CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 15 December 2022

All the latest martech and customer tech news from Zappi, Dialpad, MessageGears, Optimizely, Zitcha, Integrate, 6sense, NICE and Soprano Design

Zappi secure US$170m for AI market research platform

Zappi tops the list of martech investment rounds this week, securing US$170 million for further development of its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven market research platform.

The bulk of investment is from Sumeru Equity partners, with support from non-disclosed investors. Zappi said it hopes to accelerate its position by expanding data sets across new markets, verticals and categories; adding more AI and natural language processing into the platform, and to continue expanding its team globally.

Zappi’s platform is designed to provide AI-powered research using historical data points from various studies. The business was founded in 2012 by market research veterans and now has more than 300 staff across 13 countries. Clients include PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Heineken and Reckitt.

“Zappi has a bold vision for the future: We want to digitise consumer insights for every enterprise,” said CEO and co-founder, Steve Phillips. “Today, only 3 per cent of the market research industry is digitised. The other 97 per cent is controlled by service-based incumbents that are slow, expensive, analogue and don’t fit the needs of creators.

“Sumeru’s experience in high-growth, innovative SaaS businesses and commitment to people and growth culture made them the perfect partner to help us achieve this ambitious vision.”

MessageGears raises US$62m in funding

Customer engagement platform vendor, MessageGears, has also gained significant funding this week, securing US$62 million. The latest investment brings the total raised over the last 11 years to $80 million.

The new investment will support accelerate innovation of the company’s technology platform, with an emphasis on bolstering its mobile channel capabilities, expanding its global presence and ‘opportunistically’ exploring acquisitions. The latest round was led by Long Ridge Equity Partners with participation from Argentum Group and Atlanta Ventures. Alongside the investment, Angad Singh of Long Ridge has joined MessageGears’ board of directors.

MessageGears’ platform aims to help enterprise marketers leverage zero- and first-party data to personalise engagement with customers across email, SMS and other channels. Its differentiation point is being able to directly accessing brands’ data repositories instead of relying on cloud data syncs

“Over the next few years, we are going to see a continuing wave of enterprise B2C brands investing in moving their first-party customer data to the Snowflake Data Cloud, AWS, BigQuery, or other modern data warehouses,” said MessageGears CEO, Roger Barnette. “This funding will help us bring our vision and platform to benefit more global brands.”

Optimizely touts its platform ROI

Optimizely has published a new Total Economic Impact study conducted by Forrester Consulting on its behalf to detail the return on investment its digital experience platform customers can expect.

According to the report, Optimizely DXP drives US$9.84 million net present value (NPV) and $2.2 million in savings as a result of cutting back subscription fees through retired tools. Forrester also stated customers can realise a 370 per cent ROI after deploying the DXP over a three-year period, with a payback period of eight months on average.

To help arrive at an average ROI and subsequent financial analysis, Forrester Consulting interviewed five decision-makers who are Optimizely DXP customers. During these discussions, customers also flagged common challenges with experimentation capabilities, struggles with content management solutions and a lot of manual effort to maintain integrations vital to their website presence.

Other highlights in the Forrester report included improved site stability, personalisation and content organisation, plus up to 75 per cent time savings for developers and marketing teams when deploying, updating and organising content as well as hours of time savings when experimenting.

Dialpad pitches new AI-powered customer intelligence category offering

Dialpad is pitching its new offering as an AI-powered customer intelligence platform bringing together contact centre, sales, voice, meetings and messaging with integrated real-time AI analysis and workflow capabilities.

The vendor said the aim of the game is to unify customer service, sales communication and employee collaboration. Backing the new platform approach is AI-related research and development in speech recognition and natural language processing, as well as Diaplad’s acquisitions in semantic search and digital contact centre solutions.

The platform taps 3.34 billion minutes of real-time AI data, as well as combines the vendor’s AI contact centre, AI Sales, AI Voice, AI Meetings, and AI Messaging products. It then uses built-in speech recognition and natural language processing to deliver insights and automate employee and customer workflows.

The platform launch comes after Dialpad raised US$170 million in new venture financing. The company said it’s now globally expanded, introduced new digital channels and AI virtual agent support in its AI Contact Centre offering. It’s also debuted Dialpad for Startups.

“Every company is looking for new ways to engage with customers for faster sales cycles, easier expansions, and higher retention to adapt amid today’s economic uncertainty and the hybrid working world – and old software and tools founded on legacy systems aren’t built to provide the insights companies need,” claimed Dialpad CEO and founder, Craig Walker. “Dialpad’s Ai-Powered Customer Intelligence Platform is industry defining and will lead businesses of all sizes into the future, helping customers unlock tremendous advances in collaboration, productivity, customer satisfaction, and revenue for long-term growth.”

