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Kenshoo, provider of a platform for managing marketing campaigns, yesterday announced its intent to acquire Signals Analytics, which offers a service for collecting unstructured consumer data that allows marketers to model campaigns using AI technologies. Signals Analytics counts organizations like Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Roche, and Mars among its customers. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The Signals Analytics service optimizes marketing campaign designs using consumer data from external sources, such as social media feeds, and normalizes it for customers. That capability allows marketers to employ machine learning algorithms to reach specific types of consumers without having to rely on a digital marketing agency, Signals Analytics cofounder and CEO Gil Sadeh said.

All the data loading and preparation activities are automated using AI tools the company provides for that purpose, he noted. He said there’s no need for organizations to construct a massive data lake of their own to analyze consumer data.

Going forward, the combined entity will further enable the automated marketing campaign execution based on the models customers create using the Signals Analytics service. “Our outputs will become their inputs,” Sadeh said. “We’re going to create the first full lifecycle knowledge graph built for marketers.”

Other providers of market and customer intelligence platforms include Stravito and Precima. Marketing departments also employ an array of analytics applications that have been customized to analyze data stored in various types of data lakes IT teams typically construct in the cloud on their behalf.

As organizations look to engage consumers online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re typically faced with a stark choice: invest dollars in building their own marketing platforms on top of a data lake or opt to employ a service that continuously collects and normalizes consumer data on their behalf. It would take most IT organizations several years to acquire, build, and deploy a platform that collects consumer data from multiple sources at a level of scale Signals Analytics has already achieved.

Once built, that data lake also needs to be maintained, otherwise it will potentially turn into a data swamp. Signals Analytics not only collects and normalizes massive amounts of data, it also classifies that data in a way that makes it possible to search and query it using natural language processing (NLP) tools.

What enterprise IT organizations are investing in is customer data platforms (CDPs) that enable them to better engage their existing customers. SAP, for example, acquired Emarsys last fall to provide such a platform. At the beginning of the year, Salesforce acquired Evergage. Other providers of CDP platforms include Oracle, Adobe, ARM, Treasure Data, and QuickPivot.

The level of investment being made in these classes of platforms tends to vary widely depending on the impact the pandemic has had on an industry vertical. However, with many organizations prioritizing digital customer engagements, the need for platforms that employ AI to sort and analyze massive amounts of data has become more profound.

Of course, collecting customer data is only the first step. Organizations will also need to invest time and resources into integrating analytics tools with the marketing automation platforms they have deployed. The combined entity Kenshoo will create once the deal is completed will provide organizations with a pre-integrated platform.

It’s not clear to what degree the convergence of marketing intelligence and automation platforms is imminent. However, given the urgent need to launch market campaigns faster at a lower total cost to the organization, chances are good that more mergers are on the way.

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