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The new portals are online, social, and big enterprise is buying in, again

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Is activity in online marketing slowing down? Not for

Salesforce decided to put their foot to the pedal with the $2.5 blahobillion acquisition of ExactTarget Inc. ExactTarget is the latest, but high-profile deals have been happening for awhile.

Big marketing

Big enterprise software companies are jumping into online marketing.

ExactTarget provides email marketing services to clients. Eloqua was swallowed by Oracle last summer. Eloqua’s involved in managing and measuring the effectiveness of organizations’ marketing efforts.

Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM are managing change becoming more  social and more collaborative.

This deal does put the other large software vendors in the hunt for marketing assets …   When the proxy on this deal comes out, I think we’ll see they were all in the bidding …

— analyst Pat Walravens of JMP Securities

The competition for assets amongst the big software vendors is alive and well. At a 52 per cent premium, and the largest for Salesforce, will the acquisition pan out as profitable?

Salesforce is paying 5.5 times forecast 2014 revenue, less than the 6.1 times forward revenue Eloqua cost Oracle, according to Walravens.

Change is disruption is change

Online shopping is driving change. Change is leading  marketers to look at data in a big way. Consumers are empowered. The buying process and shopping, affected by the winds of technological change, is forcing change on business.

Data has fuelled providers like Radian6 and Buddy Media. With shoppers going social, companies want to listen. Providing for the needs of consumers is also about providing for the wants. The empowerment of the consumer has reinforced listening as a profound tool for marketing.

Reputation and perception factor into the equation. Consumer perception of reputation and brand have burst into the organizational atmosphere like an asteroid.

Power are the people

Consumers have opinions. Their opinions spread digitally. Listening provides valuable insights gained from focusing on customers.

If 80 per cent of online content is user generated (infographic below), then shrinking away from listening to consumers is the kind of arrogance that leads to crushing falls in stock valuations, mistakes in product development and customer service debacles.

Stories focus on how marketing and IT will work more closely together. Trends are toward collaboration and trust.

The hidden vampire

Silos can form even within marketing departments as analytics and more traditional roles butt heads. The problem is the effect on the bottom line. Silos are vampires and suck the life blood away from the overall health of a business or organization.

Companies need to sustain their organizational lifeblood by moving from a  conquest-based departmental viewpoint to a collaborative one. The players that play for the team rather than for the individual stars become an irresistible force.

How will marketers work with new technology? The technology’s built, but are we letting the operators come? Are we investing in training people? If we aren’t, what does that say about our future efforts to get talent?

While there has been significant criticism of companies like Apple hoarding cash, Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff said:

We can’t just keep making these small acquisitions … That strategy was just taking honestly too long. We needed to do something of consequence and we needed to do something strategic and we needed to do something now.

Now. Sounds like a call-to-action.

Judging by the media attention Salesforce has generated, not every company has been blind to the reputational effects of putting cash to work.

Companies continue to share or invest cash by finding investments that fulfill their vision of new data-driven and social tools. As tools continue to open up portals in space, companies will look to how they can build their businesses in a way that allows them to go through those portals, find new worlds and make their businesses thrive.

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Written by johnrondina

June 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

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