Here’s the CRM news that your peers are reading, curated by GetApp Analyst Chris Warnock.

Salesforce wants people to understand what it does, the end is nigh for advertisers, and other sales and marketing news.

Salesforce launches campaign to explain what it does

Despite being a $130 billion company and the world’s largest provider of CRM software, Salesforce is relatively unknown to the average person. To be fair, the company ambiguously describes itself as a “solution that brings companies and customers together.” A new ad campaign is trying to change all that by contextualizing the role CRM software plays in everyday lives, and how businesses like manufacturers, retailers, and the government leverage it to manage relationships. [Read more]

Google faces bipartisan antitrust probe about ad practices

Attorney generals from 48 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia are launching a bipartisan antitrust probe into whether Google is providing the best prices to advertisers, as well as the best search results to consumers. This probe falls within a larger trend of increased scrutiny of digital advertising practices as legislators attempt to better regulate giant U.S. tech companies and protect consumer data privacy. [Read more]

Asics is demanding higher standards for ad viewability metrics

In an effort to optimize campaign performance, sportswear brand Asics is purchasing only display ad slots that are 100% in-view for a certain time period. The company is using a metric called “viewable cost-per-thousand impression” to avoid paying for ads that aren’t viewed by consumers. Historically, advertisers have used an aggregate measure of all digital impressions, which does not differentiate between ads viewed for one second versus a few seconds. [Read more]

Juul receives FDA warning about its marketing practices

Despite apologies from its CEO in July about the company’s contributions to the rise in teen vaping, Juul received a warning from the FDA last week for deceptive marketing practices that presented its products as safer than traditional cigarettes. The electronic cigarette company is accused of falsely marketing its goods as modified risk tobacco products, a distinction given to products considered lower risk than traditional cigarettes. According to the FDA, Juul’s e-cigarettes don’t currently meet the legal designation for modified risk products. [Read more]

The end is nigh for marketers

This Ad Age piece isn’t quite a harbinger of death, but it’s certainly less than ideal. In the event of a recession U.S., ad spending will plummet. Ad agencies can expect to lose between three and 30% of their revenue, digital media spending will decline as people become less likely to make purchases, television will feel the effects of cord cutters spoiled with streaming service choices, and ad tech investment will decelerate sharply. Whether it’s an economic downturn or a full-on recession, something is coming. [Read more]

Week of August 16th, 2019


Zendesk’s Smooch acquisition pays off with WhatsApp integration, Facebook sues advertisers for click injection fraud and other sales and marketing news.

Zendesk leverages Smooch acquisition to improve WhatsApp integration

Starting Wednesday, all Zendesk Support and Suite customers will have access to WhatsApp for Zendesk, priced at $5 per user, per month. In May, Zendesk acquired Smooch, a startup that describes itself as an “omnichannel messaging platform” and enables service teams to engage with customers using popular chat apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Line. [Read more]

SurveyMonkey will acquire CX company GetFeedback

Survey software provider SurveyMonkey announced it will acquire customer experience (CX) management company GetFeedback. The acquisition tracks a trend among software companies looking to expand product offerings, with Salesforce’s recent $15.3 billion purchase of Tableau marking one of the largest enterprise deals ever. [Read more]

Digital advertising is making people paranoid

A recent GetApp survey found 46% of U.S. consumers have seen ads for products or services they talked about offline, but never searched for online. While many people may feel their devices are listening to them, the reality is more complicated. Enriched data sets, online behavior and predictive models inform the advertisements we see online. Modern ad targeting techniques are more accurately likened to stalking people than simply listening to their conversations. [Read more]

Cold calls and spam emails should soon be a relic of the past

No one likes to receive unsolicited sales calls, yet they persist. No one enjoys scrolling past endless marketing emails, yet over 100 billion marketing emails are sent every day. As advertising techniques that rely on persistence and volume of outreach increasingly fail, businesses are realizing the true value of forming personal relationships with their customers. [Read more]

Facebook sues app developers for using click injection fraud to generate ad revenue

Facebook is suing two app developers for click injection fraud. The lawsuit alleges that two developers, Hong Kong-based LionMobi and Singapore-based JediMobi, installed malware on users phones through the Google Playstore that generated fake clicks for Facebook advertisements. Facebook said it refunded advertisers impacted by the fake clicks. [Read more]

Week of August 5th, 2019


Salesforce forms partnership with Alibaba to increase sales in China, AI is helping Chase bank write ad copy, and other sales and marketing news.

