Boomtrain’s client roster is predominantly retail and commerce platforms, which use it for email marketing and automation, and media companies like CBS and Forbes which use it for semantic analysis (i.e., to understand text and tone in written content).
“The eventual goal is to run marketing as well as to dynamically operate apps and sites where you can connect content to a specific tone,” Gerber said. “That’s an important part of the context that real-time marketing is struggling to navigate right now.”
For Zeta, hovering up Boomtrain is part of a larger bet on full-stack marketing technology.
For most of Boomtrain’s clients, its machine-learning tech is only one among several cloud software solutions they license, Gerber said. Zeta Global’s nine previous acquisitions over the past decade have pursued a similar strategy, he said, “where we take on a new category or solution and use that wedge to demonstrate additional products and services we can bring to bear.”
The leading marketing clouds tend to pay big premiums for vendors that fill a category need and add enterprise clients to the parent company. Gerber said Zeta Global instead pursues mid-tier businesses that “wouldn’t move the dial for an Oracle or Salesforce” but that it can scale to serve its own enterprise clients, including Brooks Brothers, Stop & Shop and British Airways.
“There are a whole cohort of companies in the market for machine learning and AI marketing,” Gerber said, “and they shared our vision that the technology could be more effective as part of a larger platform.”