ExactTarget Acquisition Drives Q4 Growth For Salesforce.com

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Marc-BenioffSalesforce.com reported 37% revenue growth in Q4, to $1.15 billion, driven in part by the $2.5 billion July 2013 acquisition of ExactTarget. Its full year revenue was $4.07 billion, up 33% year-over-year.

ExactTarget is the lynchpin of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, which competes with analogous stacks fielded by Adobe and Oracle. Specifically, ExactTarget contributed $96 million in Q4 revenue – higher than what the company expected, according to CFO Graham Smith. For FY 2013, ExactTarget contributed $194 million.

CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff extolled Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud product. (“We’re number one in email marketing, social listening, social publishing and social advertising with Social.com, the number one provider of services to advertisers on Facebook that manages 10% of Facebook ad spend.”) But he didn’t address one of the holes in its stack: the data management platform (DMP). This absence was made more notable earlier this week when Oracle announced its intent to acquire data technology and data services provider BlueKai.

Instead, Benioff simply acknowledged the company’s growth in marketing tech through acquisition: “[The marketing technology industry] is not a zero sum game, and there’s plenty of room for everybody,” he said. “We believe strongly in this and have bought a lot of assets because we needed to find our way through that opportunity.”

One of the issues plaguing many vendors who build through acquisition is the extent to which their disparate technologies can be integrated. Benioff acknowledged that for Salesforce.com, certain components require tighter unity than others.

“With lead nurturing for example, between now and Dreamforce you’ll see an extremely deep integration between Salesforce and Pardot (a marketing automation solution that’s a part of ExactTarget),” he said. “We continue to scale that business and make sure it’s extremely integrated. With ExactTarget, that unit is more loosely coupled because many key areas it focuses on do not need to be as deeply integrated as the Pardot assets, but we can have shared contacts and bring in our consoles.”

Certainly Benioff’s ambitions are not confined to marketing tech. Salesforce.com has three core products beyond ExactTarget Marketing Cloud: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and its re-architected, mobile-first platform Salesforce1, released last November.

“Our goal,” said Benioff, “is each one becomes a multi-billion dollar product.”

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