Salesforce partners with Alibaba to grow software sales in China

Salesforce announced it would partner with Alibaba, China’s homegrown Amazon equivalent, in an effort to increase software sales in the country. Foreign companies commonly partner with local firms in China, and some industries require foreigners form joint business ventures where Chinese citizens are majority stakeholders as a stipulation for entering the market. PRC law also mandates important data generated in China is stored on local servers. Alibaba’s position as a leading cloud service provider, as well as a stamp of approval from the government, should benefit Salesforce as it ramps up operations in the region. [Read more]

Chase signs five-year deal to hire AI copywriters

J.P. Morgan Chase Bank signed a deal with Persado, an agency that applies artificial intelligence to creative marketing, to help with ideating and writing display ad copy. Company representatives said the product is a tool that works alongside human writers rather than replaces them. Ads that were created by the machine learning platform saw higher click-through rates than those written by humans. [Read more]

Amazon customer service reps in the Philippines report 24-hour shifts

Call center employees working for an Amazon subcontractor in the Philippines report 16 to 24-hour shifts are common. As businesses aim to continually improve their customer experience, people working behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly and on time are increasingly overworked and underpaid. [Read more]

Uber goes public—then slashes 400 people from its marketing department

Just a few months after going public, Uber has laid off roughly one-third of its marketing department. The decision comes in response to mounting pressure from investors skeptical of the company’s ability to turn a profit. Rapid growth and lack of cohesive strategy led Uber’s marketing efforts to become bloated, revealing a lot about issues the brand faces. [Read more]

Huawei reports 23% sales growth despite sitting in US government crosshairs

Huawei announced total revenue of $57.8 billion in the first half of 2019, representing 23% growth compared with the same period last year. This sales growth comes after the company was placed on a trade blacklist by the U.S. government in mid-May. The Trump administration claims Huawei’s technology poses a security threat because of the company’s ties to the Chinese government. However, the president has already begun lifting restrictions on U.S. firms that sell components to the company. For now, Huawei says, “operations are smooth and the organization is as sound as ever,” but that difficulties ahead may impact growth. [Read more]

Week of July 22nd, 2019


HubSpot doubles down on free services with email marketing, Etsy faces seller opposition to free shipping, and other news

HubSpot CRM’s free tier now includes email marketing

HubSpot CRM users leveraging the company’s free tier will now have access to free email marketing services. They will also be able to manage up to $1,000 per month in campaign spending on Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. According to the company, many users already use email marketing tools on other platforms, so by offering them alongside Hubspot CRM, the platform can become a more integral part of user workflows.

Software vendors repositioning themselves as one-stop shops for marketing software is part of a larger, industry-wide trend. Earlier this year Mailchimp, a popular tool for managing customer-facing email outreach, expanded its product offerings to include ad re-tartgeting, social media management, and other marketing tools. [Read more]

Backlash from Etsy users is a reminder that shipping has never been free

Etsy recently announced it will begin prioritizing goods and vendors that offer free shipping on orders of $35 or more, in an effort to match delivery speeds offered by big-box sites such as Amazon and Walmart.

But free delivery has always been an illusion—Amazon loses billions of dollars every year on shipping in order to provide a good customer experience. Etsy can’t afford to subsidize shipping, instead advising sellers to include delivery costs in item pricing. Some vendors feel the move to prioritize free shipping on Etsy doesn’t sit well with the site’s reputation as a marketplace for unique, handmade products created by individual artists. [Read more]

Understanding the psychology behind deals and discounts

Prime Day—Amazon’s annual members-only mega sale—was expanded to two days this year, had over one million deals, and generated billions in revenue. While consumers may feel like they’re getting great deals, examining the psychology behind sales sheds some light on who really comes out ahead.

Whether you’re buying something you don’t need because it’s available at a cheaper than normal price, or feeling pressure to make a purchase quickly because of a limited-time sale—deals and discounts are designed to make people think they’re getting something so they will open up their wallets. [Read more]

3% digital sales tax in France represents shifting tides for big tech across Europe

A 3% digital tax on local revenues—or total sales rather than profits—has been approved by the French government. The bill attempts to end a common tax avoidance tactic used by large multinational companies where revenue earned in high-tax EU countries is booked in low-tax countries. The legislation is meant to be temporary, serving as a stopgap until global legislation on digital taxation is established.

