IBM deal for SaaS-based Silverpop will boost marketing automation, challenging Oracle's Responsys and Salesforce.com's ExactTarget.
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IBM has a deep portfolio of marketing technologies, thanks to its acquisitions of Unica, Coremetrics, Tealeaf, and Xtify, but the collection is about to get cloudier and more capable with the acquisition of Silverpop. A planned deal was announced on Thursday and is expected to close in the second quarter.
The terms of the deal for the privately held company were not disclosed. Atlanta-based Silverpop has 8,000 customers in more than 50 countries, including high-profile Mazda, Stonyfield Farm, and Advanced Micro Devices. The deal is clearly a response to Oracle's recent $1.5 billion acquisition of Responsys and to Salesforce.com's $2.5 billion purchase of ExactTarget in 2013. All three companies have strong suits in personalized digital messaging, primarily via email, but also including social and mobile campaign capabilities.
Silverpop's marketing automation technology is a bit of an overlap with Unica campaign automation capabilities, but according to Kevin Bishop, IBM's VP of enterprise marketing management, Unica skews toward large customers doing business-to-consumer marketing.
"Silverpop extends our footprint into smaller organizations, departments, and more of a business-to-business focus, not just business-to-consumer, although Silverpop is strong in both areas," Bishop told InformationWeek in a phone interview.
Silverpop gives IBM a considerable lift in email delivery marketshare, an area where it competes with Responsys, ExactTarget, and Marketo, among others, Bishop confirmed. IBM will differentiate Silverpop capabilities by "deeply integrating" with IBM Coremetrics web analytics capabilities, Xtify mobile messaging capabilities, and Tealeaf clickstream analytics.
IBM said in a statement that Silverpop's "sophisticated, permission-based automation capabilities" can be used by financial services companies to send email offers for 529 college savings plans based on website behavior, such as the use of an online college savings calculator. In another example, online marketers of any stripe can send email offers based on website or webinar views or downloads of catalogs or white papers.
"Combined with the power of IBM’s portfolio and worldwide partner ecosystem, we can advance our mission to help organizations build customer relationships one at a time on an even grander scale," said Bill Nussey, Silverpop's CEO, in a statement.
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