Catchoom, PublishThis, RevTrax and Thismoment are examples of Cool Vendors that utilize mobile, social and contextual content for innovative digitally enabled brand marketers.
Catchoom promises a simple pay-per-use software as a service (SaaS) model that developers can use to build powerful image recognition into mobile apps.
PublishThis addresses the needs of two markets — publishing and content marketing.
RevTrax offers brands the ability to extend offers on any channel, embedding the coupon experience in the brand's own content.
Thismoment offers a cloud-based content management platform for "Social Brand Marketing," combining owned and user-generated media, real-time conversations, and social sharing functionality with trackable multimedia across multiple channels.
Digital marketing leaders, mobile platform providers, retailers, media companies and innovators pursuing an "Internet of everything" vision of digital-physical convergence should investigate Catchoom.
Publishers, brands and digital marketers wanting to have an impact on wanting to develop original content in the form of new websites, additions to existing websites or social media feeds to drive audience engagement should look into PublishThis.
Digital couponing is of growing importance to brand-shopper marketing strategies. Brands that are not exploring large digital FSI programs, or are looking for a coupon experience paired with rich consumer insight, should explore RevTrax.
Brands and agencies charged with managing both owned and user-generated content, and those that manage engagement and social campaigns across multiple media channels, should investigate Thismoment.
This research does not constitute an exhaustive list of vendors in any given technology area, but rather is designed to highlight interesting, new and innovative vendors, products and services. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
These newer and more innovative digital marketing vendors offer their own unique content marketing capabilities that enable brand marketers and agencies to create digital marketing campaigns and orchestrate into digital marketers' paid, earned and owned media.
Barcelona, Spain ( www.catchoom.com )
Analysis by Andrew Frank
Why Cool: The idea that smartphone users will soon be able to aim their devices at anything in the physical world, snap a picture, and instantly access a wealth of information about an object of interest has captured the imagination of brand marketers, retailers and entrepreneurs. Catchoom, a spinoff from Telefonica, is dedicated to bringing this vision to life by providing cloud-based visual recognition technology to app developers through a simple pay-per-use SaaS model that developers can use to build powerful image recognition into mobile apps. The solution supports on-the-fly image uploading into a searchable database built for rapid image search. With Catchoom technology, apps can recognize logos and trademarks, CD, DVD, and book covers, newspapers and magazines, posters, packaging, signs, stores, and landmarks, even when partially obscured and poorly lit. Such power is bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, bringing us closer an "Internet of everything" where brands extend their digital marketing clout into the world of environmental experiences.
Challenges: The smartphone image recognition space is hotly contested by deep-pocketed giants, including Google, Apple, Amazon and Nokia. Google Goggles is now available as part of Google's search app for Android and iOS, and Google has indicated its intention to offer it as an app platform, similar to Google Maps. Apple has been building its patent portfolio in the area of image recognition technology for "minimum computational power devices." Amazon, which acquired image recognition SnapTell in 2009, offers such capabilities in its Shopping app, and Nokia has deployed similar apps (Point & Find) on its now-defunct Ovi app platform. In addition to the giants, startups, such as kooaba, are also targeting this space.
In addition to competition, the vision of universal automatic content recognition remains clouded by the limitations of mobile app distribution. The Catchoom model requires that a user invoke a Catchoom-enabled app to act as a recognition agent, which presents a significant barrier to widespread adoption and favors platform providers like Google and Apple.
Still, by proving the feasibility of real-time app-based mobile image content recognition, Catchoom advances the state of the art and challenges incumbents to accelerate their open support for third-party applications.
Who Should Care: Digital marketing leaders, mobile platform providers, retailers, media companies, and innovators and investors pursuing an "Internet of everything" vision of digital-physical world convergence will want to track the progress of Catchoom and its competition. There is also a wealth of nonmarketing image recognition applications in diverse specialized areas.
Sherman Oaks, California ( www.publishthis.com )
Analysis by Allen Weiner
Why Cool: PublishThis addresses the needs of two markets — publishing and content marketing. Many of the new breed of social publishing platforms that take advantage of curation and pull select from social content (such as Tweets) offer the ability to harvest content from the Web/feeds or create original content. PublishThis provides a complete content marketing platform that merges content management, curation based on asset quality and publishing to a variety of outputs. PublishThis offers publishers the ability to quickly create new content streams with a lightweight workflow while giving even experienced content marketers an easy-to-use system for developing branded, engaging material.
