The Thursday Stack: Companies Meet, Fall in Love, Integrate

Back in July, I had a bunch of questions to ask about Salesforce’s acquisition of Datorama, remarking that it was early days to expect answers. Patience was rewarded this week with more detailed news about how Datorama’s single source of truth will integrate with the Salesforce eco-system. The challenge that seems to have been accepted is to find a way to maintain Datorama’s value as a neutral data management platform while making it especially useful for brands reliant on the broader set of Salesforce solutions. The announcements:

  • First, and to my mind most significant, connectors will allow will allow easy importing of data from Salesforce Marketing Cloud into Datorama, including social media data from Social Studio and campaign data from Email Studio and Mobile Studio
  • Moving in the opposite direction, the Datorama Activation Center will allow marketers to execute on their Datorama insights
  • And the Datorama Developer Portal will allow creation and customization of additional data solutions.

I dived into the ramifications with Bobby Jania, Salesforce VP, product marketing, and Jay Wilder, director of product marketing at Datorama. Jania told me he feels that, only six months after the acquisition, the news shows Datorama and Salesforce “coming out of the gates with real momentum.” With the Social Studio connector, “organic social, paid social, are all very integrated now. There will be enhanced integrations with Email Studio over the next few months.”

The advantage of the Developer Portal is that it will allow brands to “build on and customize Datorama instances; customize them to fit their own business logic.” The Activation Center will allow customers to go “the next mile, from seeing an insight to taking action.” That clearly means the ability to execute using Salesforce channels, but does Datorama remain channel agnostic? The good news for established users is that it does. “You can trigger to all channels,” Jania told me. “How we’re rolling this out is building an activation connector library,” which will encompass, for example, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and so on. “The key question is, how do we make it simple? All clicks and no code.” Users will be able to click on a tile for a channel and set up an execution strategy. 

“The reality,” said Wilder, “is that marketers pick and choose when it comes to technology. All those stacks look a little bit different. We agnostically accept whatever data the marketer chooses to use.” The value proposition of Datorama still lies in the proffer that data can be collected from any source. Although, “the Salesforce Marketing Cloud link is seamless,” Jania added.

Read more about the integration and developer tools in this blog by Salesforce’s Jon Suarez-Davis.

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Continuing the hands-across-the-ocean theme we’ve been pursuing this week, a major U.S. mobile engagement vendor acquired continental Europe’s biggest mobile CRM and push notification player. Urban Airship and Accengage are each so well-known in their respective territories, that they’ll be maintaining their original branding. Otherwise, they’re moving fast to exchange technology and share engineering and other resources. 

Mike Herrick, SVP, product and engineering at Urban Airship, listed their specific strengths for me: “In addition to native apps, progressive web apps, email and SMS, we have a lot of automation and engagement capabilities, within each channel and across channels; and we’ve been investing heavily in data analytics and data products around streaming data, and AI and machine learning solutions.” You guessed it: it’s to support delivering the right message on the right channel at the right time.

I also spoke with Patrick Mareuil, CEO and co-founder at Accengage, an example of a vendor with a high European profile, much less well-known in the States. “We’re the number one European push notification technology, head-quartered in Paris. Our initial market was France, where we have a dominant position, but we expanded on the continent quite rapidly, and have leadership positions in Germany, Italy, and Spain.” As Mareuil observed, this makes for a great geographical complement to Urban Airship’s U.S., U.K. and Nordic markets. “It’s a very good fit also on the customer side,” he said, “because we work for the same types of verticals and size of companies; we’re both very strong on eCommerce, retail, travel, media, and banking and insurance.

There’s a technology fit too. “We have very strong common points,” said Mareuil, “but we can bring additional features to the Urban Airship platform, as well as provide their features to our existing companies.”

Herrick doubled down: “We use similar tech stacks; we both run our platforms on Google Cloud, and use the same programming languages. From a capabilities standpoint, our combined customers will benefit from our investments in SMS, mobile wallet, and email. We’re excited by Accengage’s OTT messaging app capabilities; things like Facebook Messenger. They also have terrific support for localization. They’re going to strengthen our personalization capabilities too.”

Beyond the States and Europe? “Absolutely,” said Herrick. “We already have customers in Asia, and we’ll evaluate how best to serve those customers and continue to grow.”

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Finally, we’re pleased to highlight the work being done by our friends at social impact lender Penguin Pay (head of operations Ting Guo made an impactful contribution at our 2018 Marketing Hall of Femme event). On Day 34 of President Trump’s avowedly self-owned shutdown, 800,000 government workers are about to miss their second pay check. That means problems with meeting mandatory expenses, like housing, food, and medication, and sadly it has also meant good business for high interest payday loan and pawnshop lenders.
Some companies, like PayPal and Better Mortgage, are actually trying to help workers out, with free cash advances and emergency refinancing respectively. Penguin Pay today joined the forces of light, promoting to furloughed government workers its offer of zero percent APR loans to cover medication (no fees, no interest). 
And speaking of doing the right thing, nominations will be open soon for DMN’s 2019 Marketing Hall of Femme. Watch this space.

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