Accenture acquires Australia’s leading Oracle Cloud provider, PrimeQ

PrimeQ, the leading Oracle Cloud provider in New Zealand and Australia, was acquired this week by Accenture. The acquisition bolsters Accenture’s leading Oracle capabilities and helps deliver new value to clients by accelerating their digital transformation through Oracle Cloud.

From the release: “PrimeQ has extensive experience implementing Oracle SaaS Cloud solutions, which complements Accenture’s established credentials across the Oracle Cloud portfolio,” said James Madigan, who leads Accenture’s Oracle business in Australia and New Zealand. “They are a highly valued Oracle ecosystem partner, bringing an impressive track record and top talent that will help drive significant results for our clients.”

Link: Accenture

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CX agency Hero Digital acquires rival Clock Four

Hero Digital, an agency focused on advising clients on investing in customer experience, has acquired Clock Four, and its expertise in customer experience strategy and brand activation. As part of the deal, Clock Four’s CEO Jon Eberly joins Hero Digital as Executive Vice President. Both agencies are based in San Francisco.

“Our clients, chiefly CMOs and their organizations, are making huge investments in CX. The current market demands agencies to be wide enough to scale to support across Fortune 1000 businesses, but nimble enough to make a fast impact,” wrote Dave Kilimnik, CEO, Hero Digital on the company blog. “Adding Clock Four to the Hero team augments our ability to deliver on that demand and continue to grow alongside the companies we’re proud to call our clients.”

Link: Hero Digital Perspectives

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Sovrn acquires affiliate marketing company VigLink

Sovrn, a platform for publishers looking to engage audiences, is acquiring VigLink, which supports content-driven-commerce with leverage, insight, and automation. Sovrn operates a platform of products and services across more than 25,000 websites, and the acquisition of VigLink will bring the entire Sovrn portfolio to more than 50,000 sites with a reach of more than 250M daily active consumers.

From the release: “Sovrn Commerce will allow publishers of all shapes and sizes to tap into the entire customer journey, rewarding them for the interest and intent they’ve created. This means more insights, more opportunities—and ultimately more revenue for the publishers that deserve it,” wrote Walter Knapp, Sovrn CEO in the announcement.

Link: Sovrn

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Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services boosted by acquisition of Adaptly

Accenture has announced it will acquire Adaptly, a digital media services company based in New York City. The acquisition will support Accenture interactive Programmatic and its ability to activate, optimize and measure media across platforms .

From the release: “Brands now have the opportunity to deliver more value through ads that are relevant to consumer identities and social contexts,” said Scott Tieman, global head of Programmatic Services, Accenture Interactive. “Consistent with our mission to create, build and run the best customer experiences on the planet, Adaptly will complement our full suite of experience services and enhance our ability to deliver better, faster and more effective advertising campaigns.”

Link: Accenture Newsroom

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Formstack acquires QuickTapSurvey

Formstack has acquired QuickTapSurvey and its mobile and offline survey tools. The acquisition boosts Formstack’s investment in mobile forms and mobile offline data capture tools. QuickTapSurvey will remain a standalone mobile survey tool.

From the release: “We sometimes take for granted the availability of internet access in all locations; many of our customers have had no choice but to collect data on paper because they work in underserved rural areas,” said Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack. “QuickTapSurvey has given aid workers in Eastern Congo access to the same technology as sales reps in New York. We look forward to developing the next generation of data capture tools together.”

Link: Martech Advisor

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ChainFront launched to solve blockchain lost “wallet problem”

ChainFront has launched it public APIs for managing blockchain wallets. Anyone building applications that interact with blockchain data and assets implementing ChainFront’s API-as-a-Service can backup keys to access their cryptocurrency. ChainFront utilizes Vault by HashiCorp, a secret key management and data protection tool with code-loading support and a virtual Hardware Security Module.

From the release: “Before Coinbase, previous attempts at centralized private key management were poorly implemented, resulting in many of the exchange hacks that have dominated the press over the course of Bitcoin’s history, such as Mt. Gox,” said ChainFront cofounder Darryl Anderson. “Coinbase proved that eliminating the wallet can drive mass adoption while also proving that secure, centralized key management can be accomplished. ChainFront brings this capability to any blockchain project on either public or private blockchains. The self serve platform is available live on Stellar today and Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin, and other various permissioned blockchains coming soon.”

Link: PR Newswire

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Advangelists merges with Mobiquity Technologies, launches new features

Advangelists announced it has officially merged with Mobiquity Technologies, and launched new features for the Advangelist platform. The new feature, set, named Savitr,  is available exclusively through the Advangelists platform. Savitr allows marketers to analyze the potential number of mobile application and web users within 5.5 Million predefined locations including 4000 retail chains, and to subsequently target them with contextually relevant advertising.

From the release: “Advertisers can now immediately understand the size and reach of a media opportunity targeting their in-store customers, or evaluate a competitive media conquesting opportunity,” said Lokesh Mehta, CTO Advangelists. “And with the measurement tool, we give them immediate insight into how those campaigns perform.”

Link: PR Newswire

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Trello acquires Butler to fully automate workflow tools

Trello has acquired Butler, a “power-up” tools created for Trello by developer Oscar Triscon. Triscon will join Trello, bringing with him the tool to dictate automation processes in a way similar to how Alexa is used at home. With the new integration, anyone can write rules for their Trello boards using words and logic—no code required. Butler will eventually be available to all users, but Business Class and Enterprise customers can expect more advanced capabilities and higher usage thresholds.

