Digital experience software provider Episerver announced Thursday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Optimizely, an experimentation and optimization provider. In a press release, Alex Atzberger, CEO of Episerver, called the move "the most significant transformation in our company’s history." The acquisition will combine Episerver’s digital experience delivery offerings through content and commerce with Optimizely’s ability to experiment and optimize across touchpoints. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Company officials said the acquisition will allow marketers to:

  • Run better experiments across front-end layouts and back-end logic with tailored recommendations.
  • Gain real-time answers to create more responsive customer experiences.
  • Allow digital teams to orchestrate digital experiences for each customer, at scale.  

Episerver is coming off its December 2019 acquisition of B2B commerce provider Insite Software and its buy of analytics and personalization provider Idio earlier in 2019. Episerver itself was acquired by Insight Partners in 2018 for $1.16 billion. Episerver competes with Sitecore and Adobe in the Digital Experience Platform (DXP) marketplace, and, like its competitors, has built a good chunk of its stack through acquisition.

Optimizely provides AI-powered personalization and experimentation, which encompasses A/B testing, multivariate testing and server-side testing. Along with Episerver, it offers a Digital Experience Platform that includes content management and commerce, both backed by AI-powered data and personalization solutions.

In other customer experience and digital marketing software news ...

Demand Science Group Acquires Cobena

Demand Science Group, parent company of lead and demand generation solution provider PureB2B, announced it has acquired business intelligence and data sciences firm Cobena. Cobena was founded in 2016 and is based in Taguig, Philippines.

The news came days after the company hired new CEO Peter Cannone. Cannone previously served as CEO at UpCurve, ThriveHive, OnForce and most recently was the executive in residence at Optum Ventures. The company also hired industry veteran Bill Harrigan as SVP of M&A and corporate development. Harrigan has acted as an advisor to Demand Science since 2017. Prior to DSG, Harrigan served as the managing principal of Bateleur Advisors LLC, a private investment and advisory platform.

Cobena uses data science tools to help customers understand their current data and predict their company's future, according to Cannone. 

Demand Science Group launches marketing technology companies across a variety of industries and has experience in B2B demand generation and content marketing. Founded in 2007 and based in Danvers, Mass., the Demand Science Group portfolio of companies now includes PureB2B, ProspectOne, Demand Science and Cobena.

Medallia Acquires Stella Connect for $100M

Customer and employee experience management software provider Medallia has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Stella Connect, a real-time feedback, coaching and quality management platform for customer service teams. The deal is worth $100 million. Stella Connect also provides rewards and recognition, and quality assurance customer interactions including phone, digital and chat. Stella Connect will be able to connect agent coaching to feedback and accelerate its vision through the acquisition in a bigger and faster way, stated the company's cofounder and CEO Jordy Leiser in a press release.

Stella Connect will integrate with Medallia Experience Cloud and Medallia’s new speech technology. The acquisition is expected to close this month, subject to customary closing conditions.

Merkle Debuts B2B Group

Merkle, a performance marketing agency, introduced its new B2B group this week. The integrated group will feature five B2B companies: Merkle (B2B technology integration, data and analytics), Merkle/DWA (B2B media agency), gyro (B2B strategy agency), B2B International (B2B market research) and Digital Pi (B2B digital marketing agency focused on marketing automation consulting services). The strategic integration of the five aims to help B2B companies with brand creation and activation on a global scale. The goal is to become a growth partner for B2B brands through the delivery of integrated customer experiences.

Learning Opportunities

The new agency brings together more than 1,000 people who serve more than one hundred B2B clients globally with over $16 billion in billings. The company is backed by Dentsu Aegis Network. Merkle B2B will serve as the global center of excellence for Dentsu Aegis Network's B2B practice.

Sitecore Names New CEO

Digital experience management software provider Sitecore has named Steve Tzikakis its new CEO. Former CEO Mark Frost will continue as an advisor. Over the last three years, Frost has led Sitecore through the expansion of its business to a multi-product company and drove the transition to managed cloud and SaaS.

Tzikakis spent 13 years at SAP, including the last five years as president of SAP’s South Europe, Middle East and Africa region. He will be based in Sitecore’s London office. 

Algolia Integrates with Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Algolia, a search and discovery solution, has integrated with Salesforce Commerce Cloud. This will allow customers to adopt a headless architecture that supports product-based experiences on multiple channels. Algolia’s headless commerce solution includes personalized search and discovery, visual merchandising and a dashboard with advanced analytics.

Algolia for Salesforce Commerce Cloud includes the ability to:

  • Build experiences that allow shoppers to browse the catalog with personalized category pages, advanced navigation, filters and facets.
  • Index and import content into Algolia — including content found within Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Community Cloud and Service Cloud.
  • Create shopping experiences on any device and channel using Algolia's API clients, front-end libraries and extensive documentation.
  • Use a visual drag and drop interface to merchandise products, pin items and hide results.
  • Leverage a dashboard to create synonyms, manage the relevance and personalization algorithms, launch A/B tests and more.
  • Tailor front-end experiences to reflect and amplify the customer’s unique brand.
  • Deliver search, with search-as-you-type, typo tolerance, query suggestions and more.

Algolia for Salesforce Commerce Cloud is generally available today. 

Seismic Launches Interactive Content Capabilities

Seismic, a sales enablement and marketing orchestration platform provider, has launched new Interactive Content capabilities through its LiveContent platform and through micro apps powered by Tiled. The move is designed to help sellers adapt to buyer reactions and feedback in near real-time through use of Seismic's personalization and content analytics.

Seismic's LiveContent platform allows organizations to build and provide digital experiences and create Seismic micro apps, through Tiled, to deliver content like digital brochures, pitch decks, 3-D interactive visuals and more.

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