Bespoke Announces ‘BeAssist,’ the First AI Chatbot to Kick-Start Local Businesses During COVID-19

Bespoke Inc. (“Bespoke”), creators of the first AI-powered chatbot developed specifically for emergency response, announced the launch of “BeAssist.” BeAssist enables small businesses across the world to create their own AI (Artificial Intelligence) chatbot in three simple steps to recover more quickly from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

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With BeAssist, customers of small companies can quickly and easily access important store information including shopping hours during the lockdown, delivery, and curbside pickup options. Through a chat interface on their mobile phones or widget on the homepage of a local business, customers connect instantly to BeAssist and receive answers to their questions in real-time. Businesses stay engaged with customers and receive deep insights about their clients, questions, and concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Wondering when your local shop will reopen or if they offer delivery or curbside pick-up? BeAssist will give you the answer right away,” says Akemi Tsunagawa, founder and CEO of Bespoke. “Our high-performance AI platform was developed from the ground up to serve the specific needs during emergencies, providing people with the timely info and guidance they need in these tough times. For this new service, we combined our expertise in emergency communication and the tourism industry to now support local businesses and increase sales during these challenging months.”

Startpage and Vivaldi Browser Give Users Easy, Powerful Way to Improve Online Search Privacy and Security

Startpage, the world’s first and most private search engine, and Vivaldi browser announced a partnership that adds Startpage as a search engine option for the popular browser. The collaboration empowers privacy-aware users to customize their browsing experience while receiving Startpage’s best-in-class search results and unrivaled privacy protection.

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A recent rise in global internet traffic during COVID-19 has accelerated consumer privacy awareness, as users have become increasingly mindful of how they might be tracked online and how their data may be used. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April, over half of U.S. adults said they decided recently not to use a product or service because they were worried about how much personal information would be collected about them. And privacy was an increasing concern prior to the crisis; in a recent survey, 84% of Vivaldi users said that the privacy reputation of a search engine is important to them. This partnership comes at a critical time for Vivaldi users who seek maximum privacy and control of their online experiences.

“Vivaldi browser’s speed, ad blockers, and tracking protection make it a highly customizable alternative to Chrome and Firefox and an ideal partner for us,” said Robert E.G. Beens, CEO and co-founder of Startpage. “Partnering with Vivaldi offers our users a combination of two great European products and gives them full privacy without sacrificing search results.”

This collaboration expands on the Vivaldi browser’s long-standing commitment to choice and customization by bringing its users more private search options. Startpage is the world’s first private search engine, founded in the Netherlands in 2006, and does not track, log or share user data. Startpage searches deliver completely un-profiled results while also protecting users from annoying ad and price trackers that follow them around the web. Vivaldi browser also offers a number of other privacy-enhancing tools and features to protect users from trackers and unwanted ads and puts them in control with unique built-in features such as advanced tab management, an adaptive user interface, and customizable navigation tools.

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“Search is at the core of the online experience for our users,” said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO and co-founder, Vivaldi. “We’re partnering with Startpage to make it easy for users to protect their privacy. They can search the Web freely and without any intrusions to their privacy.”

Users installing Vivaldi for the first time will find Startpage in the Search field to the right of the address bar of the Vivaldi browser. Clicking on the magnifying glass icon will reveal a menu of search engine options, including the Startpage. It is also possible to search using Startpage in the address field after selecting this option in the Search Settings. Users can search with Startpage using Search Engine Nicknames – no need to set it as default.

The Yes Reimagines The Future Of Commerce Emerges With The Launch Of A New Shopping Platform

E-commerce veteran Julie Bornstein and technical co-founder Amit Aggarwal, announce the launch of The Yes, a next-gen shopping experience poised to redefine the architecture of e-commerce and the way people buy. Leveraging a sophisticated algorithm powered by each individual’s choices and human instincts around personal style, The Yes uses computer vision and machine learning to encode fashion and create a new consumer experience tailor-made for each user. The Yes is intelligent shopping, building a store around each customer, and continually learning and adapting the shopping experience, so it gets better over time.

