Facebook opens Group Stories to all, allows reactions with emoji

Facebook is enabling all users to add Instagram-like stories to groups via mobile devices. The feature, which launched in beta earlier this year, also allows members of the group to respond to the story with emoji. Facebook Group members can view Group Stories on both mobile and desktop, but only add to a story from their mobile device. To add to a Group Story, members tap on the Story located at the top of the Group mobile page and select the “add” button.

Link: Marketing Land

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BabbleLabs’ Clear Cloud App uses AI to clean up audio recordings

BabbleLabs unveiled its Clear Cloud App now available to Android and iOS users. The app quickly improves audio and video recording quality by removing virtually all unwanted noises like traffic, crowds, wind, fan, and machinery, among others. Original files are cleaned and enhanced by Clear Cloud with fast turnaround – up to 10x faster than real-time.

Link: Xpress Release

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AdStage Join marries real-time performance data with pay-per-click advertising tools

AdStage has launched Join to connect advertising data from Google, Facebook and LinkedIn with in-house data from Google Analytics and Salesforce. The combination enables marketers to mange campaigns based on actual sales of pay-per-click advertising.

From the release: “If you’re spending a million dollars on paid marketing, you want to know how the money translates into sales pipeline and bankable business revenue. You simply can’t calculate that from clicks and impressions,” said Sahil Jain, AdStage’s CEO and Co-founder.

Link: PR Newswire

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NexTech launches augmented reality platform for eCommerce

NexTech has launched its new augmented reality platform in beta. NexTech AR is an eCommerce platform, which uses artificial intelligence to display products in a virtual space. NexTech AR will also create an AI-enabled curator that learns a shopper’s style, size and preferences.

From the release: “NexTech’s web enabled AR e-commerce solution effectively addresses the entire global market for e-commerce on both desktop and mobile” comments Evan Gappelberg, CEO of NexTech.  When we started looking at AR we immediately saw the wow factor and application for e-commerce but also saw a hesitation of consumers to load another app on their mobile device.  With our web enabled AR e-commerce solution, we have eliminated that hesitation which we believe will open the floodgates to the rapid adoption of web enabled AR shopping experiences worldwide, this truly is a game changer.”

Link: PR Newswire

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AWS launches Amazon Personalize to automate recommendation modeling

Amazon Web Services launched Amazon Personalize to make creating a recommendation model easier.  Using AutoML, a process that automates complex machine learning tasks, Personalize performs and accelerates the work required to design, train, and deploy a machine learning model. Amazon Personalize supports both datasets stored in Amazon S3 and streaming data sets, e.g. events sent in real-time from a JavaScript tracker or server-side.

Link: Amazon Blog

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SAP SE has announced it will acquire experience management platform Qualtrics

SAP SE has announced it will acquire experience management platform Qualtrics. The deal will enable SAP and Qualtrics to accelerate the new XM category by combining experience data and operational data to power the experience economy. SAP will apply its operational data will to enable customers to better manage supply chains, networks, employees and core processes.

From the release: “We continually seek out transformational opportunities – today’s announcement is exactly that,” SAP CEO Bill McDermott said. “Together, SAP and Qualtrics represent a new paradigm, similar to market-making shifts in personal operating systems, smart devices and social networks. SAP already touches 77 percent of the world’s transactions. When you combine our operational data with Qualtrics’ experience data, we will accelerate the XM category with an end-to-end solution with immediate global scale. For Qualtrics, this introduces a dynamic new partner with the belief, passion and scale to bring experience management to millions of customers around the world.”

Link: SAP News

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The Seven Stages of MarTech Governance

By Guest Author Jason Katz, Founder & Principal of Growth Marketing Advisors

9,000+ Software Solutions.  $65B Funding.[1]  70+ Average Stack Size.[2]  Budget at ~10% Company Revenue aka Tens or Hundreds of Millions.[3]  500,000 Agencies Worldwide.[4]  At this level of Marketing Technology (“MarTech investment”), there is a great opportunity for governance. Awareness has boomed with organizations like Chiefmartec, CDP Institute, CabinetM, and Investors like Salesforce Ventures, Accel Partners, Y Combinator, Battery Ventures, Sequoia Capital, etc…[5]  An increasing number of dedicated MarTech teams are forming in Fortune 500, Russell 2000, and Series C/D companies.  And there are 1,000+ open job postings for dedicated MarTech roles on any given day. Momentum is building fast and should only get faster with the booming ecosystem and market factors like M&A, startups, and general disruption.

