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Sometime this quarter, a rookie will emerge in the marketing software game. Just so happens this rookie’s name is Microsoft. Microsoft is planning for a Q2 launch of its new marketing capabilities through its acquisition of MarketingPilot.

The new capabilities debut about a year and a half after Microsoft’s acquisition. It will live in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM brand and aims to help marketers drive and manage their campaigns and engage with customers in a personalized manner on multiple devices.

Investments, Time Will Grow the Beast'

Will the move spell the end for digital marketing leaders like Adobe, IBM, SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, Marketo and others? Does Microsoft’s dive into the mix inherently make it a leader, because, well, it’s Microsoft?

Not quite yet, one industry analyst tells CMSWire.

customer experience, Will Microsoft Change the Marketing Software Ballgame?

“Microsoft will require some more time, some more acquisitions to get there,” Constellation Research’s R "Ray" Wang, founder and principal analyst, told CMSWire. “They need a demand-side platform, programmatic ad support, other advanced analytics and a context engine to enter the ad space if they choose to. For the marketing automation, today it's email-based. There's more work ahead in other areas.”

Microsoft may have holes in its integrated marketing management capabilities. But the software giant out of Redmond, Wash., has been known to make an acquisition or two, and it’s pretty good at plugging holes.

“With the right investments, yes it can become a credible player,” Kim Collins, research vice president for CRM with Gartner Research, told CMSWire. “With its broader focus beyond just digital marketing and into areas like marketing resource management (MRM), it can be viewed as more strategic.”

Microsoft’s Marketing Vision

But what about the now? What does Microsoft plan to offer out of the gate? We asked, but Dynamics officials weren’t immediately available.

Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, blogged that Dynamics Marketing will produce a “unifying foundation” for marketers to “plan effectively, execute across traditional and digital channels delivering qualified leads to their sales teams, and analyze the results that prove the value of their investments.” 

It will do so with a single-window experience where marketers can design, monitor and change complex multi-stage, multi-wave and trigger-based campaigns. This is the kind of stuff -- this all-in-one thing -- that drew large praise in keynote sessions at last week’s Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference

Microsoft’s marketing platform will also include social listening and analytics capabilities through Microsoft Social Listening for tracking brand sentiment and targeting influencers and trends.

Why MarketingPilot?

We know the big boys are all looking to expand their marketing capabilities. Acquisitions abounded in 2013: Marketo scooped up Insightera. Oracle grabbed Responsys. Salesforce nabbed ExactTarget. Verint acquired Kana, and Microsoft bought Parature

The year before, Microsoft pounded the first nail in its marketing software home with its grab of MarketingPilot.

Why them?

MarketingPilot had a strong marketing resource management (MRM) solution particularly for the mid-market, Gartner’s Collins said.