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Powered by consumer preferences, The Yes asks simple questions prompting an answer of Yes or No. A sophisticated algorithm then streamlines the shopping experience to feature a personal home feed with recommended brands, themes, and trends specifically for that user. The app also features ‘smart search’ which filters each shopper’s style and brand preferences across all categories, themes, and brands. Unlike every other ecommerce site today, The Yes is adaptive, in session, which means as a shopper taps a Yes or No, the algorithm re-ranks products in real-time. Key features include a personal daily refreshed feed of new relevant products, one-tap frictionless buying in-app, automatic size recommendations, and the ability to see what your friends are Yes’ing for inspiration.

Equally exciting, The Yes offers the broadest range of brands to serve women’s high/low shopping, bringing together brands previously unavailable from the same source, offering the consumer the best selection, and the best fit for their personal style. To offer this selection, The Yes partners with widely distributed specialty and DTC brands.  At launch, The Yes will carry more than 150 of the leading brands across the industry including Ralph Lauren Collection, Altuzarra, Erdem, Everlane, La Ligne, Rosie Assoulin, STAUD, Balenciaga, Acne Studios, Ganni, Tabitha Simmons, FRAME and Vince. When a brand integrates with The Yes, the platform sells each brand’s full digital catalog, offering its entire assortment by integrating into The Yes fashion algorithm. This requires automatically decoding every SKU and ranking it to each shopper, something that a human buyer could never do at scale.

“Shopping and building the best online shopping experiences have been my life-long passion,” states Founder and CEO, Julie Bornstein. “What many women may consider overwhelming, I find an exciting challenge – that is why building The Yes has been a dream come true. Working with both incredible brands and deep engineering and machine learning talent, we’ve been able to build a next-generation shopping experience that brings the best of efficient, fun and delightful shopping by leveraging new technologies that didn’t even exist a few years ago.”

“Understanding Julie’s passion, building an A+ team of engineers and solving real-life problems by using Machine Learning and Computer Vision to build novel software products has led us to groundbreaking innovation in e-commerce,” shares Co-Founder Amit Aggarwal. “To create this new way to shop required a tech infrastructure that was built from scratch with the customer’s preferences at the core of the shopping experience. No legacy player can build this because it requires a totally new approach to merging computer vision, natural language processing, and AI with building proprietary technology. We have three patents pending already.”

Fashion and Creative Director, Taylor Tomasi Hill added, “What sets Julie apart from so many industry leaders is her deep understanding of the pain points brands face with the traditional wholesale distribution. Julie aims to give the power back to the brands and I’m thrilled to champion her mission. I get to work with designers and brands in full support of their creative vision, which makes the storytelling for the consumer so much more gratifying.”

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The launch of The Yes comes at a time when shopping and retail are more uncertain than ever before. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, The Yes postponed the launch to better understand the direction of the e-commerce landscape, the needs of brands, and ultimately how consumers will want to shop and interact with brands as it moves forward. With many retailers filing for bankruptcy, canceling orders, and closing stores, The Yes is now a much-needed resource for brands and a new way to engage with consumers. The app allows brands to diversify their distribution channels at a time when physical retail is unable to operate and wholesale partners are uncertain. The Yes provides a unique platform that can keep brands’ existing customers shopping and acquire a new audience.  As importantly, The Yes makes shopping online easier for consumers, as the value of shopping in person, selecting the right size, and finding the right items for you, becomes harder to access.

At launch, The Yes is donating a dollar per download to Good+Foundation during the first month of launch. During this time of crisis, Good+ is partnering with frontline workers across the country to get donations to families in need. Good+Foundation is a leading national nonprofit that works to dismantle multi-generational poverty by pairing tangible goods with innovative services for low-income fathers, mothers, and caregivers, creating an upward trajectory for the whole family. “We are thrilled to partner with The Yes and grateful for their support of our work with underserved families in this country,” said Jessica Seinfeld, President, and Founder of Good+Foundation. “We chose to be part of this venture because The Yes is aiming to help companies stay in business during this crisis and trying to encourage job stability in this sector, which is critical to our economy.”