Link: Trello Blog

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G2Crowd acquires Siftery

G2Crowd, the B2B product discovery and review platform, has acquired Siftery, a company that compares marketing technology stacks to make recommendations. The acquisition will help G2Crowd offer real-time alerts when new products are added, spend is unexpectedly high, or there are opportunities to save.

From the release: “Every day, new and potentially disruptive technologies and services are released into the world. Anyone who wants great software to perform at their best, from intern to CEO, should be able to quickly discover, buy, and manage the best technology for their business,” said Godard Abel, CEO, G2 Crowd.

Link: Culture at G2Crowd

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Personalization: The New Business Imperative

Imagine you’re shopping at one of your favorite clothing stores. As soon as you walk into the store, you notice that your favorite category, button-down shirts, is right up front. Within the button-down shirts display, you find that your favorite brands and colors are front and center. Within seconds you’ve found a few different items you want to try on. As you continue to move through the store, you keep finding items you’re interested in without having to wander too far or dig through racks of merchandise.

The only conclusion that you can draw from this experience is that the store has been tailored personally to your tastes and needs. This sounds impossible, and of course, in the physical world it is impossible to arrange a store to meet the needs of each individual person. In the digital world, however, any site — from any industry — can offer this kind of tailored experience.

Why Personalize?

Infosys found that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized, while Forrester reports that 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. Research like this shows us that consumers are coming to expect personalized experiences from all companies they interact with.

This should make sense to all of us because, as consumers, we have all experienced the benefits of a personalized digital experience. Have you ever spent more time watching videos on YouTube than you expected because the platform kept suggesting interesting content to you? Or have you used Amazon’s recommendations to help you find relevant products among its massive selection of products? Personalization shows us that companies who know and understand us earn our loyalty.

In the very near future, providing a personalized experience won’t just be a nice-to-have or a competitive advantage, it will be a necessity for companies in all industries.

How It Works

The notion that personalization will soon be a must-have may sound ominous, but I don’t think I’m saying anything that marketers don’t already know. For many years I’ve heard marketers talk about their desire to communicate at the one-to-one level with their customers and prospects. The problem isn’t that they don’t want to personalize; it’s that doing so requires sophisticated technology that has not existed in the past. To deliver personalized experiences across channels, you need to be able to:

Track and interpret in-depth behavior

You can’t personalize to an individual if you don’t know anything about that individual — and understanding a person starts with deep behavioral tracking. To do this, a business can add a JavaScript tag to its site, which places a first-party cookie on a visitor’s browser that sends data to a personalization platform. This approach can enable you to capture explicit data such as geolocation and referring source, as well as behavioral data such as what a person clicks on, mouse movement, scrolling, hovering, inactivity and active time spent.

With a powerful personalization platform, all of this data can be analyzed to uncover a person’s affinities (the categories, brands, keywords, authors, etc. that they prefer) as well as his in-the-moment intent.

Pull in other relevant data

Forrester has found that, on average, marketers have customer data stored across 15 different locations in their organizations. As a result, getting a complete picture of an individual will often require pulling in data from outside sources such as a CRM, DMP, data warehouse or email marketing platform. A personalization solution needs to be able to integrate with other solutions in the tech stack in order to pass, pull and push data between systems.

Real-time decisioning 

All of that data needs to be collected, analyzed, and acted on in real time. In other words, in less than 20 milliseconds. Otherwise, data collected in a session won’t be used until a person returns in a later session. He may not ever return to the site, and if he does, that information may be outdated.

Machine learning capabilities 

Machine learning is at the heart of any individualized experience. It allows you to utilize algorithms to determine and deliver one-to-one interactions across a person’s digital experience. Anything from recommending products, categories, brands and offers, to dynamically modifying site navigation, search results, and list sorting is possible with machine learning. Marketers also have to be able to play around with machine-learning algorithms, testing and tweaking them to deliver the most effective individualized experience possible.

Cross-channel 

Customers don’t just interact with a company in one channel. That means that to deliver effective personalization, you must be able to collect data across channels and use it to make decisions about what experience to deliver in each channel…and then deliver it. This means all digital channels such as web, mobile web, mobile app, email, adtech, as well as all “human channels” including call centers, chat, in-store and in-branch.

Analytics and attribution

Finally, effective analytics are critical to any personalization strategy. Marketers need to be able to measure the results of each campaign they run to calculate the ROI of their efforts, as well as continue to iterate and optimize their experiences. That requires the ability to run effective A/B tests with a control experience, measure the impact on multiple different metrics to understand true impact, as well as filter results for different audience segments to get into the nitty gritty of campaign performance.

Looking Ahead

In the early 1990s, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., foresaw a world of one-to-one personalization in their seminal book, The One to One Future. But the type of individualized experiences across channels I’ve described were simply not achievable with the existing technology at that time. With the machine learning, real-time processing and big data capabilities we have access to today, the one-to-one dream is finally a reality. There’s no excuse not to take advantage of it.

As technology constantly evolves, the world of personalization keeps changing too. Going forward, marketers will be able to bring together more and more data to better understand their prospects and customers and deliver even more precise personalized experiences across channels. I encourage you to take the next steps with your organization today. Become the champion of amazing experiences and great personalized customer engagement in your organization. By doing so, you’ll deliver significant incremental revenue to your business.

To discover more about one-to-one personalization, how it’s evolved and what the future entails, download a free digital copy of my new book, One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning.

Karl Wirth is the CEO and Co-founder of Evergage. He is also the co-author of One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning, a book described by customer experience luminaries Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., as “a down-to-earth, eminently practical how-to guide.” Prior to Evergage, Karl Wirth spent 10 years as a product and marketing innovator at several companies including RSA Security and Red Hat.

Editor’s note: This column first published January 8, 2018.

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