Last week, IBM announced a definitive agreement to acquire marketing automation vendor Silverpop. Silverpop is an Atlanta, GA-based, 500-employee company. Its marketing platform "Engage" offers email-based campaign management and lead management, along with rudimentary landing page management.
In our last update to RSG's Marketing Automation and Social evaluations, we had mentioned that the company is a prime acquisition target as one of the few remaining major independent marketing automation vendors. All the big ones -- Oracle (Eloqua and Responsys), Salesforce.com (ExactTarget and Pardot) and Adobe (Neolane) have already been active in M&A in this marketplace and so in that sense, this wasn't a big surprise.
Recall that IBM’s digital marketing offerings for the most part lie within its broader Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) umbrella. EMM is a loose collection
of approximately about fifty distinct products of diverse origins and architectures. For marketing automation capabilities, the key pieces are IBM Campaign (formerly Unica Campaign), IBM Marketing Center, and a few other email marketing modules. In fact, marketing automation and social marketing functionality has been split across disparate products at a time when many competitors can offer a straightforward, point solution to these challenges.
Silverpop will likely change that. It is comparatively simpler alternative to their existing, rather complex offerings. Silverpop is also B2B focussed as opposed to IBM's existing capabilities that are predominantly B2C. Still, this will be IBM's fourth or fifth different email campaign management solution, depending on how you count.
A lot depends on how IBM executes the merger and integrates the offerings. IBM already promotes a catalog of about 100 SaaS-based offerings, which Silverpop will join. However, it is entirely possible that Silverpop will get lost in this vast sea of multiple and overlapping offerings. We'll keep watching and informing you about what we learn. Meanwhile, you can check out the existing reviews of IBM EMM and Silverpop, or download a free sample.