|Acquisitions Provide a “Crystal Ball” for Our Data-Driven Marketing Future|
|Tuesday, August 24 2010|
If you’re in the marketing or advertising business, it’s becoming increasingly important to remain viable and relevant by keeping up with new and upcoming trends in the industry. This exercise ensures that your business is prepared for what’s coming down the pipeline in terms of possible new channels, tools, and methodologies to utilize. While it’s great to learn the inner workings of the latest campaign or conversation management platform, taking a step back and considering the broader activities occurring in the industry can provide a more complete perspective on what’s just around the corner. One way to do this is to keep an eye on the acquisitions within the marketing and advertising technology space. We often reference acquisitions as they relate to specific topics that we cover on Tuesdays with Tukaiz, such as mobile marketing. By looking at a number of recent acquisitions related to the marketing space, we can see that the next generation of marketing will be increasingly targeted and tracked, largely driven by data intelligence.
When considering acquisitions within the marketing space, IBM provides one of the most interesting yet somewhat unusual examples. Some of you might be thinking, IBM is a tech company, not a marketing or advertising company.” This is certainly true, but IBM has used acquisitions to build an impressive portfolio of data-centric solutions and services that cater directly to the increasing need for quantification in marketing and advertising. While IBM has traditionally been focused on the capture and storage of data, the company has been expanding its competency to include the management, analysis, and further utilization of data across multiple market segments. In 2008, IBM completed its acquisition of Cognos, a maker of data mining, analytics, and business intelligence software. In 2009, IBM acquired SPSS, whose software is often used for market research and data analysis functions. Earlier in 2010, Web analytics maker Coremetrics added another dimension to IBM’s overall analytical capabilities. Just last week, IBM announced its intention to acquire marketing campaign management technology company Unica Corporation for $480 million, rounding out $11 billion of acquisitions over the past five years. Based on these acquisitions, IBM clearly believes that the future of marketing (and many other industries) will be driven by advanced data processing & analysis. The company is working to establish as much ownership and power in this space as possible.
IBM is not the only company that is seeking to solidify its position in data-driven marketing. Over the past few years, Adobe has also made a number of strategic acquisitions (in addition to Macromedia) to expand its reach beyond content creation. In 2009, Adobe acquired Web analytics firm Omniture for $1.8 billion, subsequently integrating some of Omniture’s products with Adobe’s Creative Suite products when CS5 came out earlier this year. More recently, Adobe announced its intent to acquire Day Software, creators of enterprise-level Web Content Management and Digital Asset Management solutions. This direction is a new one for Adobe, which is accustomed to selling boxed, commercially available software products versus large-scale, individualized enterprise deployments. Nevertheless, it shows that Adobe understands the need to move beyond content creation and own the entire content lifecycle across multiple channels, from creation (CS5) through management (Day Software) and tracking (Omniture). Achieving this goal enables Adobe to provide more value and capabilities to its user base.
In keeping with this data-centric theme, Pitney Bowes provides another example of a company that is expanding its data-driven marketing reach. Pitney Bowes has traditionally produced and sold mail-related products and services (e.g., personal stamp meters, high-volume mail inserters), so you might not expect this company to have a lot of skin in the marketing game. Nevertheless, a division of the company called Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI) has been making a number of strategic acquisitions to expand the company’s position. Pitney Bowes’ core business interests obviously involve keeping the mail flowing, but the company is making a serious effort through PBBI to enable more targeted marketing in the mail and beyond. This effort started in 2004 when the company acquired Group1 Software, which developed enterprise customer communication and document composition solutions. In 2007, Pitney Bowes acquired location intelligence company MapInfo, which it utilizes for location-based marketing services. Later, the acquisitions of BlueTree Direct and Advertising Audit Service (AAS) strengthened PBBI’s position in marketing and advertising. Finally, in July 2010, PBBI announced its intent to acquire Portrait Software, a company specializing in customer relationship and marketing analytics technology. While PBBI already had its own analytics technology, it intends to expand its portfolio to provide more effective, data-driven customer communications technology to its customers.
IBM, Adobe, and PBBI are three companies that have invested literally billions of dollars to get into the data-driven marketing and advertising game in the past decade. While each organization has its own spin on how it will utilize this technology strategically and offer it to its customers, there is no doubt that data and its associated processing and analysis will play an increasingly crucial role in providing effective marketing across multiple channels. Next week, we’ll discuss how acquisitions by other companies reveal additional marketing trends that you should be watching out for.