WorkRamp Enables Every Company to Build Their Own ‘Trailhead’ with New Features to Improve Product Adoption and Customer Retention

WorkRamp, the learning transformation leader, announced enhancements to the new WorkRamp for Customers platform to democratize learning communities for every organization. These innovations will enable companies to improve customer onboarding, increase revenue retention, and mobilize product advocates inside their customer communities.

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“Salesforce has created the gold standard in customer education through its Trailhead platform,” said Ted Blosser, CEO, and co-founder at WorkRamp. “Our goal at WorkRamp is to standardize this same capability at every organization–without calling for an army of trainers, web developers, and instructional designers. We’re excited to announce new customer education features to empower every company, regardless of size, to create learning programs that drive customer loyalty and adoption.”

These enhancements inside WorkRamp for Customers will now allow companies to build agile customer education programs from a single, purpose-built training platform. The key features in this new offering include:

  • Courses, Certifications, and Events: Deliver micro-training, certifications, and instructor-led training–all from one custom-branded instance.

  • Customized Experiences: Design personalized learning journeys based on data captured from user registration or SSO. Allow for a tailored learning experience based on role, custom tags, or geography.

  • Robust Ecommerce: Generate revenue from learning opportunities and reinvest the earnings back to the program to improve the customer experience.

  • Salesforce Sync: Analyze learner performance with dynamic SFDC dashboards and customized reports. Manage customer alerts as they complete training and certifications.

  • Powerful Integrations: Connect with services like Google Analytics, Intercom, LinkedIn, and Quantum Metric to extend the customer learning experience.

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New Kahoot! Integration With Microsoft Teams Brings Engagement To Distance Learning And Video Conferencing

Kahoot! announced the launch of an integration with Microsoft Teams which allows its 75 million daily users to play Kahoot! games simultaneously or at their own pace from directly within Teams.

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In these unprecedented times, this integration transforms distance learning for schools and remote working by offering an engaging way to connect with others and learn remotely so that teachers, students, and professionals can reach their goals.

When played simultaneously via Teams’ video conference functionality, Kahoot!’s friendly competition brings engagement and human interaction to remote team meetings and classrooms.  This, when combined with new interactive presentation functionality within Kahoot!’s Premium+ offering for business, makes it possible to deliver engaging presentations that everyone will remember through Teams.

Also, teachers or trainers can assign Kahoot! games directly into Teams channels so that members can learn at their own pace.  This game mode remains a group experience and updates are posted into the channel as the game unfolds, culminating in a final results podium that is posted into the channel when the game ends. It has proved a particularly popular solution for teachers delivering distance learning all around the world.

“With the majority of the world’s schools and businesses operating remotely due to COVID-19, now is the right time for this integration which meets the high demand we are seeing for both social interaction and distance learning from businesses and schools alike,” said Eilert Hanoa, CEO, Kahoot!.

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“Microsoft Teams users will now have the unique engagement of Kahoot! at their fingertips,” said Steven Abrahams, Principal Program Manager for Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Corp. “It’s an industry-leading integration which has been highly requested by our customers, and will further enhance the Teams experience by making collaboration and learning fun, no matter where you are.”

Britta Meyer Rock Joins Claris as New VP of Marketing

Claris International Inc., the Apple subsidiary known for its leading low-code development platform, expands its executive team by welcoming Britta Meyer Rock as its new VP of Marketing.

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Britta will lead all aspects of Clari’s marketing strategy and execution, including brand and performance marketing, community engagement, and customer lifecycle management.

“We couldn’t ask for a more accomplished marketing leader to join our organization,” said Claris CEO Brad Freitag. “The energy and intelligence Britta brings to all of her work will be a huge boost to an already stellar marketing team. Whether she’s highlighting amazing modern apps developed by our community, bringing more developers into Claris Connect, or cementing our leadership position in the rapidly expanding low-code market, Britta’s skills are going to complement those of the leadership team, and bolster customer commitment.”

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Britta joins Claris from WageWorks where she previously served as CMO and played a pivotal role in furthering the company’s brand presence, increasing market share, and supporting sales to drive revenue growth. Britta also brings more than twenty years of leadership experience in marketing, holding executive positions at companies that specialize in social technologies and enterprise software as a service (SaaS).