As a proponent and/or leader of MarTech governance in your organization, there are great opportunities to orchestrate its realization along with its substantial benefits. Below are seven common stages of MarTech governance that can be applied broadly.

Take Inventory

In companies who incubate, merge, and/or acquire new divisions, there an be hundreds of software solutions with active contracts many of which are duplicative.  Creating an inventory is crucial. Since the list is dynamic with so many software solutions, factors to track, and change, a solution like CabinetM can be helpful as it’s built from the marketer’s perspective to deal with all these considerations.  At a single company, there were 7 different email providers, 24 if you count homegrown services. This is a regular occurrence, more common than you’d ever imagine. The other surprise is that many contracts are multi year to get the “discount”. Once your inventory is complete, there will be sticker shock for the total value of active contracts which easily clears tens of millions.  Then it’s time to go out for a drink with your partners in Finance and Procurement as well as the CMO and CTO who will be very motivated to understand the current state and support efforts toward a better future state.

Turf Wars

The MarTech stack de-duplication and rationalization exercise will begin before you even know it started because of executive focus on the amount of resources the company can potentially save.  There are at least three scenarios to navigate:

Forgotten Software: The forgotten software with no active users will be easy to terminate without much fuss.  These vendors should have already offered if they have good governance. Either way, enjoy these quick wins.  

Duplicative / Insufficient ROI: The tougher ones include the duplicative software as well as insufficient ROI and/or strategic relevance.  For duplicative software, there are usually different stakeholders who value each software solution differently and will passionately fight to keep theirs.  These decisions will be tough but they must be made. The best scenario is you can build relationships with the stakeholders in the process. When removing software without replacement, you’ll need to make the case that the benefit e.g. cost saving, website performance speed, etc… is greater than benefit of keeping it.  This is much trickier and likely involves executive-level intervention, and sometimes proofs-of-concept of professional life without it.

Tap Into Unused Functionality: There is also a creative approach of potentially finding and leveraging unused functionality of some existing vendors to replace others.  At one company, ~50 different email journeys were active using a primary marketing cloud. The general manager of one of the divisions wanted to accelerate preparation for increased native app mobile marketing.  Rather than migrate all ~50 journeys to a new mobile-first vendor, turns out the marketing cloud had what seemed to be a robust native app mobile marketing service with SDK. So we decided to run a test to leverage that functionality.  If it performed well, it would be much easier to insert some native app mobile messaging into the existing ~50 journeys rather than rebuilding them entirely from scratch, dealing with full-blown RFP, as well as navigating all the data engineering and template design work that would be needed for a migration.

Renegotiate

For the potential surviving vendor candidates, many contracts have never been scrutinized sufficiently and need to be restructured.  This is a great time for RFPs to learn about the latest capabilities, roadmaps, pricing, customer support, and more. Your objective is to re-set expectations and get adjusted pricing toward market-competitive levels.  These conversations usually aren’t easy; but with a good RFP and planning, you’ll get the best outcomes. At one of the global brands, we saved millions in recurring annual expenses following these very steps.

Building for the Future

The greatest potential wins are from building the marketing machine that will support core business strategies and objectives.  The machine will use the surviving vendors and homegrown data & systems infrastructure. Current data availability, including organization, format, and latency should be audited.  The “brain” will require a single companywide unique identifier, data-broker that integrates all component systems, and data science engine where models and rules can be run. All other components like cross-channel messaging, CRM, prospecting, paid ads, attribution, etc… will plug in.  While working at a startup, we had a requirement to build a customer data platform across all connected devices including game consoles like XBox and PlayStation as well as streaming players like Roku and Chromecast. Using that cross-device data, we would predict customer lifetime value. There weren’t and still aren’t any MarTech vendors who can handle this request easily so with a talented engineering team we built it from scratch.  We then plugged it into the rest of the AdTech ecosystem to leverage first party data for media buying.

