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ExactTarget ExactTarget Acquires Pardot

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By Edy Henao

Marketing Automation Software Consolidation

In a market move that may suggest accelerated consolidation in the marketing automation software industry, ExactTarget has acquired Pardot for $95.5M in cash and stock, and iGoDigital for $21M.

While first glance may suggest that these two acquisitions offer symbiotic capabilities, a more thorough review suggests the products are complimentary, but not immediately synergistic. iGoDigital offers a strong website personalization and ecommerce solution for the B2C market while Pardot is almost entirely a B2B product. However, as marketing software solutions expand beyond personalizing just outbound email distributions, to include other prospect engagement mediums such as the company website, iGoDigital’s Web personalization software and predictive, product recommendations could be applied to lead profiles for a more personalized and relevant marketing experience.

Pardot was founded in 2007 as a marketing automation software solution squarely pegged for small and midsize businesses. The company has acquired just over 1,000 customers and is riding an impressive customer acquisition growth pace. How the Pardot SMB B2B target market rationalizes with the ExactTarget B2C customer market remains to be seen. Pardot will be integrated into the ExactTarget Interactive Marketing Hub over the next year and will continue to be marketed as a standalone service for the foreseeable future.

It also remains to be seen if the iGoDigital analytics may enhance Pardot’s information reporting and analytics. If this approach is executed, some product rationalization will occur as Pardot also uses GoodData for reporting and business intelligence. Similarly, ExactTarget uses Marketo as its marketing software solution, a choice that will seemingly be changed in the near term.

"We will redefine marketing automation and deliver the most scalable, comprehensive automation solution that helps both b2b and b-to-c marketers leverage the power of data to connect with customers across email, mobile, social media and the Web," ExactTarget founder and CEO Scott Dorsey said in a statement.

The Pardot acquisition will aid ExactTarget is getting beyond email CPM and may also offer ExactTarget an opportunity to deepen its relationships and value with CRM software publishers, as Pardot integrates to, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SugarCRM and NetSuite.

“Niche marketing software products, including marketing automation software applications, will certainly consolidate into platform solutions in order to deliver vendor-managed integration and simplify the user experience for marketers,” said Chuck Schaeffer, CEO of Vantive Media. “Two types of likely acquirers of marketing software include CRM software publishers looking to expand their basic campaign management feature set and email marketing providers seeking to add more intelligent lead management capabilities such as lead scoring, nurture campaigns, lead transfer and rich lead generation analytics.”

The continued growth of marketing automation makes the marketing software publishers attractive acquisition targets. IDC predicts that the marketing automation market will grow to $4.8 billion in 2015, up from $3.2 billion in 2010. Forrester estimates that taken together, lead acquisition and lead nurturing represent 21 percent of the overall B2B marketing budget, and the largest component of marketing spend.

Founded in 2000, ExactTarget recently went public in March, raising $161M in cash, and has since made three acquisitions in order to expand its product portfolio and marketing software footprint. ExactTarget employs more than 1,000 staff, with headquarters in Indianapolis and international operations in Europe, Australia and South America.

"Now as a part of the ExactTarget family, we can provide our clients with even greater capabilities as we leverage ExactTarget's substantial resources and industry-leading cross-channel messaging platform," said Adam Blitzer, Pardot co-founder and chief operating officer, in a statement sent to Pardot customers.

Founded in 2004, iGoDigital creates Web personalization software that delivers real-time, predictive, product recommendations and online guided selling experiences. iGoDigital's cloud platform lets clients observe and analyze online lead behavior and ask explicit questions through its guided selling application to develop highly accurate customer profiles that can power cross-channel personalization and optimization. End

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Author  Author: Edy Henao
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Niche marketing software products, including marketing automation software applications, will certainly consolidate into platform solutions in order to deliver vendor-managed integration and simplify the user experience for marketers.


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