Retail media platform provider hitches up to PwC

Retail media platform provider, Zitcha, has inked a collaborative relationship with PwC Australia as it looks to help retailers take advantage of the growing retail media space.

Zitcha offers tools to connect the omnichannel media assets of retail publishers, including instore, offsite, onsite and in-home, then automate purchasing of media across these channels in a self-serve platform. The Zitcha-PwC collaboration, which the pair stressed has no commercial component, will see the companies unite to offer retailers and media agencies complementary services that span from strategic business planning through to execution and implementation.

Zitcha co-founder and CEO, Troy Townsend, described the collaboration as another significant milestone for the software platform. It comes after Zitcha raised $4.7 million in growth funding from Australian venture capital firm, OIF Ventures.

“PwC is engaging with us because the group want to talk to clients about the best solutions available in the marketplace and they regard Zitcha as an industry-leading platform,” he said. “We were attracted to collaborating with PwC by their industry-leading corporate governance credentials which we think will provide invaluable insights for our joint clients.”

Townsend said the next step was for Zitcha and PwC to hold roundtables with retailers, which would introduce the platform to those looking to enhance their retail media offering.

“There is an understanding now, particularly in the US, but increasingly in Australia, that this can be a high margin offering for retailers and an alternative advertising opportunity for a broader spectrum of buyers,” PwC Australia Director, CMO Advisory, Dan Robins, said. “The retail environment in the past 10 years has been highly competitive so there is an incentive for retailers to refocus on the retail media side and see if there are opportunities to make incremental revenue.”

Integrate and 6sense debut integration for better ABM targeting

B2B demand marketing platform, Integrate Partners, has debuted a new integration with 6sense aimed at better targeting accounts through account-based marketing (ABM) programs.

The new API integration between 6sense and Integrate allows joint customers to upload 6sense segments directly into Integrate’s Demand Acceleration Platform with automated list updates. It’s a partnership designed to better leverage 6sense’s AI-driven insights to help companies connect and engage with high-value buyers across multiple channels including through content syndication, social media, digital, and virtual and in-person events.

“Automatic delivery of dynamic AI insights to inform B2B marketing campaigns, even as buying behaviours change, represents cutting-edge revenue technology that we are delighted to offer our customers alongside Integrate,” claimed 6sense head of partnerships, Elliot Smith. “Customers on both sides will benefit greatly from this enhancement, and the 6sense partner ecosystem will be strengthened as a result.”

“We are committed to innovating with our B2B community and ecosystem of partners to move martech forward, and that includes improving the ability to connect account-level data, channels, and technology to drive predictable pipeline,” added Integrate chief product officer, Aaron Mahimainathan.

NICE launches Enlighten AutoSummary

NICE has taken the wrappers off Enlighten AutoSummary, an out-of-the-box, AI contact centre solution for automatically generating contact centre summaries of every customer interaction with an agent.

The interaction notes generated by Enlighten AutoSummary include customer contact reason, actions and outcomes. The solution achieves this by using purpose-built, predictive AI models based on industry customer experiences datasets. The platform works with customer relationship management (CRM) systems so all notes are easily accessible by any agent through these tools. Summary data can also be pulled through broader analytics programs to ensure promised actions and outcomes, such as callbacks, have been scheduled, for example.

NICE president, CX division, Barry Cooper, said Enlighten AutoSummary is the next step in the vendor’s focus on improving customer experience interactions through AI technology utilisation.

“Our latest out-of-the-box solution automatically identifies contact reasons and outcomes with high accuracy– allowing the agents to focus on the customer at the present moment. And, whether the last interaction was five minutes or five months ago, Enlighten AutoSummary provides the next agent and the supervisor with everything they need to know for more personalised, seamless customer service every time,” he said.

Soprano Design aims to prevent fraud with detection and prevention service API

Global communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) provider, Soprano Design, has debuted a new Fraud Detection and Prevention Service API for its enterprise messaging suite, Soprano Connect.

The latest update aims to give users the ability to protect message recipients from increasingly sophisticated forms of fraud, including call forwarding, SIM swap and roaming intercept fraud. To do this, users can set a ‘risk threshold’ on their account that will filter messages above the threshold.

The solution uses algorithms to assess every interaction passing through the Soprano platform against parameters set by the customer. An example the vendor detailed was sending OTP only to destinations ‘with a risk less than Y’. The functionality is being rolled out globally now, with full availability already available in Australia. 

“With this update to our Fraud Detection and Prevention Service we are making it more difficult for bad actors to manipulate the recipients of our customers’,” said Soprano Design CEO and co-founder, Dr. Richard Faver. “We know the organisations using Soprano Connect will feel safer with these enhancements.” 

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