Salesforce.com’s recent $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget has turned just about every head in the corporate marketing world. Once the immediate shock of the $2.5 billion price tag subsided, we can’t help but wonder; what does this ultimately mean for marketers? Here’s a look at a couple industry reactions to the purchase and what it could mean for you.
According to Christopher Penn of Shift Communications, this deal “validates the continuing importance of email marketing as a vital channel for communicating with prospective customers” and “is a giant put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is validation of the idea that social media, email marketing, marketing automation, advertising, and sales live under one roof and need to be tightly integrated with a direct line of sight to revenue.”
Essentially, the integration of marketing into PR and sales initiatives is going to be critical to fostering customer relations and ultimately generating revenue. Putting a $2.5 billion price tag on ensuring alignment between these elements speaks volumes to where these two organizations see the marketplace going.
“Salesforce is making a multibillion dollar bet that you’ll want to be able to manage your audience from the moment someone enters the funnel (as measured by marketing automation) to the closing of the deal,” Penn says.
This all ties back to the fact that there are now “enlightened buyers” who are educating themselves and doing their own due diligence in researching their options before they reach out to potential product or service providers. Between these self-directed customers and a huge supply of available information on the web, the way companies engage with their audience and prospects is changing. One of the most important things from a marketing standpoint is being able to position your company to target and attract the right audience.
Rob Brosnan and Shar VanBoskirk of Forbes suspect that “We are likely to see further consolidation [similar to the SalesForce/ExactTarget deal] this year in response, meaning that marketers will have fewer choices overall, and fewer choices in marketing-technology specific providers.” Fewer choices would mean that all marketers would suffer, “as fewer competitors would mean less innovation at exactly the time marketers need more choice.” So, what’s a marketer to do? Who will get scooped up next? These questions are likely to be raised as similar deals ensue.
We also predict that this acquisition shows how integrating marketing automation with CRM is becoming increasingly important for successful alignment between sales and marketing, and that the intersection between different segments of digital communications is going to be a big-time trend in the market.
What do you think? What are the implications of this record-breaking acquisition and what might it mean for the future of marketing and marketers?