Legacy Systems

Legacy systems will need to be navigated, either re-platformed or integrated in a scaleable way.  At another global company, there was a sophisticated direct marketing database with precise data and targeting that drove the most profitable business growth; but, partner channels which had some of the best prospective customer access at best economics lacked all of that great precision.  We worked on a project to point that direct marketing database to partner channels for real-time serving to create a DMP + Ad Server combo capability before those capabilities were commercialized by marketing cloud vendors. We built it scaleably so it could be rolled out to many different partners.  At another company, webstacks were re-platformed every couple of years but never run to completion while web analytics components were rolled out so it felt like one single site. Every company has different systems and considerations that should be factored into the MarTech stack and machine.

Ongoing Management

Your MarTech stack is a function of business strategy and objectives which can change often, sometimes annually, quarterly, or faster if a competitor makes a substantial move.  So the MarTech roadmap should be calibrated at that same frequency using the same steps as above which will be relatively easier after the initial reset. As changes are needed, the team should execute together.  This ongoing management can be facilitated by a dynamic multi-user MarTech inventory and management tool like CabinetM.

The Team

With so many steps and dependencies, MarTech governance is a complex riddle that requires a strong team and executive sponsorship.  The team should include key players from Marketing and Technology teams, the expected power users of systems, and vendor partners who are hungry for mutual success.  Executive sponsors must include CMO, CTO, and ideally CEO. The full roadmap inclusive of all the MarTech governance steps above should be fully blessed by this group at every milestone.

Dedicating your company to these seven stages of MarTech governance will help you get the best ROI from your MarTech stack.  Happy Governing!

Jason Katz is a recognized expert in Product Marketing, Marketing Technology, and Growth Marketing across B2C and B2B. He is Founder of Growth Marketing Advisors LLC and has served as Marketing Leader in Technology, Marketing & Advertising, Ecommerce, Entertainment, Health, Financial Services in startups and global brands like American Express, Shutterstock, Curious George & Carmen Sandiego (HMH), and Criteo.

 

[1] Chiefmartec “Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2018): Martech 5000 (actually 6,829)” By Scott Brinker (with Anand Thaker) April 25, 2018

[2] Growth Marketing Advisors browsing sites with Ghostery; LinkedIn Slideshare “The Stackies 2018: Marketing Tech Stack Awards” By Scott Brinker April 27, 2018; LinkedIn Slideshare “Insights from Inside the Marketing Stack” By Anita Brearton with Mark Pickett May 8, 2017

[3] Forbes “How Does Your Marketing Budget Grow? — Key Trends From The CMO Survey” By Christine Moorman September 27, 2018

[4] Quora “How many ad agencies are in the US?” By Brian Regienczuk (CEO at Agency Spotter) Apr 22, 2014

[5] MarTech Advisor “Annual InvestScape 2017: Decoding the $8.8 bn Invested in MarTech in 2017” By Khushbu Verma January 23, 2018

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Industry Intelligence relaunches dashboard

Industry Intelligence, the LA-based provider of products and services aimed at serving business intelligence needs across industries, has updated its i2dashboard. The new design of its online dashboard includes information mapping technology that helps business users navigate the complexities of their business and related industries more smoothly and intuitively.

“We speak to professionals from a wide range of sectors. We have yet to meet anyone who says, ‘I got it all under control.’ Most say, ‘I don’t have time… I delete most emails… I save things into a folder and mostly forget about it…'” said Rami Ghandour, CEO of Industry Intelligence.

Link: PR Newswire

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Affinity updates relationship intelligence platform with tools to find connections for warm leads

Affinity has updated its relationship intelligence platform with Affinity Alliances, a tool to leverage the professional networks of staffers and people within their network. To identify more opportunities for warm introductions. Alliances enables users to connect with any contact outside their organization and instantly share their relationship graph.

From the release: “The real economy is comprised of relationships; it consists of people working together to deliver the products and services that run our modern world. Alliances enable professionals to better grow, leverage and manage the relationships that dictate their success,” said Joe Lonsdale, General Partner at 8VC and an Affinity co-founder.

Link: Martech Advisor

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