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Marketing Featured South Asia

Wondrlab raises US$7m to bolster martech growth

Mumbai, India – Wondrlab, the platform-first marketing technology start-up in India, has announced that it has raised US$7m in a round of pre-series funding.

The startup will be utilizing its newly acquired funds towards driving inorganic growth, with a sharp focus on tech, digital, and programmatic advertising, as well as building world-class martech platforms. 

Saurabh Varma, Wondrlab’s founder and chief executive officer, shared that they want to thank the investors for their faith and belief in the agency, and they believe that their differentiated strategy of being platform-first is a great value proposition for the clients. 

“We will continue to invest in building deep capabilities across digital business transformation, content, data, and marketing tech platforms. The next six months will be key to building on our incredible momentum,” said Varma.

The round was led by venture fund firm Pi Ventures LLP, private investment company Tanas Capital, digital transformation partner Prodapt Holdings, and several independent investors including Priyamvada Balaji of Lucas Indian Service and Gopal Srinivasan of TVS Capital. 

Narayanan Venkitraman, the investment advisor of Narotam Sekhsaria Family Office (NSFO), commented “We are excited about the vision of the team led by Saurabh Varma to create India’s first network. Their strategy of being platform first differentiates them. It is refreshing to see a world-class team coming together on the back of a shared ambition.”

Amit Sharma, Tanas Capital’s managing director and head of corporate finance and investments, said that the proposition is truly unique, and they are excited about being a part of this journey. 

“Wondrlab’s focus on digital communication and DBT; always being platform-first and building world-class martech products will create incredible value for clients and eventually investors.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Martech Techsun launches in SEA, unveils new product for SMEs

Singapore – APAC Martech brand Techsun, which provides solutions for consumer marketing, consumer data, and marketing process automation has launched in Southeast Asia with a new headquarters in Singapore. In conjunction with the regional expansion, Techsun has also rolled out a new product built for SMEs.

The new product is an expansion of Techsun’s flagship product, Social Hub, a cloud-native customer understanding and engagement SaaS for omnichannel retailers and brands. It is an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Data Platform (CDP) solution and enables brands to have a 360 degree understanding of their customers by managing and analyzing relevant customer data across multiple online to offline (O2O) touchpoints such as transactions in-store and in-app, official and authorized reseller websites, social media channels as well as payment platforms. 

Deepening brand loyalty is also part of Social Hub’s value proposition via its omnichannel personalized customer messaging, automated precision marketing, and management of promotion initiatives and loyalty programs such as membership points and discount coupons. 

The expansion to Southeast Asia marks the martech’s first regional office outside of China and is considered as a stepping stone to the greater APAC region.

Ivan Zhou, Techsun’s general manager for APAC, commented that they see great potential for Techsun in the SEA region due to its growing regional economy and a strong business community. 

“With Social Hub, we aim to be the solution of choice for both the global brands and the large SME market in the region. We want to utilize the experience we gained working with numerous global brands in China and the APAC region and help businesses in Singapore as well as the rest of Southeast Asia,” Zhou said. 

Zhou added that its SaaS promises better value with less than 20% of what big companies are charging and is confident that it will go a long way in “uplifting the retail landscape in Asia.”

He also remarked on democratizing tech for SMEs, “SMEs may not be as prolific as MNCs but they are important engines of growth in Southeast Asia. Technology is a key competitive advantage for brands, especially in the new retail era, and we want to democratize access to the same cutting-edge solutions that big brands have been using for SMEs so that they can equalize the playing field.”

SMEs can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Social Hub on Techsun’s website.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

SmartOSC, Antsomi partner to offer omnichannel retail solution

Singapore – E-commerce enabler SmartOSC and marketing tech Antsomi has announced a new partnership to offer an end-to-end omnichannel retail solution for both of their clients. As such, SmartOSC will become Antsomi’s global reseller as of 2021, mainly focusing on the growing APAC market. 

The end-to-end omnichannel retail solution is powered by Antsomi’s customer data platform, Antsomi CDP 365. The software unifies multiple data sources to create a 360-degree customer view and provide an omnichannel experience. 

SmartOSC is an e-commerce solution agency that specializes in scalable enterprise services. For the agency, the partnership is significant as it allows them to continue building data-driven e-commerce solutions and comprehensive digital transformation for their clients. 

Founder and CEO of SmartOSC, Thai Son Nguyen, said, “This new partnership with Antsomi will strengthen the offering of both companies and allow us to keep delivering cutting-edge omnichannel solutions to our clients.”

