AI for Marketing
Updated: February 26, 2021
2021. Blueshift raises $30M for its AI-based customer data platform
Blueshift, a startup which offers an end-to-end marketing stack, by having built it from the ground up to include both traditional marketing data as well as customer experience, has closed a round of $30 million, a Series C. The company’s customers include LendingTree, Discovery Inc., Udacity, BBC and Groupon, and it has seen revenue growth of 858% in the last three years. Blueshift provides a customer data platform (CDP) it markets as “SmartHub.” Designed for non-technical users although customizable by engineers if you need it to be, users can integrate different data feeds from multiple sources, which then Blueshift crunches and organises to let you view in a more structured way. That data can then be used to power actions in a number of places where you might be setting up marketing campaigns.
2020. Mailchimp launches new AI marketing tools
Mailchimp has launched of a set of AI-based tools that give small businesses easy access to the same kind of capabilities that their larger competitors now use. That includes personalized product recommendations for shoppers and forecasting tools for behavioral targeting to see which users are most likely to buy something, for example. But there’s now also a new AI-backed tool to help business owners design their own visual asset (based in part on its acquisition of Sawa), as well as a tool to help them write better email subject lines.
2020. SugarCRM acquires Node to gain predictive customer intelligence
SugarCRM announced this morning it has acquired customer intelligence startup, Node. While Sugar gains a ton of AI expertise, it also adds a customer prediction element to the platform, such as figuring out the customers most likely to convert or most likely to leave. This puts it in more direct competition with Adobe and Salesforce, which for some time have had intelligence layers that provide that kind of predictability. Node was founded in 2014 and has raised over $43 million. It fills a gap for SugarCRM adding engagement analytics and action at both ends of the business, and at the same time provides a market differentiator for them.
2020. Spectrm raises $3M for its conversational marketing platform
Spectrm, an AI-powered conversational marketing platform has raised $3 million in Series A funding from international VC fund Runa Capital. Spectrm automates conversations to engage and convert customers online via an AI-driven algorithm. Chatbot, created with Spectrm, instantly responds to incoming messages and turns every message from a pain to a gain. Then marketers use that data to segment the customer base and build stronger customer relationships. The platform is used by companies like eBay, Ford, Groupon, Renault, KLM and more. Spectrm’s competitors include LivePerson (Nasdaq-listed), ManyChat (raised $19.1 million), Snaps.io ($11.3 million), Automat.ai ($10.9 million), and Chatfuel ($120,000).
2020. Bluecore raises $50M for its first-party, AI-based marketing automation tools
Bluecore, a marketing technology firm that uses data gained from direct marketing like email, social media, site activity and combines that with machine learning to make better predictions about who might want to buy what among its customers, has raised $50 million. The funding comes on the heels of significant growth for the company, and Bluecore believes that its platform and how its used influences some 10% of all non-Amazon Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the U.S. Given how fragmented the e-commerce landscape is (once you remove Amazon from the equation, of course) that is a significant percentage. Its 400 customers today include high-profile names like Sephora, CVS, Teleflora and Tommy Hilfiger.
2020. Retina raises $2.5M for its AI-powered customer analysis software
Casting a cold eye on customer behavior and their future lifetime value has brought the Los Angeles-based startup Retina $2.5 million in new funding. Vendors can use Retina’s Shopify app to process data and get a predicted customer lifetime value. For sellers who aren’t integrated with Shopify, they can have their data processed by Retina to get that predicted customer value. Retina bases its analysis on recency, frequency and churn rates to map out customer acquisition, according to the company’s spokesperson. The software collects that data by analyzing the log of previous transactions in a customer data or payment platform, according to a statement.
2019. Appier raises $80M for AI-based marketing technology
Appier, a Taipei-based startup that provides an artificial intelligence engine to brands and retailers to help improve customer engagement, predict purchasing and improve conversions on their sites, has picked up $80 million. Appier’s initial and core product is a cross-platform advertising engine, CrossX, which covers retargeting and app installations, but also provides deep learning to help publishers and brands discover new audiences for their products. This is still the company’s most popular product, but around it, Appier has built a series of other services around the basic concept of better customer information, specifically sourcing and utilising customer data in more intelligent ways. This has included making acquisitions — of QGraph and Emotion Intelligence (Emin) to bring in more analytics and functionality into the platform.
2018. Microsoft launches new AI applications for Dynamics 365 CRM
A year ago Microsoft introduced its first Dynamics 365 AI solutions and today it’s expanding this portfolio with the launch of three new products: Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, Customer Service and Market Insights. Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, unsurprisingly, is meant to help sales teams get deeper insights into their prospects using sentiment analysis. That’s obviously among the most basic of machine learning applications these days, but AI for Sales also helps these salespeople understand what actions they should take next and which prospects to prioritize. Similarly, the Customer Service app focuses on using natural language understanding to understand and predict customer service problems and leverage virtual agents to lower costs. Finally, Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights does just what the name implies: it provides teams with data about social sentiment, but this, too, goes a bit deeper.
2018. Asana adds AI-powered interactive project maps
Workflow management platform Asana announced a new feature - Timeline - composite, visual, and interactive maps of the various projects assigned to different people within a team, giving the group a wider view of all the work that needs to be completed, and how the projects fit together, mapped out in a timeline format. Timeline can be used in scenarios like product launches, marketing campaigns and event planning, and it’s not a matter of a new piece of software where you have to duplicate work, but each project automatically becomes a new segment on a team’s Timeline. Timeline is only for paying users. Those who are among Asana’s millions of free users will have to upgrade to the premium tier to access it.
2017. Adobe Campaign gets AI-features
Adobe announced a number of new capabilities for its Adobe Campaign email marketing tools. Most of these are available now (better dashboards, new email templates, better support for multilingual campaigns), but the most interesting are new machine learning-powered features that allow to find the best subject lines for emails and soon, it’ll also be able to suggest just the right image to show to the right person who opens a marketing email. Another new predictive feature the company showed off is a new tool for predicting customer churn based on how users engage with emails. That’s some pretty standard machine-learning stuff, but like all of these projects, it’s only as good as the data you feed it. Combined with data from Campaigns, this tool can predict when a customer is likely to unsubscribe from a service, for example.
2017. Marketing platform HubSpot acquires AI startup Kemvi
Inbound marketing and sales platform HubSpot has acquired Kemvi, a startup applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to help sales teams. A few months ago, Kemvi launched DeepGraph, a product that analyzes public data so that salespeople can ident ify the best time (say, after a job change or the publication of an article) to reach out to potential customers. It also proactively reaches out to verify leads. HubSpot had been looking for new ways to bring AI technology into its platform to fight alternatives. It found Kemvi particularly appealing because it addressed a real need among salespeople.
2017. Marketing personalization startup Dynamic Yield gets $9M funding
Dynamic Yield, which uses machine learning to help online marketers personalize customer experiences on their site, has added $9 million to its Series C, bringing it to a new total of $31 million. Like alternative solutions, Dynamic Yield’s tools gather data from multiple sources, including websites, mobile apps, email, and online ads, that are usually siloed, and uses it to automatically tailor the content that each customer sees based on information about their past purchases, browsing history, and geographical location. The company has established itself as a leading full-stack solution provider for online retailers, publishers, and vendors, for which personalization has become a crucial differentiator and predictor of success.