cash. Zendesk common stock will cease trading and the company will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, returning to private ownership. Zendesk will remain headquartered in San Francisco.

Qatalyst Partners and Goldman Sachs & Co served as financial advisors to Zendesk, while Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal advisor. Morgan Stanley & Co served as financial advisor to the investor group.

Zendesk was founded in 2007 as a technology vendor focused on bringing customer service online. Today, it works with more than 100,000 brands globally across telephony, chat, email, messaging, social, communities, review sites and help centres.

Freshpaint secures US$14.5m investment

Customer data-focused vendor, Freshpaint, has secured US$14.5 million in financing including $9.5m in Series A funding led by Intel Capital.

The Y Combinator-backed company aims to help businesses capture and activate customer data across hundreds of integrations including Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Iterable, Braze and Snowflake, without relying heavily on engineering. As part of the Series A investment, Intel Capital senior managing director, Nick Washburn, will join Freshpaint’s board of directors.

Freshpaint said it planned to use the funding to support rapid expansion of its platform and to launch a free tier to help startups unlock customer data. Founded in 2019, the company’s approach aims to help teams automatically ensure their sites or apps have analytics tracking and can generate a behavioural customer dataset that can then be activated via integrations with other analytics and marketing tools.

“Our goal is to help businesses get the customer data that is table stakes for building better products, driving engagement, improving retention, and growing faster. The teams who care about customer data usually don’t sit in software engineering – they’re data teams, product managers, growth marketers and other business users,” said Freshpaint co-founder, Steven Fitzsimmons. “All the existing tools to collect and use customer data were specifically built for developers who live in the codebase, so we set out to make customer data accessible to everyone who is not a software engineer.”

Freshpaint customers include Breville, and Thumbtack, as well as B2B companies like Bitrise and Modern Health.

Hotjar acquires PingPong

Website testing and optimisation vendor, Hotjar, has acquired user experience research platform, PingPong, to extend its product testing capabilities.

The company said its first acquisition was driven by a broader ambition to reinvent benchmarks around website product testing. PingPong is being rebranded to Hotjar Engage and will sit alongside Hotjar’s Ask (surveys and feedback) and Observe (heatmaps and recordings) products.

PingPong boasts of a 150,000-strong consumer respondent base which it uses to conduct moderated user interviews to guide product development. The offering is now in open beta and available to all Hotjar users to schedule, run, record and share user interviews. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

“We’re extra excited about this new offering—and we hope you are, too—because we know the added value user testing and interviews bring to the product development process. This, after all, is how our own product teams work,” Hotjar said in a blog post.

Iion goes full ‘immersiion’

Adtech vendor, iion, has taken the wrappers off a self-serve platform aimed at bridging the gap between monetisation and advertising in all gaming environments.

Immersiion is pitched as a self-serve advertising platform purpose-built for the gaming ecosystem and includes campaign building tools. The platform can be used by brands to find a target audience in all gaming environments, then build and serve creative based on contextual relevance.

The ambition is to provide in-game advertising solutions, around the game solutions, as well as connected advertising outside of the direct gaming environment including gaming news, streaming and content marketing. Iion does this through a proprietary suite of building and selling game technology, which it claims reaches 3 billion engaged gamers globally. This includes 264 million APAC profiled users across all platforms.

According to iion co-founder, Giuseppe Martoriello, the exponential rise in the gaming community represents a massive opportunity for advertisers.

“As the first-ever advertising platform that connects game publishers and brands through a holistic targeting experience within all IAB-defined gaming environments, immersiion provides brands with an entire new channel that is comparable to online and TV - but more fun and innovative,” he said. “We’re excited that immersion is the first platform to really scale in-game advertising - where you can run innovative types of campaigns across mobile, PC and console games with display, video and audio formats.”

Tealium and Deloitte partner up

Customer data platform (CDP) vendor, Tealium, has joined forces with Deloitte in a bid to help brands better unlock consent-based data opportunities.

The pair have released a centralised consent management solution to educate and enable businesses in revolutionising real-time consent management. The solution is customisable in order to solve for unique customer and compliance requirements and covers strategy through to development of consent-based data approaches.

Tealium and Deloitte have also put together a supporting whitepaper to assist with navigating data privacy regulations.

The two companies said their centralised consent management solution has recently been adopted by Kmart, with the department store using Tealium’s CDP and Deloitte’s strategic support to build out a consent model that resolves the issue of data fragmentation to enable consent-first omnichannel experience activation. The companies claimed Kmart achieved a 200 per cent increase in its consenting customer base in six months.

Fast Simon launches personalisation at scale play

US-based shopping optimisation vendor, Fast Simon, has debuted its Audiences – Personalization at Scale solution powered by AI.

The new toolkit is designed to help ecommerce merchants take an integrated approach to targeted audiences by designing personalised shopping experience by type of customer, then measuring the impact of campaigns for current and future shopper groups.

Specifically, the new Audiences module allows merchants to personalise for anonymous shoppers through collections, search, upsell and cross-sell, as well as import audiences and customer segments from Klaviyo to then enrich these with behavioural data for targeting purposes. There are also ‘Time Frames’ to create specified relevant groups, plus the ability to combine real-time browsing behaviour with data from a customer data platform to create a meaningful shopper experience based on past purchases, geography and intent. In addition, there are analytics tools for reporting.

“Too often, merchants personalise a sliver of the customer journey or remarket only to current customers,” said Fast Simon co-founder and CEO, Zohar Gilad. “Our AI uses real-time personalisation in collections, search and recommendations, based on shopper behaviour and intent, which translates to a much higher conversion rate.”

Talkdesk extends Builder suite of contact centre tools

Talkdesk has expanded its Talkdesk Builder portfolio of low-code and no-code customisation tools for the contact centre with two new additions.

Talkdesk Automation Designer is a no-code, point-click-publish tool for frontline workers to help them design AI-powered automations across the customer journey. It also provides functionality to build dynamic conversation workflows and optimise business processes for a variety of use cases.

Talkdesk Workspace Designer meanwhile, is pitched as a low-code tool for empowering IT teams and business users to design, modify and launch customised user interfaces for every contact centre role.

“Most organisations want to prioritise CX innovation and recognise the need to transform their contact centres, but they’re encountering hurdles,” commented Talkdesk chief product, engineering, and customer officer Charanya Kannan. “Through our Builder portfolio and new tools like Automation Designer and Workspace Designer, Talkdesk is creating smarter ways for them to eliminate the barriers to contact centre customisation and bypass expensive, lengthy development cycles. Now they can achieve their CX goals faster, while also outpacing the competition.”

Other Builder tools include Talkdesk Connections, Talkdesk Studio and Talkdesk Explore.

AppHub acquires

Another of our acquisitions this week is by AppHub, an ecommerce enablement platform.

The company has acquired, a 10-year-old, UK-based business founded by Callum McKeefery and Nicole Albano with a customer review, loyalty, survey and user-generated content (UGC) solution. It’s since grown to support 8000 customers.

The deal comes after AppHub secured a US$60 million growth investment from Silversmith Capital Partners and is the company’s eighth and largest acquisition to date. As part of the acquisition, McKeefery will join the AppHub Board. Financial terms were not disclosed.

While a strong market position, AppHub said it saw significant opportunities to accelerate its growth by leveraging AppHub’s broad customer base, multi-product offering and value-add services.

“The product suite offered by fully supports the AppHub mission to build software that enables ecommerce success,” said AppHub co-founder and co-CEO, Arjun Batra. “Our combined platform addresses a range of pain points for ecommerce businesses including marketing, conversion, logistics, and now reviews, making it well positioned to serve both SMB and enterprise customers.”

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