CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 15 November 2018
- 15 November, 2018 06:33
SAP to acquire Qualtrics for US$8bn
SAP has announced plans to buy Utah-based experience software vendor, Qualtrics, for US$8bn in cash, a move taken just as the latter was preparing for an IPO next.
Qualtrics produces a cloud-based customer and employee research and survey management platform, and was founded by CEO, Ryan Smith, in 2002. Speaking at a SAP user group conference in the UK, SAP executive board member, Adaire Fox-Martin, said the acquisition helped “create a powerful and unique opportunity for customers to mix the operational data of SAP with Qualtrics experience data”.
“By combining SAP's Enterprise Resource Planning [ERP], CRM and Human Capital Management [HCM] operational data with Qualtrics experience data she believes SAP can offer “a very unique operational and management system from the first customer interaction, through to delivery and after-sales service,” he stated.
But while not a surprise for many in the industry, some analysts have questioned the long-term impact of Qualtrics in SAP’s end-to-end experience management push.
Zendesk debuts open standards CRM
Zendesk has taken the wrappers off its new open standards-based Sunshine CRM platform built on the Amazon Web Services public cloud.
The vendor is pitching the new platform as a more flexible approach to CRM, allowing businesses to connect and understand all customer data from disparate places, as well as build and deploy customer apps and services more quickly.
Capabilities include enabling users to create a single, unified profile of the customer across applications, as well as ‘events’, a feature uniting customer activity such as service interactions, website visits, purchase transactions and shipping history into an historical timeline. Another key tool is custom objects, for collecting ancillary information and attaching it to CRM records, such as products owned, equipment rented or telemetrics data from connected cars where relevant.
Alongside Sunshine, Zendesk has launched a new sales force automation tool, Zendesk Sell, which the vendor said is the first step towards integrating sales-based automation software into its portfolio of products. It’s also released a data analytics product, Zendesk Explore, which integrates with all other Zendesk offerings.
“We built Sunshine to shed light on the many different dimensions of customers and their data, while giving developers the freedom to build the way they want in the public cloud,” Zendesk founder and CEO, Mikkel Svane, said.
AdRoll bolsters B2B agenda with acquisition
AdRoll has taken another step forwards in servicing B2B marketers, acquiring sales automation and database startup, Growlabs.
Two-year-old Growlabs offers a B2B database and suite of lead generation and outbound sales automation technologies. AdRoll said it will leverage Growlabs’s data set of 12 million companies and 320 million business identities to enhance its proprietary data graph of more than 1.2 billion digital profiles. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition complements AdRoll’s account-based marketing solution, RollWorks, which launched earlier this year and is aimed at helping B2B marketers better locate key decision makers, engage them across multiple digital channels, and measure the impact of marketing activities on revenue.
“Our advanced AI engine, combined with this data set, will power cross-channel marketing campaigns that reach contacts most likely to buy from companies and that matter most. All this, while optimising marketing budgets,” AdRoll Group CEO, Toby Gabriner, said in a blog post. “The capabilities the Growlabs team brings will enable us to provide richer data and actionable insights to our B2B customers, accelerating their revenue growth.”
Data analytics and visualisation player raises US$10m
Ptmind, another vendor joining the data visualisation software fray, has reportedly raised US$10 million in Series B funding to further its expansion plans.
The eight-year-old, data analytics and visualisation company, which has offices in Tokyo, Beijing and Seattle, secured the funding in a round led by Aplus Capital, bringing total cash raised to date to US$30 million.
In a statement to VentureBeat, director of marketing and product for Ptmind subsidiary Datadeck, Ben Dolgoff, said the funds will be used to develop and expand the flagship Datadeck product, bringing in improved automation, team workflow and machine learning features. It’ll also be put towards expanding the international workforce, with particular emphasis on Japan, Malaysia and the US.
Swiftpage steps into the next Act!
Small business-oriented martech player, Swiftpage, has launched the next generation of its Act! Platform providing integrated CRM and marketing automation.
Available in English in North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand from this week, the vendor said its latest offering has been purpose-built for SMBs. It includes tools for customer management, such as campaign management features, a visual workflow designer to map out the perfect customer journey, real-time response metrics, and CRM workflows to fuse marketing and sales efforts.
There’s also a focus on dynamic sales pipeline management, with in-context KPIs to improve sales funnel management, drag-and-drop capabilities and advanced filtering. Other functionality stretches from business insights to enhanced integration capabilities with business optimisation applications.
“Just like big enterprises, in order to stay competitive, small businesses are always looking for ways to improve customer engagement, drive retention, and increase loyalty through repeat business,” said Swiftpage president and CEO, H. John Oechsle. “With the introduction of Act! marketing automation to the portfolio, we are now able to provide our customers with the ultimate toolset to drive business growth.”
Aprimo touts new product enhancements, integrations
Marketing operations management vendor, Aprimo, is promising better data visibility for marketing decision making thanks to its latest product enhancements and integrations.
The vendor has officially launched Aprimo Connect, an integration framework to help customers utilise various tools in combination with Aprimo solutions. The low-code integration platform is designed to streamline access with 200 integration points, as well as better integrate the Aprimo offering with partner solutions.
There are also new budget allocation features, such as what-if scenarios, annual and quarterly budget allocation and regional budget planning visibility, projected ROI, budget approval processes and year-on-year comparisons.
The vendor said the new Aprimo Insights delivers templated dashboards, visualisations and reports. It’s also launched a new services practice offering business intelligence services to deliver customer-defined modifications or create additional interactive reports leveraging insight.
These efforts are being supported by artificial intelligence-based enhancements aimed at making easier to tag and reuse content, appropriately route tasks, and automate work such as speech-to-text transcription, video transcription and resource allocation recommendations.
Hootsuite takes on LinkedIn Notifications
Hootsuite is claiming it’s the first vendor partner to build on LinkedIn’s new Notifications API, aimed at helping companies using the social platform to improve engagement on their company pages.
Thanks to the new integration, Hootsuite said its users will be able to schedule and publish video directly onto LinkedIn from within its software, as well as directly mention pages using @ in LinkedIn posts. They can then monitor audience comments about content and respond to posts via Hootsuite, all via a new-look re-authentication process.
“Hootsuite worked closely with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions to make it easier for our customers to drive engagement and succeed with social on LinkedIn,” said Hootsuite VP of strategic alliances, Stefan Krepiakevich. “As a strategic partner of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, we’re thrilled to be the first social media management platform to build off LinkedIn’s Notifications API to deliver added value to our customers.”
Impact’s ad fraud solution gets tick of approval
Forensiq by Impact, a full-funnel ad fraud protection solution, has gained cross-offering accreditation by the Media Rating Council.
The industry body’s tick of approval encompasses display and video served impressions measurement as well as display and video served impressions measurement across desktop, mobile Web and in-app, along with display and video viewability measurement across desktop and mobile Web.
The accreditation also marks compliance with invalid traffic provisions of MRC’s Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration guidelines across desktop and mobile traffic. Forensiq employs machine learning and bot fingerprinting to identify and block invalid Web traffic for agencies and brands.
The accreditation coincided with news Impact has opened a second Asia-Pacific office in Singapore, further extending its regional footprint. To man the ship, it’s appointed Antoine Gross as its first Southeast Asia country manager, reporting to APAC MD, Adam Furness.