Marketo (MKTO) IPO
Leading marketing automation vendor Marketo floated its initial public offering this week and raised nearly US $80 million as its shares were traded on the NASDAQ exchange.

Marketing Automation Trends

Marketo was named a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader for CRM lead management in 2012, a position it shared with former segment leader Eloqua. It's a super fast moving industry at the moment, and not least because of the Marketo IPO.

Technology is of course ever changing, but digital marketing companies are some of the most nimble around, so there's not much down time between keeping up with the pace of change and staying competitive.

Much of that competitive drive comes from the simple fact marketing automation overall is in its infancy. Marketo is only one of a few marketing automation companies to go public, a trend we fully expect to not only continue but to accelerate. As more and more people spend more time online, especially via mobile devices, digital marketing efforts will only become more valuable for enterprise companies.

Pentaho is a data analytics company that is a Marketo customer, and it sees a bright future at the intersection of analytics and cloud computing, Rosanne Saccone, Pentaho CMO said in a statement.

"Marketo’s IPO is a great testament to this trend, illustrating how hungry businesses are for data insights on customer shifts, lead generation and sales outcomes.”

Learning Opportunities

Act-On, a Marketo competitor, is one of perhaps the next wave of marketing automation companies to go public, Raghu Raghavan, Act-On CEO said in a statement on the Marketo news.

"Marketo is part of the early wave of marketing automation vendors to IPO. People can expect to see a lot more activity as the industry heats up and the focus of marketing shifts to customer relationships throughout the entire customer journey, including acquisition, retention and expansion."

Marketo an M&A Target?

For example, garter praised Marketo's ease of use, short time to productivity and analytic/reporting capability in the 2012 CRM lead management Magic Quadrant. The other segment leader, Eloqua was also named as such becuase of its ease of use, but also because of its 39% growth from 2010 to 2011.

Eloqua has since been acquired by Oracle, a path that Marketo may in fact be on itself. We don't mean it will be acquired by Oracle, but Salesforce is one possibility.

In fact, one of the Gartner cautions on Marketo was that it focused too much on Salesforce users, so there's already a very organic connection between the two companies. Marketo's IPO event was even similar to Eloqua's. Both raised in the neighborhood of US $80 to $90 million trading at around US $13 per share. Six months after Eloqua went public in 2012, Oracle pulled the trigger on the acquisition. Let's see if Marketo can make it to November before being snapped up by Salesforce.