Is this the beginning of the consolidation of vendors in the digital marketing arena? ExactTarget has acquired not only Pardot for the hefty sum of US$ 95.5 million, but also it also picked up iGoDigital for predictive analytics.

Redefining Marketing Automation

That's what ExactTarget says it is doing by bringing Pardot on board. Of the US$ 95.5 million, $85.5 was in cash and the rest in common stock. But who cares about how much it paid, we want to know why.

The answer to that ExactTarget says is that with the combined technologies, it can now offer end-to-end marketing services across mail, web, social media and mobile. No one really wants to be concerned with all these point solutions, trying to get them all to fit together. A single offering that can work for both B2C and B2B is what ExactTarget has in mind.

Pardot recently updated its platform, which is targeted at the SMB market, adding a dynamic content builder and everbrite integration.

If you want to know exactly why ExactTarget choose Pardot, check out this video snipped on the ExactTarget blog.

The gist is that ExactTarget was a B2C focused, largely email oriented provider. Pardot brings lead nurturing, lead scoring and other B2B digital marketing functionality to ExactTarget's customer base. Pardot customers in turn will eventually benefit from ExactTarget's superior backend email delivery capabilities.

iGoDigital: Predictive Analytics Too

In addition to the acquisition of Pardot, ExactTarget also picked up iGoDigital.

Learning Opportunities

For US$ 21 million, ExactTarget gets predictive analytics and web personalization capabilities such as real-time product recommendations and online guided selling experiences. iGoDigital help can create accurate profiles which organizations can then market products and services too.

Both Pardot and iGoDigital are SaaS-based applications, so it will be interesting to see how this all gets integrate together into one seamless platform.

A Healthy Market

According to the official ExactTarget announcement, IDC predicts that the marketing automation market will grow to US$ 4.8 billion in 2015, up from $3.2 billion in 2010. And Forrester estimates that taken together, lead origination and lead nurturing account for 21% of the overall B-to-B marketing budget -- the largest component of marketing spend.

The Product Plan

In conversation with CMSWire today a Pardot representative indicated that the Pardot B2B division will be staying put in Atlanta, Georgia and that the product will continue to be offered as a stand alone service, but that over the next 12 months customers will see the integration of the ExactTarget email backoffice for delivery. 

An official statement from ExactTarget echos this saying, "Like our entire suite of products, we will offer Pardot as a standalone application and will integrate it into our Interactive Marketing Hub, creating a single platform to plan, create, power and measure business and consumer marketing campaigns across email, mobile, social media and the Web.".