Meawhile, Serm Teck Choon, co-founder and CEO of Antsomi, commented, “We are thrilled to partner with SmartOSC, which is a reputable full-service e-commerce agency. We hope such partnership can empower our clients with omnichannel marketing solutions, particularly from data unification, data activation, and marketing automation standpoints.” 

Antsomi is a regional marketing technology company that launched CDP 365 in June 2020. Antsomi helps clients unify and activate their customer data via CDP 365 with custom solutions, when necessary, on top of clients’ existing martech stack. The new partnership allows Antsomi to access SmartOSC’s extensive client coverage, covering key markets in Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia as well as in Vietnam, and Thailand. 

For their first regional client, the partnership has recently won ASUS Singapore. SmartOSC and Antsomi will be working together to deliver a data-driven omnichannel retail solution to the tech brand.

In June, Antsomi has officially announced its entry to Indonesia with Ilona Juwita appointed as country director.

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Technology Featured ANZ

Cloud-based martech platform Brandvas officially launches in Australia

Melbourne, Australia – Brandvas, a cloud-based marketing technology platform, has announced its official launch in Australia, marking it as well with partnerships with market research firm Roy Morgan and the Australia Post.

The partnerships entails Brandvas utilizing Roy Morgan consumer data and Australia Post parcel insights data embedded in a brand strategy system to ensure strategies target the right markets.

The Brandvas tool kit allows agencies and marketers to increase capabilities, supercharge productivity and streamline projects, launching with seven modules: ‘Creative Brief’, ‘Media Brief’, ‘Script Template’, ‘Creative Competitive Overview’, ‘Competitor Mapping’, ‘Research Data’, including customer personas and their primary module ‘Brand Strategy’.

For Brandvas founder Jodie Catalfamo, who has worked in the advertising industry for more than 22 years, Brandvas not only assists with the process of developing brand strategy, but is backed with access to deep consumer data insights and a suite of tools to streamline the way agencies and marketers work.

“When I worked at BADJAR Oglivy, research played a huge role in understanding a brand’s competitive context with data-driven insights, strategy and creativity. Working with brands, research was not always utilized, which often led to projects being led by assumptions and educated guesses. The team and I built Brandvas to democratize brand planning for agencies and marketers no matter what their size to increase capability and productivity and provide a crucial competitive edge,” Catalfamo said.

She added, “It was really important for the team and I to have reputable data partners for Brandvas to give agencies the opportunity of accessing robust and insightful data. Providing our agency and marketing clients the ability to validate or dismiss any assumptions. The data not only provides category insights which can direct the brand strategy, it also assists in marketing and creative recommendation.”

The Brandvas platform is project-based and built to dovetail so once a brand strategy workshop has been completed, the creative and media briefs are already pre-populated, making the management of projects and creative teams simpler, more efficient and effective.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Brandvas to enable small creative and marketing businesses to develop strategies based on trusted and accurate research data. Given the challenging times we are all in, this will ensure that any decisions are based on the most up-to-date market intelligence,” said John Ellenberger, head of partnerships at Roy Morgan.

Meanwhile, Ben Franzi, general manager for e-commerce platforms and marketplaces at Australia Post, commented, “The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a seismic shift in consumer behavior, and it is more important than ever that businesses of all sizes are able to easily access up-to-date industry data. We look forward to continuing to work with the Brandvas team to expand the range of Australia Post insights available through their platform in the months ahead.”

Catalfamo adds that although they provide the methodology and smart tools along the way, Brandvas is white-labeled and completely customizable, so if an agency has proprietary questions, tools or processes they can easily include these and make it their own. 

“While we know even the smartest software can never replace creative genius, Brandvas amplifies talent and makes the best planners, facilitators and strategists elevate whilst streamlining the leg work,” she concluded.

Categories
Main Feature Technology Southeast Asia

Why MarTech is still a black box in 2021

In today’s digital era, most businesses already have some form of marketing technology – also known as MarTech – in place. It is within this frame that MarTech is seen to be a key component for recovery, with over 60% of leaders planning to increase spends on technology in 2021, according to Gartner.

However, even with all its potential, MarTech still presents a myriad of challenges for businesses. While leaders understand that integrating a MarTech stack generates immense value-add for their operations, they do not necessarily understand what is required after the very first stage of implementation. 

Accelerated Demands in Southeast Asia

As the world continues to become more digital, MarTech is likely to continue thriving. According to Gartner Inc’s CMO Spend Survey, 26% of the total 2021 marketing budget will be dedicated to tech, making it a top priority for most Chief Marketing Officers.

