Today, Salesforce.com announced the acquisition of ExactTarget for $2.5 billion.
SALESFORCE EXACTTARGET ACQUISITION FAQ:
Why is Salesforce.com buying ExactTarget?
Marc Benioff has publicly stated that the marketing cloud is a big priority for him. Just over 90 days ago, he said: “We need to buy more marketing companies. We want to be the company you turn to for sales, service, marketing and the platform.” Well for once, you can't blame him for talking too far into his roadmap.
Why Does Salesforce.com Care About Marketing?
Marketing matters to Salesforce because they want to get the massive dollars that brands and retailers spend on marketing. There is simply a much larger addressable market if you solve the needs of marketers versus merely focusing on sales people. As we know, the CMO IT stack is a mess, and Salesforce intends to help sort it all out (and make a buck or two in the process).
Salesforce is specifically focusing on B2C marketing, because that's where they are weak -- Salesforce CRM is not used by brands. In fact, Salesforce established Retail as a target segment a few years ago. And it's no secret that it wants to go after brand marketers -- it acquired Radian6 and subsequently bought BuddyMedia for that exact purpose.
Who is Salesforce at War With?
The answer that question always starts with Oracle. Besides Salesforce, Oracle is a prominent proponent of their own Marketing Cloud. They acquired Eloqua in December 2012, of course. Additionally, Adobe is the third horse in the race. Arguably, they have the most fleshed-out marketing cloud -- thanks to acquisitions such as Omniture and Efficient Frontier -- but paradoxically they're the most quiet about their aspirations.
But You Said Salesforce Would Buy Marketo?!
I was wrong. The nice thing for Salesforce in this acquisition is that ExactTarget has already bought Pardot, a Marketo and Eloqua competitor. So they are getting a two-for-one deal.
Author: Nadim Hossain is CEO of BrightFunnel, and formerly the chief marketing officer of PowerReviews (acquired by Bazaarvoice).