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Begun, the Marketing Cloud wars have.
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). 

 
I just wanted to watch more dry demos of IT software. Instead, YouTube insists that I watch a boob video. Can this possibly be what CMOs -- in this case, Splunk's Steven Sommer -- want for their brands?

For those not familiar with the company, Splunk enjoyed one of the hottest IPO's of 2012, even tripping up NYSE's circuit breakers due to intense trading. Yet the dynamic nature of social media, and in particular online video, is such that they find themselves peer-positioned with a featured video whose preview is of a woman holding her breasts.

To be clear, the promoted video is a harmless one -- a Thai commercial that's found new life -- and 33 million views -- on YouTube. There are two real problems with it. First of all, it's just not that funny. If you want funny, you should turn your attention to videos of Japanese cats jumping into boxes (how that's gotten only 8 million views is anybody's guess).

More importantly, the Thai commercial -- while appropriate for a fun-loving brand of "slimming Green tea" -- is completely distracting and utterly irrelevant to, say, a mild-mannered IT director's quest for the right tools to "collect data from tens of thousands of sources, search analyze and alert...all the while scaling to big data proportions on commodity hardware." Surely even the most steely-nerved prospective customer, hell-bent on taming their machine data, will be tempted to take a break from signing that Purchase Order for Splunk 4.3 -- a big step up from the already "ground-breaking" 4.0 and 4.2 releases though it may be -- and instead watch a humorous Thai commercial.

No CMO in their right mind would want that experience for their customers. This is bad news for YouTube, and good news for Vimeo and others. As video matures as a content medium for B2B marketers, they'll have to give more thought to how their customers and prospects experience their brand. And one that's known for its Big Data innovation and having a CEO twice Mark Zuckerberg's age is unlikely to go for this type of funny.