Salesforce.com Finds Its ExactTarget: CMOs
Salesforce.com this week made clear it wants to be a clear player in cloud marketing with its agreement to acquire ExactTarget for $2.5 billion. The acquisition will help extend the breadth of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, adding ExactTarget's marketing automation service called FUEL.
Marketing automation, of course, is a natural extension of customer relationship management (CRM), where Salesforce.com has its roots. Salesforce.com has made a number of acquisitions to bolster its marketing service, including social media intelligence provider Radian6, BuddyMedia and Social.com.
The push by Salesforce.com into marketing automation and the company's specific focus on enterprises comes as chief marketing officers (CMOs) are gaining more influence on IT spending. Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff in a statement cited an oft-referenced prediction by Gartner that in 2017, CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs.
"The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts Salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity," Benioff noted.
Salesforce.com also cited figures from Gartner that marketing automation was the fastest-growing part of the CRM segment. It grew 21 percent last year and Gartner forecasts marketing automation will sustain that growth rate through 2017. Salesforce.com should have little trouble integrating ExactTarget FUEL into its Marketing Cloud since it already has a strong presence in the Salesforce.com AppExchange partner marketplace, said Ovum analyst Gerry Brown in a commentary released by the consulting firm.
"Product integration is already strong and there is already a well-established joint customer base," according to Brown. In addition, ExactTarget's 2012 B2B sales lead management acquisition, Pardot, also provides seamless integrations with Salesforce.com. "ExactTarget has 6,000 customers, but its enterprise footprint is limited. SFDC will sell ExactTarget's product into their own considerable enterprise customer base. SFDC certainly adds credibility to ExactTarget's proposition for the enterprise."
Brown added that Salesforce.com will now find itself competing against the Adobe Marketing Cloud. As other large players eye the CMO to extend their CRM SaaS offerings, Brown said acquisition targets include Responsys, Silverpop, and Marketo.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/06/2013 at 12:49 PM