Salesforce.com Reports Q1 Earnings, Reaffirms Marketing Ambitions

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SalesforceSalesforce.com wants to be “number one” in marketing, said CEO Marc Benioff during the company's Q1 earnings call Thursday. “We’ve acquired our way into marketing, first by purchasing Radian6, then by buying Buddy Media,” Benioff said. “And we don’t want to just be number one in listening, publishing, or social advertising, but a number of other areas as well.”

The San Francisco-based company reported quarterly earnings of $893 million for the quarter ended April 30, a 28% growth from the same quarter last year. Analysts had estimated revenues of $887 million for the quarter.

Salesforce.com added more than 480 new employees in the first quarter, bringing its headcount to 10,300 employees, up 23% over Q1 last year.

Based on market share, revenue and other criteria, research firm Gartner named Salesforce.com the largest CRM company in the world earlier this quarter. To hold on to its title, it will have to be “number one” in three main areas: sales, customer service and marketing, according to Benioff, who claimed that the company had already achieved that title in the first two areas.

“To be number one in marketing, we’re going to have to achieve more than a billion dollars in revenue,” Benioff said. “You’re going to see us experiment and innovate through acquisitions, in pricing, in features and functionality, and messaging.”

Social.com, the Marketing Cloud add-on that lets marketers apply their CRM and social listening data to social campaigns, represents Salesforce.com’s largest foray into advertising so far. The platform, which was formerly Brighter Option, a company that Buddy Media bought before being acquired by Salesforce.com, is currently managing about 500,000 social ad campaigns for customers, according to Benioff.

Salesforce.com will have to fill several holes before becoming a powerful advertising vendor, observed Gartner analyst Andrew Frank.  “I think if you’re going to be comprehensive about advertising, then in addition to social, you’re going to need an answer for search, an answer for display and possibly an answer for video, and in order to orchestrate it all, you might need a marketing automation platform and a data management platform,” Frank said. “There’s no shortage of technologies that they could probably benefit from.”

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One Response to “Salesforce.com Reports Q1 Earnings, Reaffirms Marketing Ambitions”


  1. Ildar Shar says:

    Great article Judith. I think Salesforce showed the strong interest in social by first acquiring Buddy and later establishing Social.com. It's just logical that they will want to move to RTB - enabled exchanges such as FBX and (soon to be?) Twitter exchange, etc. So I would expect another major acquisition to be announced by Salesforce even in 2013 (this time it'll be one of the major DSPs).

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