Sales Hacker Launches the Premier Interactive Community for Sales Professionals

Sales Hacker, the top destination for sales education and career acceleration, launched a new interactive community for sales professionals. The Sales Hacker community provides an educational and interactive hub to help sales professionals grow expertise, share knowledge, and develop professionally by learning from their peers and industry leaders.

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“I am thrilled to launch this community to sales professionals around the globe,” said Max Altschuler, founder of Sales Hacker and vice president of marketing at Outreach. “In today’s remote environment, resources that keep us connected, foster idea-sharing, and open dialogue are increasingly important. This is exactly what Sales Hacker is designed to do. Sales professionals from all backgrounds and experience levels can come together and learn from each other to ultimately bring more success to their organizations and grow as leaders.”

Sales Hacker was acquired by the number one sales engagement platform, Outreach, in August 2018, and is the leading destination for sales professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the world of sales.

“The sales industry is at a very important crossroads. Now more than ever, we need spaces where we share ideas, learn from each other, and grow in areas that will advance our businesses,” said Manny Medina, CEO, and co-founder of Outreach. “Sales Hacker has always been the place to learn about what’s happening in the industry – now sales professionals can take that one step further by sparking conversations and inspiring each other with their unique approach to improving their sales skills. These are the conversations that are going to help shape the modern sales process.”

Sales Hacker touts more than 166,000 diverse sales professionals and members and has more than 500 contributing authors providing expertise. Now, in addition to the existing industry news and educational resources like webinars, blogs, and events that Sales Hacker provides, the new community features:

  • Discussion Threads: Community members can launch discussion threads to get advice, feedback, and ideas from fellow community members and sales experts. These threads allow for a lively discussion between sales professionals of all backgrounds and levels of expertise, fostering engagement within the community.
  • Professional Profiles: Community members can create profiles to advance their professional development and develop connections. Profiles showcase interests, display engagement metrics, and aggregate industry news and information in an easy-to-read feed. Members can also follow authors and other members to build their professional community.
  • Channels: Community members can view news, discussion threads, and information through channels tailored to selling focus areas including sales development, sales engagement, sales operations, and sales “closers” (aka executives charged with closing deals).
  • Career Development Content & Trends: Community members have access to the latest news and industry trends, and can grow their skills through carefully curated webinars, sales training, sales templates, and blog posts.
  • Direct Messaging: Community members will be able to directly connect with each other with private messaging.

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Coil Expands with Launch of WordPress Plugin and New Wallet Provider Uphold

Coil, the company dedicated to building a better business model for the web, unveiled the Coil Web Monetization plugin, providing publishers and creators on WordPress with an alternative and an additive way to monetize their free and premium content. Coil also introduced its newest wallet provider, Uphold, enabling payouts in more than 50 currencies, and in the U.S., access to Uphold’s new debit card payout feature.

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“Now, more than ever, publishers and individual creators are seeking new revenue streams,” said Stefan Thomas, Founder, and CEO of Coil. “At the same time, consumers are suffering from site-by-site subscription fatigue and the invasive privacy issues associated with ads. With the introduction of the Web Monetization plugin and more payout options for publishers and creators around the globe, our goal is to provide more freedom of choice and less friction for everyone.”

Developed in partnership with leading WordPress agency Pragmatic, the plugin makes it easy to web monetize an entire site with a few clicks. Once enabled, Coil streams payments to the publisher’s wallet as Coil Members enjoy the content, while preserving users’ privacy. Publishers and creators looking to maximize their revenue potential can also use the plugin to implement special features for members, including ad-free and premium content experiences. The open-source plugin is intentionally designed to be interoperable with other Web Monetization service providers, providing publishers and creators with more freedom of choice now and in the future.

With Coil’s newest wallet provider, Uphold, creators will enjoy an intuitive setup experience and more payout options. Uphold offers access to over 50 currencies with bank connectivity in more than 35 countries, expanding the Coil’s ability to serve more creators and publishers around the world. Creators in the U.S. who select Uphold as their wallet provider will also have access to the Uphold debit card offers, allowing them to have payments from Coil loaded directly onto their cards.

