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12/15/2011
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VerticalResponse Acquires Social Campaign Automation Tool

Email marketing company will buy Roost, a firm that helps SMBs with social media marketing content.

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VerticalResponse will acquire Roost, maker of a social media campaign automation tool that will allow VerticalResponse to offer both email and social media marketing.

VerticalResponse is best known for its bulk email delivery service, although it has been expanding its product line to include other marketing and promotional services, including online surveys and direct-mail postcard delivery. In September, it added VerticalResponse Event Marketing in partnership with givezooks, a social fundraising platform that provided the event scheduling and ticket sales functionality.

VerticalResponse founder, president, and CEO Janine Popick said she discussed a partnership with Roost, but quickly decided buying the company made more sense. "We concluded this could be really core to our offerings, and we needed to take it one step beyond a partnership," she said. VerticalResponse appeals to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) by offering template content that makes email marketing easier, and she decided it needed to do something similar to assist those businesses with their email campaigns.

Roost offers a campaign automation tool for social media marketing. Particularly oriented toward SMBs with limited time for marketing, Roost offers libraries of content, such as links to news headlines for many different industries, that can serve as conversation starters on a Twitter feed or Facebook page. Roost users can take advantage of entire pre-fab campaigns that include a mix of different post types (photos, questions, polls, news headlines).

[ Emailer Constant Contact is also expanding into the social sphere. Read SMBs Get Tool For Social Campaigns. ]

"We realized we were servicing a lot of the same companies with the same kind of products," said Roost CEO Alex Chang, who will become VP of social platform after the acquisition. Both companies are focused on providing content for marketing campaigns, he said. "We're looking at how to take the work and thinking out of it."

All Roost services are free for the time being, although Chang planned all along to introduce higher tiers of service priced at $10 to $40 per month. That is still the plan, although the timing might be delayed, he said.

"We want to make sure we're adding enough value to charge our customers, or charge new customers," Popick said. "I also want to see how VerticalResponse customers are adopting the service." Plans to marry the two services are still being evaluated, she said, but she sees great potential in the melding of customer data across email and social media contacts.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/19/2011 | 10:46:48 AM
re: VerticalResponse Acquires Social Campaign Automation Tool
SMBs that have little time for marketing will certainly be challenged with social media marketing campaigns, which can require more time and resources than traditional campaigns. Tools like Roost will become increasingly important as social media marketing becomes increasingly important to companies' ability to compete.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
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