The tax targets business activity that drives revenue for large U.S. companies such as Google, Facebook, and Airbnb, including digital advertising and data sales. Amazon faces a similar controversy in the U.S., where it only recently started collecting sales tax in all states that have one. Similar tax measures may appear throughout Europe as governments increasingly scrutinize where digital revenues are earned versus where corporations pay taxes on them. An investigation into the French tax plan has been launched by the Trump administration. [Read more]

Juul CEO to parents of children addicted to e-cigarettes: ‘I’m sorry’

It isn’t every day the CEO of a large company apologizes to parents for hooking their children on its product—but that is exactly what Kevin Burns, CEO of Juul Labs, said in an interview on Monday. Burns’ company dominates the e-cigarette market with roughly 40% market share, and has gained popularity among teenagers.

In September 2018 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared “youth e-cigarette use an epidemic,” and took “an historic action against more than 1,300 retailers and 5 major manufacturers for their roles perpetuating youth access.” Despite shutting down its social media accounts and pulling fruity flavors from store shelves, efforts from Juul to curb youth appeal appear ineffective. [Read more]

E-scooter injuries in Texas may have to be litigated in California

E-scooters are dangerous and the terms companies such as Bird, Lyft, and Jump have users agree to when signing up to use them almost always leave riders liable in the event of an accident. Beyond that, all three companies state any disputes or lawsuits will be handled under the laws of California.

Jim Freeman, a lawyer in Austin, Texas, has selected seven cases—with injuries including facial disfigurement and shoulder dislocation—and sued each of the companies mentioned above for negligence. Freeman claims the user agreements companies put to riders are overly complicated with legalese, lengthy, and intended to provide immunity to scooter companies no matter how a rider is injured. [Read more]

Week of July 1, 2019


Websites use tricks and FOMO to boost sales and trap customers, pending data privacy laws have far reaching implications, and other sales, marketing, and customer relations trends.

Tricks and FOMO used to boost sales and trap customers

Websites and apps exploit FOMO—fear of missing out—as well as basic human desires and instincts to convince users to do specific things. These methods, coined as “dark patterns” in 2010, walk a fine line between manipulation and persuasion. Dark patterns describe a variety of techniques used to encourage desired behavior, such as purchasing a product, and discourage unwanted behaviors, such as unsubscribing from something.

Some examples of this could be intentionally hard to spot unsubscribe links buried in a wall of text at the bottom of an email, or “this hotel was just booked” notifications plastered across online travel agency websites that create a sense of urgency around booking a room. [Read more]

Data privacy regulation casts wide net in tech

California legislation (CCPA) going into effect Jan. 1, 2020, marks the beginning of data privacy reform in the United States. Though pending privacy regulations have obvious implications for large consumer-facing companies such as Facebook and Google, smaller businesses remain most vulnerable to privacy legislation. Larger companies with more resources are better equipped to respond to new laws, to withstand revenue loss from enhanced privacy protections, and to absorb fines from policy violations.

This legislation has far-reaching implications across the tech industry, impacting all data-centric companies. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff fielded questions about GDPR, CCPA, and the future of federal privacy regulations in a recent earnings call. Expressing support for a national privacy law Benioff stated, “I think that’s just an awesome vision.” [Read more]

Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google double down on ad spending

With regulation and uncertainty in the foreground, big tech companies are ratcheting up ad spending to build and safeguard their brand reputations. For the first time, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google (FANG) were all among the top 100 spenders in Ad Age’s Leading National Advertisers report.

FANG drove industry growth, accounting for just 7% of collective ad spending for the top 100 spenders, while representing 30% of overall spending growth last year. Facebook led the pack, spending 236% more on advertising in 2018 than it did the year before. Netflix followed with a 70% increase in the same period, trailed by Amazon (+32% YoY), and then Google’s parent company Alphabet (+23% YoY). [Read more]

San Francisco is banning e-cigarette sales

Government seems to be catching up with innovation as a recently approved San Francisco city ordinance outlawed the sale of nicotine vaporizers. The legislation will allow e-cigarette sales in the city once companies put their products through a pre-market FDA approval process that was previously not required for doing business. E-cigarettes pose challenges for regulators attempting to reduce risks for minors while avoiding an outright ban on technology that may help people reduce or quit smoking. [Read more]

Papa John’s invests $80M to offset corporate mistakes

Papa John’s has announced an $80 million dollar investment in itself—allocating funds for assisting domestic franchisees and marketing efforts. The company’s planned financial assistance expenditures represent an 80% increase compared with last year and will be distributed on a schedule ending in 2020. The pizza chain has struggled since controversy arose nearly a year ago after the company’s founder, John Schnatter, used a racial slur on a conference call.

According to a company press release, franchisee assistance will include reduced royalties, royalty-based service incentives and targeted relief. Marketing dollars will be put toward brand differentiation and promoting Papa John’s new brand ambassador— Shaquille O’Neal. [Read more]

For a list of archived news items, click here.

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