The mega-vendor wars continue. Today, Adobe Systems announced plans to acquire Parisian cross-channel marketing automation player Neolane for $600 million.
The move comes weeks after cloud giant Salesforce.com said it would buy email and CRM vendor ExactTarget for $2.5 billion (AdExchanger story), part of a plan to “double down” on its Marketing Cloud strategy in the face of Oracle's rat-a-tat acquisitions of Eloqua, Vitrue and Involver.
As these large enterprise vendors make continual investments in their marketing and advertising stacks, Adobe is ramping up its reach into the customer-contact record across channels.
“It was very important for us to partner with a platform that was establishing its ability to orchestrate content and experience across channels,” Matt Belkin, VP of business development and customer strategy for Adobe, told AdExchanger. “Neolane has been a partner of ours for several years and we knew their business very well and we felt confident with our mutual customer base that they were the leader in cross-channel marketing.”
Neolane counts 400 customers ranging from retail and insurance clients to banking and financial services. The company is now the sixth “leg” of Adobe’s burgeoning Marketing Cloud suite, joining the ranks of its Target, Social, Analytics, Experience Manager and Media Optimizer product offerings.
As consolidation gains speed in the marketing software space, Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, says it’s not so much about transactional applications as it is building out engagement and experience.
“When you’re starting with a marketing record [like Adobe] and putting together a view of the customer, they can actually score and conduct lead nurturing across channels, which you couldn’t do before,” he comments to AdExchanger. “There are a tremendous amount of cross-sell, up-sell capabilities they… [can do now] between Omniture and Neolane.”
Prior to their move to purchase Neolane, Adobe was built more for “single-purpose” usage, such as “just email or just Web or just commerce,” Wang said. What it didn’t have was the ability to cut across all these digital channels and drive performance in the marketing funnel, which it now does, he said.
“Our heritage from day one has been the content and our rich creative heritage,” Belkin says. “The opportunity, for us, is to allow brands to deliver a consistent customer experience across multiple channels in a singular and unique way … We will continue to move along on our offensive and others may choose to follow us, but we think our strategy is validated by other actions in the market and we will continue executing on it."
According to Ken Allen, a managing director at private equity and investment banking firm Blackstone, "the major marketing stack players are going one-by-one through the various channels and acquiring solutions where they lack them. The natural end-point of this trend is a world in which a small handful of marketing clouds exist that have the full range of channel capabilities across paid, owned, and earned media."