Are organizations any good on their own anymore? Not really, it seems. Not by the acquisition trends we’re seeing.
Marketo scoops up Insightera. Oracle grabs Responsys. Salesforce nabs ExactTarget. Just yesterday, Verint acquired Kana and Microsoft acquired Parature. All of this, with the exception of Salesforce and ExactTarget, happened in the past month.
Customer’s needs are changing fast, and customer experience software providers targeting and tracking their habits want to adapt, too.
The goal, it seems, is to become "complete." That's been the buzzword through this flurry of acquisitions. More specifically, it's about the “complete customer lifecycle.”
Everybody wants to be everybody -- and the only way to do that is by actually becoming the other guy through an acquisition.
Case in point: Another we haven't even mentioned yet: Answers Corp.’s acquisition of ForeSee Results, Inc. last month. Here, a customer acquisition and brand engagement cloud-based provider (Answers) meets customer analytics experience (ForeSee).
“Complete customer lifecycle” came up when we spoke with David Karandish, CEO, Answers Corp.
“Adding ForeSee to the Answers suite of cloud-based marketing services allows us to provide a complete customer lifecycle solution for brands, retailers and organizations: from optimizing customer acquisition to analyzing the customer experience to predicting future customer behavior,” Karandish told us.
There’s that "complete" again. Just like Marketo wanting to improve its real-time personalization capabilities. Just like Oracle wanting to enhance its cloud-based marketing offerings with Responsys. And Salesforce diving deeper into marketing automation with ExactTarget.
The trend? Avoid being a one-trick pony because customers, the most important part of the endless cycle of marketing and customer experience software, are far from one-tricksters.
“Answers and ForeSee together help companies address the key phases of the customer lifecycle -- from optimizing customer acquisition to analyzing the customer experience to predicting future customer behavior,” ForeSee CEO Larry Freed told CMSWire. “I don’t think any other company can come close to addressing the full lifecycle.”
What ForeSee Brings to Answers Corp
Logistically, we’re not talking about an Oracle or SAP multi-thousand-employee acquisition. Heading into the acquisition, Answers had 280 employees, and, with the addition of ForeSee’s 335, the Answers workforce easily tops 600 and will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, Karandish told us.
The CEO called ForeSee the largest player in the customer experience analytics game; it works 0with more than 500 brands, many of whom are existing Answers clients. The Answers client base jumps to about 3,000, its CEO said. Chief among its clients are marketing and customer care professionals at brands, manufacturers, retailers and other organizations.
ForeSee's latest release came in October when it announced new multichannel capabilities and technologies included in its cx360 platform that it says helps organizations improve the customer experience by providing analytics across multiple touch points.
“Like Answers, ForeSee is technology-driven at its core, and its 360-degree view of the consumer experience, coupled with industry benchmarking capabilities, will be a valuable addition to our service offerings,” Karandish said.
Perhaps most popular in the Answers Corp. is Answers.com, the Q&A site that’s been live since 1999.
But Karandish said Answers has been on a journey to evolve its identity and mission. Although it still delivers advice for consumers through Answers.com, it has become a stronger strategic partner to brands, retailers and organizations, the CEO said.
We are a “cloud-based services provider that helps clients harness the power of our technologies and consumer expertise to increase customer engagement, sales of products and services, and overall satisfaction,” Karandish added.
For ForeSee, the deal was attractive in the sense it gets a bigger platform that will continue to grow.
“This will enable us to help our customers improve the customer experience and drive their business not only in the areas that ForeSee excels in, but in other areas as well,” Freed said.
Title image by Sergey Nivens (Shutterstock).