In Southeast Asia alone, there is strong demand for MarTech solutions in the past few years. Some businesses have already successfully implemented five to 10 different systems on average, but tend to neglect them halfway. Therein lies the problem; while brands have managed to convince business leaders to invest in the technology, they may not necessarily have the time or resources to ensure they are utilizing the solutions to the fullest extent.

What’s the Hold Up?

These brands are sitting on a lot of value. While the global COVID-19 pandemic has definitely been a driver for brands to understand how to best utilize these solutions to their full potential, one key challenge is linking MarTech back to the business’ broader strategy. Many leaders miss a critical next step of building a capable team, which is an investment that is actually harder to justify.

In addition, while demand is growing for tech-savvy marketers in Southeast Asia, we are still seeing a shortage of talent today. Nearly 70% of tech hiring managers in the region say it takes more than three months to fill an open tech position on their team, according to a survey by Robert Walters. Moreover, LinkedIn finds that the top three fastest growing job categories in Southeast Asia for 2021 are digital content, data analyst, and software technology.

Tapping on MarTech’s Full Potential

There is a natural instinct for leaders to get caught up on the “next big thing.” They tend to focus more on getting the tech up and running but lose focus on the entire lifecycle after the initial launch. The challenges mentioned above can be addressed by first identifying specific pain points to tackle with and understanding which aspects of the business need solving. After all, a solution is only useful if it can be integrated with existing infrastructure and translated to business outcomes.

Here are a few ways to unleash MarTech’s full potential:

  1. Expand the team. Most businesses have very lean teams; more often than not there is only one person responsible for running the entire MarTech stack. Leaders should focus on investing in and building a core team to ensure continuity in the long run.
  2. Build specific return on investments around MarTech. Clear ROIs will help the leadership team to better assess the investment and become open to new opportunities that lie ahead. Getting organizational buy-in also helps create a stronger digital mindset among employees across different departments beyond the core MarTech team.
  3. Update and integrate systems as early as possible. With thousands of MarTech solutions to choose from, and new products and features emerging daily, redundancy within a business’ MarTech stack is inevitable. However, marketers need to take a strategic approach to avoid siloed operations. According to Gartner, only 33% feel their existing tech is useful, while over 80% are sitting on a short-sighted or outdated MarTech roadmap. Thus, examining current MarTech stack and employing efforts to either maximise, improve, or even re-evaluate their current stack are critical. This is also a signal that it is high time for many MarTech stacks and roadmaps to go through a level of audit to accommodate innovation, emphasis on business differentiation, or even just simple updating for records.
  4. Explore MarTech-as-a-Service and its benefits. MarTech-as-a-Service provides an opportunity for businesses to analyze operations holistically across the sales and marketing funnel. This also helps businesses choose the right solutions that match the business’ maturity level and to optimize current stacks.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach because all businesses are different. From objectives, company size to business priorities, MarTech can help solve challenges across departments and teams where relevant. 

With a dynamic set of MarTech solutions to choose from, it will be key for businesses to adopt a strategic approach — aligning the right tools to their processes and ensuring best-in-class technology in all data-driven decisions. As we forge ahead into the next half of 2021, it is worth considering the dynamic trends that are shaping the current and future environment of MarTech to stay ahead of the curve.

This article was written by Christopher Wiseman, head of marketing technology at ADA.
 
Categories
Technology Featured ANZ

AU-based martech IntelligenceBank secures US$37m growth investment

Sydney, Australia – IntelligenceBank, an Australian-based marketing technology company, has secured a US$37 growth investment, which will help fuel the continued growth of IntelligenceBank, fortify its market leadership position, and support global expansion plans.

Made possible by global growth equity firm Five Elms Capital, said funding will also accelerate IntelligenceBank’s innovative product roadmap which includes initiatives such as next-gen AI, flexible integrations and powerful content governance and compliance features.

The $37 million (USD) investment comes as brands and enterprises have realized that outdated technologies, disjointed data sources, and manual processes make it challenging to efficiently manage essential marketing workflows and ensure compliance across the organization. 

IntelligenceBank digitally transforms manual processes and poorly stacked systems with a purpose-built platform to improve marketing efficiency, increase speed to market, and minimize marketing compliance risks. 

Speaking about the investment, Tessa Court, CEO and founder at IntelligenceBank, stated that the funding will help the company to scale its platform and further support its rapidly expanding global customer base.

