The recent news of Salesforce.com’s $2.5bn (£1.65bn) acquisition of ExactTarget was not surprising, and neither was SAP’s move to acquire Hybris. What these acquisitions do is to validate the importance of cloud marketing platforms to businesses today. We are in an era where consumer attention is increasingly fragmented, making it much more important for organisations to deliver the right message at the right time through the most relevant channels – email, social, web, and more – to their customers (and subscribers, fans, and followers) in a fast and consistent way.
As marketing technologies evolve, they are driving a transformation in the way businesses and consumers interact, and changing what customers expect from the brands they do business with. Consumers are demanding, now more than ever, that they receive personalised communications that are designed around their specific needs and interests. If marketers do not engage customers on their terms, they lose relevance and damage the relationship.
To achieve success, marketing organisations are increasingly investing in and relying on cloud-based marketing products to help them address these marketing challenges. By relying on the cloud rather than in-house systems, marketers are able to move quickly with higher reliability and lower fixed costs to respond to their customer’s needs. Companies like ExactTarget, Hybris, and Emailvision provide cloud-based platforms that are an important part of the answer.
At the same time, the proliferation of players in the marketing space means that knowing which companies compete with and partner with each other can be quite confusing for buyers. For instance, while Emailvision competes with ExactTarget’s digital marketing software offering, our technology is very complimentary to Hybris’ eCommerce solution.
While the timing is no doubt coincidental, these two acquisitions point to a broader trend for enterprise application companies, in this case Salesforce.com and SAP, to move further into the cloud marketing space. In the coming months, I expect to see the larger players continuing to create broader solutions that rely on proven technologies from smaller, innovative companies that have reached a reasonable level of market traction and customer scale.
Who’s next? It’s hard to say. But it’s going to be interesting.