Salesforce.com Picks Up ExactTarget For $2.5B

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benioff-feb13-usethisSalesforce.com has said it will acquire the digital marketing platform ExactTarget for $2.5 billion, making this the cloud software company's largest acquisition to date.

One driver of the deal was Oracle's acquisition of marketing automation provider Eloqua last year. At the time, AdExchanger and others speculated that Salesforce.com would snap up ExactTarget or Eloqua competitor Marketo, which recently went public. ExactTarget's stock price rose after that deal was announced, presumably from speculation about its possible acquisition.

“The CMO is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017,” said Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff in a statement. “The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts Salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity.”

According to Gartner, marketing was the fastest-growing CRM category last year, rising to 21%, or more than four times the expected growth through 2012.

Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, ExactTarget offers web-based marketing automation and campaign managment software for email, mobile and social media. Its customers include Coca-Cola, Nike and Gap.

Exact Target is a “good fit,” according to Constellation Research CEO and principal analyst Ray Wang. “ExactTarget has a great list of customers on core marketing automation and campaign management.”

In regards to the Marketo rumor, Wang speculated, “Marketo was probably too expensive for Salesforce.com, who needs a marketing automation product.”

The ExactTarget acquisition places Salesforce.com in direct competition with Marketo and other marketing automation and campaign products. “As a [Salesforce.com] partner, I'd be worried if you are doing core marketing automation and campaign management,” Wang added. “But as a customer, this accelerates [Salesforce.com’s] ability to deliver on the Marketing Cloud.”

In terms of how it will integrate ExactTarget into the Marketing Cloud, the platform will be “integrated where it makes sense,” according to Michael Lazerow, founder and CEO of Buddy Media, now CMO of the Salesforce.com Marketing Cloud.

“ExactTarget has been around since 2000. They have 2,000 employees worldwide, and we’re looking to accelerate their solutions wherever possible,” Lazerow said. “Being able to connect with customers across channels through email, social and the web is critical for us, and ExactTarget fits those needs perfectly.”

Salesforce.com has said it plans to combine ExactTarget with its marketing products: social listening with Radian6, publishing with Buddy Media and advertising with Social.com. The deal is expected to close before the end of the second quarter on July 31.

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One Response to “Salesforce.com Picks Up ExactTarget For $2.5B”


  1. Not a very impressive move, considering how late it's coming. Large companies like Salesforce should have been caught up in the automation movement much earlier. This acquistion, however, goes on to prove how important automation is to any CRM system. Small companies are slowly catching up too. CRM products like Agile CRM offer email and marketing automation on top of the CRM system itself, for small and medium sized businesses.
    The advantageous part for Salesforce of course, is the features provided by not only ExactTarget itself, but also by Pardot and iGoDigital(which will greatly help BuddyMedia, I'm sure). Expect to see a great profit for Salesforce next quarter.

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