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 If your company is one of many who think their brand might benefit from social media and social media analytics but don’t really know how to implement it into your marketing campaign, the just-announced acquisition of Intrepid Consulting by Alterian (news, site) is aimed at you.

The deal, which was only announced today, will see integrated marketing software vendor Alterian buy out the social media consultancy Intrepid for a potential total of US$ 11.5 million.

The reason we say potentially is that the terms of the deal will see Alterian pay an initial US$ 3.5 million in cash and another US$ 7.5 million if Intrepid hits certain but undisclosed financial targets by 2013.

It’s an interesting deal in that Intrepid has to perform if the full effect of the deal is to be implemented, but given the explosion in the use of social media as well as the inability of many companies to act on what their social media analytics are showing, along with the fact that Intrepid made US$ 461k in pre-tax profits last year, it seems unlikely that the deal will not be finalized in 2013.

Alterian and Analytics

This is the second deal related to social media that Alterian has made in the past 12 months. Last year, Alterian completed the acquisition of social media monitoring company Techrigy, which is now the foundation of their Alterian SM2 product.

The acquisition of Techrigy represented a change of focus for Alterian in that with it they began targeting individuals rather than mass markets with a social analytics tool that only appeared in 2005. By adding Techrigy to their platform, Alterian added the ability to analyze clients reactions to all marketing campaigns and across all channels, including social media. And it does this through:

  • Real time monitoring
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Monitoring of all discussions

Techrigy Performs for Alterian

And the Techrigy deal appears to be working for Alterian. Revenue for the end of the financial year to March 31st saw an increase in revenues to US$ 58.4 million (£ 38.0m) up 14%.

Over the same period it signed up of 65 new partners (2009: 25), mostly marketing agencies attracted by Alterian’s new social media marketing offerings in SM bringing the total number of partners to approximately 220 worldwide.

Only last month Alterian told us that it plans to port SM2 into the cloud-based Microsoft Windows Azure Platform and build web apps and services for its customers.

Social Media Consultancy

A consultancy service to help customers make the best of its other products seems like good sense. With Intrepid, Alterian will be able to provide its clients with packaged solutions that will help them to accelerate their social media strategies.

Explaining the decision to buy it, the company said that it has seen a growing demand for packaged social media solutions that include best practices, services and software, where the partner or brand does not have the in-house staff to use the software and generate insights directly.

Intrepid will close the circle for Alterian (until they decide they need something else) and become an integrated component of Alterian's offerings in email marketing, web content management, campaign management and web behavior analytics.

There are also two other points with this acquisition worth noting. The first is that while Alterian’s main offices are in Seattle and London (UK), with Intrepid they now have a Ho Chi Minh City analytics research centre as well as a foothold that will “further enhance our offerings in the important Asia Pacific region”.

The second point is that with Intrepid and the entire web engagement package that Alterian is now offering, Alterian should be able to win over the U.S. market even after dropping Morello and Immediacy Web CMS brands (something that may have caused them problems).