The Thursday Stack: Of Apps, Eco-Systems, and the Social Whirl

Logical next steps for the team at Demandbase team as they begin to execute on the vision set out in the later chapter of their 2019 how-to book on ABM. There they gave a preview of the B2B marketing stack reconfigured to put an ABM engine at the core, feeding the pipeline of intent-related account activity to the data layer or platform, and to marketing automation solutions for identity resolution and execution.

This week, they announced the Demandbase ABM eco-system, arranging CRM, MA, and other technologies around a Demandbase core. Initial eco-system partners include Salesforce, Pardot, Marketo, Oracle, SAP, Drift, and Sigstr. 

But decreeing an eco-system is one thing. What does it mean in practice? I spoke with CMO Peter Isaacson.

“Where we’ll eventually get to is truly open APIs, but what we’ve done right now is curated APIs. We make them available on an as-discussed basis with folks who want to integrate with us, and where we think their solution is something meaningful to our customers. For the premiere eco-system partners, we will also do some integration on our end. Pardot, SAP, and Marketo are examples of companies where we’ve invested some engineering resources to make the solution as compelling as possible.”

It holds out the promise of combining Demandbase’s large scale (anonymous) account level data with known individuals in MA or CRM (or other) systems. “You can then execute campaigns using common data, and go across channels from a marketing automation email campaign, to a webinar, to advertising.

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We recently introduced you to Appian, the enterprise low code app development platform, and its CEO Matt Calkins, Well known to big brands (and the government) in the BPM space, Appian seems to be engaged in a stealth approach on CX, initially by way of customer service (with its Intelligent Call Center). And here comes Appian now with some CX-related data from a survey conducted by IDG.

The angle from which the survey approaches CX reflects Appian’s existing market: the survey asks not about consumer satisfaction, but about IT satisfaction, concluding (perhaps unsurprisingly) that the low code approach to building applications offered by Appian helps with repetitive development tasks like coding forms and business rules, and frees up developers’ time.

Here’s why we care: IT’s growing burden is related to emerging technologies, especially those designed to address CX challenges. 86 percent of those surveyed complained about pressure from emerging technologies. The biggest demand IT faces (68 percent of those surveyed listed it as number one) surrounds the adoption and integration of applications that improve the customer experience and/or increase customer engagement. As regular readers know, there are a lot of them out there.

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Also this week, Sprout Social, the social media management platform, passed their latest look at the state of social media, their 2019 Index. You did notice everyone has their nose to their phone all day now? That’s anecdotal, but Sprout has the data to confirm that 45 percent have increased their social media usage over the past year, although 53 percent of C-level marketers are still facing challenges in demonstrating ROI on social initiatives.

But heck, they know it’s important:

  • 90 percent say investing in social has an impact on revenue
  • 63 percent think social listening will increase in importance over the next year
  • 53 percent say that proving the value of social remains a top challenge

But here’s an eye-catching development on the CX side. In 2018, 67 percent of consumers said they were more likely to engage with discounts and offers on social. In 2019, it’s all about the experience, with 67 percent (again) looking for social posts which are entertaining (many are also looking for videos and Instagram stories, or similar, from brands).

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Finally, my quote of the day.  SAP CEO Bill McDermott, while interviewing Sandra Bullock at Sapphire 2019:

“Experience is becoming the organizing principle of the world.”

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Do we like it when brands take a stand? We certainly do, and here at DMN we’ve taken stands ourselves. Is it merely a commercial trend that brands, and the big tech companies that support them, are adopting social missions which converge with their consumers’ values? Let’s hope not. But as long as corporations are doing what is right — even while there are commercial imperatives to do so — it’s better than doing wrong.

So let’s celebrate the powerful promotion by Adobe of its Brand Stand initiative, tightly tied to the company’s creative roots, but offering impactful fuel to savvy brand marketers. “Show us your mission,” Adobe says, to brand who plan to take a stand, and we’ll direct you right to the stock creative which supports it. Adobe has seen a sharp rise in Adobe Stock searches for topics like “sustainability” and “social responsibility,” changes reflected in its new Visual Trends report, which cites statistics showing consumers increasingly making purchase decisions based on brands’ social and political stances (yes, this is all inseparable, of course, from customer experience). 

This doesn’t mean, the report suggests, that every brand is compelled to take a dramatic stand — as Nike did, in supporting Colin Kaepernick’s stance against the murder of innocent black citizens, or Gillette’s “the Best Men Can Be” campaign. it might just be a matter of being close to a cause which expresses something a bran and its loyal customers hold close to their heart (in this recent interview with DMN, Marketo’s Steve Lucas cited Toms, and its core mission of “shoes for the shoeless”).

The big takeaway, though: a social mission is “not just a marketing campaign.” Brands need to mean it, and follow through. — KD

UPDATE: Brenda Milis, Principal of Creative Services & Visual Trends, introduced Adobe’s Brand Stand positioning to the ad community at a New York event last night. For brands willing to take a stand, there are many compelling images to choose from in Adobe’s collection – bleached coral affected by climate change, or young students providing comfort to hurricane victims. Adobe provides the guidelines for companies to evolve and figure out how a cause that they believe in relates back to their brand, according to Milis. “Visual trends are shifting more quickly,” she remarked. Brands must be “visually fluent” and understand that these images “trend toward mass culture…and mass appeal.”

