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In Latest Marketing Acquisition, IBM Scoops Up Silverpop

An enterprise giant needed targeted marketing software to build its portfolio and acquired a smaller company that has it. Shocked? Neither are we.

IBM became the latest big fish to scoop up a respected player in the digital marketing software world today as it announced its acquisition of Silverpop.

Gaining Real-Time Capability

For IBM, this is about gaining the Atlanta-based marketing automation provider's cloud-based capabilities that deliver personalized customer engagements with real-time personalization technology in scalable environments. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

customer experience, In Latest Marketing Acquisition, IBM Scoops Up Silverpop

The deal comes after a flurry of similar activity in the past two years. IBM joins Oracle (Responsys), Salesforce (Exacttarget), Adobe (Neolane) and Microsoft (MarketingPilot) as big guns that scooped up artillery in an industry worth billions.

Letting Marketo Shine?

The move came the very day after Silverpop competitor Marketo ended its Marketing Nation Summit, its yearly conference held this year in San Francisco. Silverpop and Marketo have gone head-to-head in the marketing automation market: similar-sized companies battling for pieces of the same pie.

In fact, it was Silverpop and Marketo, along with Pardot, that scored the highest in a 2013 vendor research study by Info-Tech Research Group on lead management, and all three were named champions in the space. Info-Tech Research had put eight product vendors through a comparison analysis. 

Was the timing of the IBM/Silverpop release planned not to coincide with Marketo's yearly show? This Twitter exchange this morning between analyst R. Ray Wang and IBM's Blair Reeves may help explain:

So, a classy move by IBM, it was. Or, seen another way, a way for the Marketo hangover to disappear quickly.

Deal Details

What else does IBM get in today's scoop-up?

A client base of 8,000 organizations in more than 50 countries around the world using IBM marketing technology, according to IBM, which also has now more than 100 Software-as-a-Service offerings.

“The acquisition of Silverpop turbocharges IBM’s ability to put the customer at the center of any organization,” Craig Hayman, general manager of Industry Cloud Solutions for IBM, said in a statement. “Now, nearly any marketing, commerce or customer service professional from any business will have the ability to deliver the kinds of personalized customer experiences that make a measurable impact on the brand experience and the bottom line.”


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