“We are looking forward to working with the Five Elms team to accelerate our growth during a time when marketing departments are undergoing massive digital transformations. There is a growing need for IntelligenceBank’s marketing system of record to better manage content, deliver go to market efficiencies, and streamline approvals as well as brand and regulatory compliance. The new funding will help us move faster and leverage global market opportunities that will serve our customers’ needs,” Court stated.

Meanwhile, Joe Onofrio, Managing Director at Five Elms, commented: “We have gotten to know Tessa and her team over the last four years, and during that time they have efficiently executed on their plan to build a world-class organization helping clients access, manage, deploy, and control their digital assets at scale. IntelligenceBank has an evangelical customer base across numerous industries and continents. 

He added, “The company’s platform is leading the way as organizations manage digital transitions and increases in remote workforces. We could not be more excited to support IntelligenceBank in their quest to deliver innovative solutions that enable marketing organizations to be more collaborative, efficient, and strategic.”

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Technology Featured Global

Tealium launches new feature to demonstrate customer data platform flexibility

California, USA – Global customer data company Tealium has recently announced new features in its customer data platform (CDP), Tealium Features, which allows customers to connect to custom destinations, transform data, automate workflows, and launch new use cases faster with simple code.

Specifically, Tealium Features can aid customers through building or customizing integrations to connect to custom destinations and transforming real-time streaming data prior to activation to ensure that it is in its most usable format across the tech stack. In addition, it also aids in automating workflows to minimize repetitive, time-consuming tasks and increase high-scale efficiency and quickly connect customers to external datasets to leverage critical data that lives outside of a business’ CDP.

“We pioneered this type of customization capability in the market when we introduced extensions in Tealium iQ Tag Management and Tealium Functions brings the same customization flexibility to our server-side products,” said Mike Anderson, CTO and founder at Tealium.

Tealium iQ Tag Management pertains to one of the systems of Tealium, which aids customers to take in charge of their marketing technology implementations, which in turn eases the deployment of new vendor tags and makes edits to existing ones.

“Most of the customer experience is digital but the ecosystem of data and technologies powering these experiences are rarely based on a single platform. To keep the entire journey connected, businesses need more flexibility and options from their customer data platform (CDP) to quickly build custom ‘just for me’ integrations, automations and transformations for their unique application stack and use cases,” the company said in a press statement.

Today, Tealium Functions is generally available for Tealium’s other services such as EventStream API Hub and AudienceStream CDP customers enabling them to create custom functions for data destinations and integrations. Later this year, Transformations in Tealium Functions will be available to further expand customization capabilities and allow customers to create functions at the point of data collection to transform, modify, or validate events before processing.

“With Tealium Functions, our vision is to eventually enable customers to create a customization layer that can be used at any point of the data lifecycle so they can truly identify and address their most complex business needs,” Anderson concluded.

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Main Feature Technology APAC

MARKETECH APAC opens conversation on the new internet: Advertising in a privacy-first and cookieless world

Singapore – Recognizing the need for brands to transition from the traditional dependence on ‘cookies’ for their digital advertising to a privacy-centric method, MARKETECH APAC, the news content platform dedicated to the advertising and marketing industry in the APAC region, has recently conducted its webinar last 2 June to spur the dialogue on the topic. It provided marketers and advertisers in Asia a view of the best practices they can adopt for their transition to a new internet landscape that is fast putting the premium on consumer privacy. The virtual event on Wednesday also uncovered firsthand insights from marketing professionals in Asia with a panel that saw the gathering of esteemed leaders from the industries of insurance, digital payments and fast food. 

In the first half of the webinar, Creative & Media Innovation in Asia | Preparing your brand for a cookieless world, Travis Teo, co-founder and executive director of Adzymic, presented a discussion on the status quo of third-party cookie usage in marketing and the challenges and opportunities it would leave once they are finally phased out in 2022. 

Meanwhile, in the said panel discussion, industry practitioners shared their experiences as they shift away from cookie targeting techniques. Marketing leaders from Payoneer, Burger King, and Income discussed the strategies they are employing to get ready for the not-so-distant future. 

Privacy-centricity and creative technology: modern marketing techniques for the new cookieless era

In the first presentation, Teo discussed a three-pronged approach that brands can follow to continue driving campaign performance in the post-cookie world: how to sustain accurate audience targeting, where should the ads appear, and how creative messaging strategies should shift to adapt to the new targeting methods. 

He discussed in detail the key alternatives to third-party cookies, sharing the pros and cons of Google’s cohort-based interest targeting, and first-party data targeting methods through hashed/anonymized email addresses or first-party cookie collection. Other considerations discussed were the scale of universal ID adoption of online publishers, accessibility of second-party data from publishers and leveraging adtech to scale up on creative testing and performance. 

