Salesforce’s acquisition of ExactTarget

What does Salesforce’s recent purchase of ExactTarget really mean, not only for existing Salesforce or ExactTarget users, but also for users of Marketo marketing automation software?

Those who use Marketing Automated Solutions (MAS) such as Marketo or ParDot should have heard the that Salesforce has recently purchased ExactTarget for £1.6 billion pounds ($2.5 billion).  The company’s single biggest purchase to date will see Salesforce’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) marketing expansion (called the ‘Marketing cloud‘ – yuck!) expand into the realm of true digital marketing with email, mobile, social and analytical tools to name but a few.

But what does this all really mean, not only for existing Salesforce or ExactTarget users, but also for users of competitive ‘cloud marketing’ (again, yuck!) software? In particular, how will this effect Marketo users, keeping in-mind the deep integration that Marketo offers into Salesforce.

Looking back – Oracle purchases Eloqua in December 2012

I’ve read a lot of posts which compare Salesforce’s purchase to Oracle’s aquisition of Eloqua for £558 million back in December of last year. The general consensus, and I tend to agree, is that Salesforce got a much better (albeit more expensive) deal. ExactTarget offers some great features which will really extend the functionality of the ‘Marketing cloud’ in the race to offer a full sales cycle solution.

Salesforce’s users and ExactTarget users

This is great news for Salesforce’s ‘Marketing cloud’ users for all the obvious reasons. Salesforce users who don’t have the ‘Marketing Cloud’ extension will not be greatly affected by the recent purchase, unless they have shares in Salesforce. ExactTarget’s shares will be tendered at $33.75, up from a previous $22.

What this means for ExactTarget stand-alone users is yet to be seen. However, watch this space. I personally expect a forward movement in E-Commerce, something that I’ve found lacking from all the big players to date. Mobile marketing, additionally, is something that ExactTarget have already began experimenting with, and I can see this becoming a much more prominent feature.

Marketo users

Marketo users may, at this point, be beginning to wonder how Marketo will be able to keep up with the developing ExactTarget / Salesforce monster. However, a recent email from Phil Fernandez (CEO at marketo) stated the following:

There will be no change in our strategy and support for our best in class integration with Salesforce.com’s CRM platform.  As recently as this year, Salesforce.com customers have rated Marketo as the best marketing solution, continuing a five-year streak of similar affirmation from the Salesforce.com customer base.  We see no reason that the recent news should change our leadership position among Salesforce.com customers or in the marketplace at large.

So, Marketo users shouldn’t be worried. Should they? Marketo’s response is expectedly reassuring, mentioning their deep integration into Salesforce. My personal concern’s don’t surround the performance of Marketo compared to ExactTarget, but moreover the ongoing integration that Salesforce offers. However, Salesforce’s open Force.com and public API’s, coupled with it’s open platform approach (critical in today’s cloud – yuck – computing world) means reducing or limiting future MAS’s intergration functionality is unlikely.

Conclusion

As ExactTarget get’s an unarguably deeper integration into Salesforce than any other MAS, it’ll be interesting to see what features the ‘Marketing cloud’ can offer, and how MAS software such as Marketo reacts (or proactively reacts) to those benefits.

Whether you’re a Marketo, Salesforce or ExactTarget user, one thing that everyone must agree on is that it’s going to increase product innovation and generally expand the available digital marketing features.

John Alexander Rowley

An enthusiastic digital marketing professional passionately dedicated to increasing the online presence of businesses and individuals in order to improve engagement and ROI.

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