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Stefan Thomas added, “Part of the inspiration for Coil was to break down the barriers that prevent creators from being paid for their work and their fans from being able to support them. By leveraging Interledger Protocol technology and partnering with Uphold, we’re continuing to tear down walls that make cross-currency transactions too expensive and inaccessible to many.”

Marketers Leapfrog into Digital-first Era Through Data-driven Experiences Powered by ON24

With businesses no longer able to connect with audiences in person, digital-first events are now the new normal. That’s why companies of all industries and sizes are turning to ON24, the technology leader helping businesses innovate their marketing through interactive, data-rich digital experiences.

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Because of the engaging, data-rich format of ON24 webinars and virtual event experiences, marketers have been able to successfully pivot to a digital-first marketing strategy. And, audiences are engaging virtually at unprecedented rates — over a half-million professionals are interacting across the ON24 Network for more than 25M engagement minutes every day. That means marketers are not only continuing to drive revenue, but they are also surpassing the results typically achieved by a physical event, demonstrating the foundational role digital experiences will play for future business growth.

Domo, the provider of the Domo Business Cloud, used ON24 to transform its industry-leading user conference, Domopalooza, into a digital experience. To maintain the high-impact content and community-first mentality of their in-person event, Domo turned to ON24 because of the deep level of interactivity and insights the platform provides. As a result, Domo more than quadrupled their virtual attendees over the previous in-person event, increasing to 12,000 audience members from 3,000 in 2019.

“We were proud to be one of the first companies to prioritize safety and convert Domopalooza to a 100 percent digital event,” says Paris Gibson, Director of Corporate Events, Domo. “ON24 helped us not only ensure it would happen, but the platform actually enhanced our programming — providing rich avenues for engagement with attendees, and supporting an audience that was multiples larger than our typical in-person conference.”

“Our audience is made up of some of the most astute and engaged business people around the globe. We could not afford to have any drop off in the quality of programming when we went to a digital format,” says Orson Francescone, Managing Director, FT Live. “ON24 has provided such a valuable channel for us that we anticipate continuing using the solution even once we’re able to return to in-person events.”

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Benefitfocus, a cloud-based benefits management platform, and services provider used ON24 to move its One Place annual conference to an all-digital format. This not only allowed for the show to go on, but it enhanced the event experience and outcomes in many ways.

“By taking a digital-first event strategy, One Place 2020 achieved 200% growth in attendance and engagement over anticipated on-site attendance,” says Hunter Smythe, Director of Event Marketing, Benefitfocus. “And, the ON24 Platform provided our team with another benefit that just isn’t possible with physical events: real-time data. It’s really powerful to be able to report back to our executives with metrics that go way deeper than just attendee numbers.”

North 6th Agency Announces Strategic Venture With Award-Winning Integrated Marketing Firm Magnetik

North 6th Agency (N6A), The Outcome Relations Agency™, announced that it has entered into a strategic venture with integrated marketing firm Magnetik™.

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Since 2006, Magnetik has established itself as a premier integrated marketing agency based in New York City. Combining cutting-edge technology, award-winning creative, and strategic best practices, Magnetik has serviced more than 100 brands across all categories, including disruptive start-ups and global enterprise brands, such as Akamai, NBC Universal, and Tommy Hilfiger USA.

N6A will be integrating Magnetik’s suite of services into its Outcome Relations™ offering for clients, which combines earned media, amplification, and KPI alignment to support the specific business outcomes of CMOs, CEOs, and brand marketers.

Through the venture, N6A will now offer the following services to enable clients to amplify their Outcome Relations™ campaigns:

  • Creative and Design Services
  • Digital Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • SEO and SEM
  • Web Development

“Magnetik’s suite of digital offerings serves an important purpose in enabling brands to amplify the power of credibility assets to drive specific business outcomes,” said Matt Rizzetta, CEO of N6A. “We look forward to servicing our customers with even greater impact and with a tireless commitment to driving their business outcomes as a result of this partnership.”

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