Challenges: The provider market for content marketing efforts is becoming a crowded space with a wide spectrum of entrants ranging from traditional content management providers, such as Adobe and Eidosmedia, to a range of scalable platform providers whose roster is growing daily. Percolate and Ceros are two of the more prominent startups in this space. PublishThis also faces the challenge of serving publishers, an opportunity that has a limited upside, given the downward trajectory of this market.
Who Should Care: PublishThis can impact publishers, brands and digital marketers looking to develop original content in the form of new websites, additions to existing websites or social media feeds. It is a hot market, and with PublishThis' ability to offer a powerful yet lightweight workflow, curation and output system, the company is well-positioned to grow or be a target for acquisition.
New York, New York ( http://revtrax.com/ )
Analysis by Julie Hopkins
Why Cool: RevTrax allows brands to extend offers on any channel, embedding the coupon experience in the brand's own content. RevTrax limits its focus to the branded experience — versus also offering a digital FSI program — thus its entire approach (from the "no-software download" customer experience through to its approach to client pricing) is optimized to support brands deploying offers as part of their own communications. Analytics are robust and deliver to brands the insights they need to run successful brand promotions and campaigns. Real-time data access allows brands to optimize on the fly, and this (along with the RevTrax approach to security), gives brands comfort that coupons (and budgets) will not run amok after "going viral." Data captured allows brands to close the loop on tracking consumer downloads by connecting redemptions to the consumer who claimed the offer, through to where the coupon was redeemed (online or offline), resulting in better insight. November 2012 marked the launch of RevTrax OpenShare Rewards, which allows consumers to access a higher-value offer by sharing the coupon via email, Facebook, Twitter, mobile or any Web property.
Challenges: The digital coupon space is dominated by Coupons and is hotly contested by new entrants, such as Catalina/couponnetwork.com. Beyond a potential price advantage, RevTrax must demonstrate the quality of its offering to combat the stronger market position of other players. It will need to get in the door at key accounts, demonstrate value, and use its success to build a case for brands to work with multiple coupon vendors.
Who Should Care: Digital couponing is of growing importance to brand shopper marketing strategies. The global recession ignited a trend among shoppers, and consumer behavior has remained, even as economic growth returned. Brands that are not exploring large digital FSI programs, or that are looking for a coupon experience paired with rich consumer insight where data is a meaningful part of the transaction, will be interested in exploring the RevTrax offering.
San Francisco, California ( https://www.thismoment.com/ )
Analysis by Adam Sarner
Why Cool: Thismoment offers a cloud-based brand marketing platform for creating, publishing and managing online "social brand experiences." These digital experiences combine owned and user-generated media, real-time conversations, and social sharing functionality with trackable multimedia. They are distributed across company websites and channels, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vkontakte, Orkut, as well as smartphones and tablets. Thismoment can monitor social media conversations in real time, identify potential influencers and trigger alerts based on mentions across channels with workflow and moderation tools. Thismoment partners with dozens of digital marketing agencies, such as VML, Digitas and BBDO, and it powers brand channels and campaigns for more than 100 Fortune 500 clients, including Coca-Cola, P&G, GM, Oracle, Target, Adobe and IBM. Thismoment claims deployments in more than 43 countries and in 60 languages.
Challenges: Thismoment began as a content-sharing site that allowed users to upload original content and tag third-party content for curation. Likely a lack of revenue growth inspired a shift in direction with this new offering to brands. In March 2010, it launched its flagship product, the Distributed Engagement Channel (DEC). In June 2012, it closed a substantial third round of funding led by Trident Capital. Visibility for Thismoment is still somewhat low, both on the agency and the brand side, although it is gaining momentum with some key customers. Thismoment remains independent, whereas somewhat similar providers like Vitrue and Buddymedia have already been acquired.
Who Should Care: Thismoment started out as a good idea that may prove to be an even better one. Brands and agencies charged with managing both owned and user-generated content, and that manage engagement and social campaigns across multiple media channels, should investigate Thismoment.
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