Round table discussion on how brands are preparing for transition

The panelists included Tanushri Rastogi, brand and media lead at Burger King Indonesia; Anny Huang, head of digital business at Income; and Eileen Borromeo, head of marketing for Southeast Asia & Pakistan at Payoneer; with the session moderated by Peggy Koh, head of growth and client success at Adzymic

Through the lens of the panelists’ unique business environments, the group discussed how they are sharpening focus on capturing quality first-party customer data via consumer mobile apps or BTL events, and investing in martech stacks that include data management platforms to run campaigns. They concluded by sharing client perspectives on the expectations they had of media agency or martech partners to be knowledgeable and proactive in making recommendations for future-ready methods of running campaigns.

The webinar was conducted under MARKETECH APAC’s webinar series Inside Innovation, in partnership with Adzymic, which attracted a total of 396 registrations across Asia and ANZ.

On-demand access to the webinar is now available. Register here to get your access.

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Technology Featured

SG-based martech Affable.ai raises US$2M to boost influencer marketing platform

Singapore – Martech startup Affable.ai has announced that it has raised US$2m in total funding, which will be used by the startup to bolster its influencer marketing platform to more clients globally who seek aid on running high-impact influencer marketing campaigns.

The funding was backed by venture capital companies Prime Venture Partners, Decacorn Capital, and SGInnovate.

Founded in 2017 by Nisarg Shah and Swayam Narain, Affable’s end-to-end Influencer Marketing Platform allows brands and agencies to streamline their influencer strategies throughout the planning, discovery, activation, and reporting phases. Affable uses advanced machine learning and big data analytics to help brands find influencers, manage and measure campaign performance. 

With the influencer marketing process being extremely manual, time-consuming and completely based on guesswork, Affable provides brands with data-driven insights and analytics to help streamline their micro-influencer marketing process.

Affable also utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to create accurate influencer-brand mapping and measuring campaign ROIs. In addition, Affable indexes all the social media users and identifies potential influencers that a brand could work with. 

Using Affable, marketers can find influencers, manage them campaign-wise, and measure post-campaign analytics such as engagement from in-target audience, influencer success(as a group and individually), measure the overall effectiveness of the campaign, as well as measure clicks and sales.

According to Nisarg Shah, CEO and co-founder at Affable.ai, they see a huge opportunity in working with brands to enable the much needed, data-driven influencer marketing campaigns, as the brands and agencies, they work with reinforce their belief in the need for analytics to streamline the micro-influencer marketing process. 

“Prime brings a depth of experience in scaling global SaaS companies, operational expertise, as well as a strong network that we can leverage during our growth phase and we are very excited to partner with them. At the same time, participation from our existing investors is a great endorsement for us,”

Affable currently serves a multitude of over 45 top brands and agency clients including Huawei, Wipro, Pomelo, Fresh, Omnicom, dentsu, and WE Communications. The company tracks more than three Million Influencers across Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.

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Technology Featured Global

Bambuser acquires martech Relatable, combines competencies for live video shopping

Stockholm, Sweden – Global software Bambuser, which primarily specializes in interactive live video streaming, has announced the acquisition of global martech company Relatable, as both companies are vying to use their combined resources to empower the future of live video shopping as well as influencer marketing campaigns.

The acquisition, valued at US$24m, will also help enable brands and retailers to scale high-impact livestream shopping implementations and drive business results.

Bambuser’s recent move follows after a year of remarkable growth for Bambuser and widespread adoption of the company’s SaaS solutions for interactive e-commerce. The two companies will operate and service customers independently, yet collaboratively. 

In line with the acquisition, Relatable founder Martin Garbarczyk will join Bambuser’s executive team as chief revenue officer (CRO), contributing his extensive experience building high-performing sales organizations to further accelerate Bambuser’s global growth.

“Bambuser and Relatable are a match made in heaven. I’m excited to build a global sales organization that leverages the enormous market demand and fuels growth to our SaaS business,” Garbarczyk said.

As a first step in the new relationship, Bambuser will add creative and strategic services from Relatable to its customers, enabling them to amplify campaigns before, during, and after Live Video Shopping events. Teams will be co-located in Sweden, the U.S. and U.K., where each company has an established presence, to enhance synergies and drive opportunities for cross- and upselling.

“By joining forces with Relatable, we increase our market pole position with an unrivaled SaaS offering that clearly differentiates us from the competition,” said Maryam Ghahremani, CEO of Bambuser.