Robyn Streisand, CEO/founder of The Mixx boutique agency and CEO of Titanium Worldwide, a collective of cause-minded shops, shared her experience in pitching to big brands. In company culture, leadership should listen to employees at all levels who are passionate about making a positive impact on society. Because cause marketing is going mainstream, a brand that balks will lose out to a competitor only too willing to raise their own flag. — CW

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The navigation app Waze was purchased by Google in 2013. Since then, the Israel-based subsidiary has maintained a level of autonomy within the Google family, with its own culture and leadership, according to Suzie Reider, managing director of Waze Ads. Reider had previously had a decade of experience at YouTube, going back to 2006, so she can attest to the integration of work teams within major tech properties. At a morning event in New York, Reider and several of her colleagues announced the next stage in Waze’s development: “Waze 2.0” or “Value 2.0” in Reider’s phrasing. Or just call it “a coming of age,” she said. Felipe Almedia, Waze Ads’ Head of Product Marketing, mentioned a move forward for U.S. marketers. Waze will be integrated with the Google Marketing Platform. “From a buying and measurement perspective, this is about enabling programmatic.” The Waze team has data to back the “incremental” effect on businesses that advertise on the app, and also the sales lift effect (through a partnership with IRi) when customers get on-site or in-store and start buying. The lift numbers are significant in the key categories for Waze: QSR, +36 percent; Retail, +38; and Fuel, +35.

Todd Palatnek, OOH business lead, spoke of a test campaign Waze conducted with McDonald’s and Omnicom, in Southern California. The results include the measurement and attribution that shows how an ad on the Waze app – which only shows when the car is stopped at a stop light, not while in motion – works effectively with local billboards. Palatnek added, “there are different KPIs and different goals, depending on the advertiser.” For now, the Waze pitch is an additional complementary layer of advertising that supports OOH. Integration with Apple Car Play shows Waze is also putting its pedal to the medal in the automotive space, focusing on “user growth” and recognizing auto as “a critical channel for use,” Reider explained. Certainly with current technology, one can imagine a day when digital OOH ads correspond with in-car ads on the Waze app, but that scenario is still far off, and would have to jump the hurdles of data sharing, privacy and driver safety. Automated driving could free up a commuter to look at ads, but the ads wouldn’t work on the robo-driver. Or would they? Most importantly, the pins that come up on a Waze map are ad-supported, and many of them are obviously local, small businesses. Marcus Yco, Head of SMB North America, toasted 30,000 SMBs and counting. — CW

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This week, Ansira announced the acquisition of Atlanta-based email and eCRM company BrightWave.

For all the channels Ansira coordinates between brand HQ and local franchises – for big, yet personal, chains like Panera and Chili’s (we recently dug into the Chili’s way for their birthday) – email is one of the most common and efficient, even in 2019.

“This acquisition was all about maximizing the email channel,” said Kelly Jo Sands, Ansira’s chief CRM and martech officer. “Email is really important for customer engagement and facilitating the consumer’s relationship with the brand. A lot of our clients talk about CRM, but email is arguably the primary two-way communications channel.”

She added that email serves a cross channel function, sending customers to a customized landing page, with a contextual experience that shows the customer the same offer advertised in their inbox. Using solutions from BrightWave, brands can pick a customized template and fill it out with data from local stores in any market, making the message relevant. Beyond this “layer of orchestration,” the BrightWave addition is “maximizing innovation within the inbox through rich creative experiences, dynamic pulls, animated gifs, even Alexa reading the email,” Sands explained.

Sands also looks forward to the BrightWave-sponsored EiQ event, an annual conference in Atlanta devoted entirely to email marketing. — CW

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Missing Link Adventures from Isobar U.S. on Vimeo.

It’s been a while, so let’s do a news roundup!

  • First up, how about a voice-enabled adventure? Missing Link Adventures, based on themes from the new Missing Link animated movie, is available on Alexa-enabled devices, and offers users the opportunity to interact with characters from the movie, and go on a series of scavenger hunt-style adventures. The immersive experience was created by United Artists Releases, and the experience-first digital agency Isobar. From a marketing perspective, it illustrates the use of innovative technology to greatly extend the reach and the long-tail of engaging content. Here’s where to find get started
  • We recently sat down with TiVo to learn how they go about marketing their services to consumers. They also market to businesses, as demonstrated by this week’s news that Redbox, the kiosk-and-streaming new movie and video game rental service, has adopted TiVo’s Personalized Content Discovery Platform. What does that do, you ask? It pushes tailored, relevant content recommendations to Redbox customers across Redbox.com, mobile apps, and physical boxes (a non-linear environment, as TiVo points out). Note: For an entirely different approach to personalized content, please check-out this Friday’s One on One podcast with John  Waters of AnyClip
  • Even Randy Frisch doesn’t really think content marketers are going anywhere, which is another reason for the leaders in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for content marketing platforms to celebrate. Opening the biggest bottle of champagne must be NewsCred, which puts some considerable distance between itself and its closest competitors (Percolate, Contently, and Kapost) both for execution and vision. It’s interesting to see perpetual unicorn Sprinklr hesitating in the challenger sector; it aims at the same enterprise market as NewsCred, but is arguably newer to the space, as it expands its focus beyond social media management. — KD

Correction: An earlier version of this piece reported that the Waze test campaign ran in San Diego; but, in fact, it extended beyond that area.

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