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Summary:

In another sign of how Twitter and other social media tools are becoming intertwined with the world of traditional marketing and CRM, email marketer ExactTarget has acquired Twitter account management service CoTweet for an undisclosed sum. The two plan to create a “social media lab.”

In another sign of how the lines between traditional digital marketing and social media are blurring, email marketer ExactTarget has acquired Twitter management tool CoTweet for an undisclosed sum. ExactTarget, based in Indianapolis, has tools that allow companies to target email marketing pitches and related “permission-based” web campaigns, and has a customer list that includes Expedia, Home Depot, Gannett Co. and Wellpoint Inc. Although it does some text messaging as part of its marketing services, it is not known for its work with social media. The CoTweet acquisition is clearly an attempt to change that. The deal even got the imprimatur of Twitter COO Dick Costolo, who said:

This acquisition is strong validation that valuable, sustainable businesses are emerging from the Twitter ecosystem. An ExactTarget and CoTweet combination should lead to even further digital marketing innovation through use of the Twitter platform.

CoTweet, founded in 2008, has become popular with companies such as McDonald’s, Microsoft, Ford, Dell and Pepsi as a tool for managing multiple Twitter accounts from a single page. This makes it easy for marketing staff at those companies to handle the social media pitching and responses they do as part of their campaigns and customer service. CoTweet — which raised $1 million in seed capital in in July from a group including The Founders Fund, Ron Conway’s SV Angel fund and First Round Capital, Maples Investments and Freestyle Capital — was one of the first Twitter-related businesses to recognize that the social network could be used as part of an integrated customer relations management service.

ExactTarget, which filed for an initial public offering in 2007 but never actually went public, raised $70 million in financing from a group including Battery Ventures and Scale Venture Partners in May of last year, and then just a few months later raised another $75 million from Technology Crossover Ventures. It has been using the funding to expand its business outside the United States, and said recently that it recorded its 36th consecutive quarter of growth in the fourth quarter of last year and had annual revenues of $95 million.

Embedded below is a video of ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey (no relation to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, as far as we know) talking about the deal with CoTweet founder Jesse Engle.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9843217&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user foxspain

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  1. The acquisition of CoTweet by Exact Target is a good fit for them. Reading from their impressive growth, this acquisition will only fuel their growth. The innovation behind Twitter has created many spin offs who have created a business models built to serivce the Twitter platform. This is what’s great about capatalism and innovation. We need more and more of this.

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  2. As a former email marketer for most of my career, I applaud ET for expanding their vision and toolset beyond just the email inbox, to the twitter stream. I’m curious to see how they tactically integrate the services. As of now, it seems like simply a way to leverage existing ET relationships to sell-in Co-Tweet, but I’m sure they’ll explain more in the coming months.

    Again, I’m glad ESPs are evolving into more direct digital capabilities beyond email to include SMS and social feeds. Ultimately it gives marketers a one-stop shop for their DM needs.

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  3. [...] Worlds of Email Marketing and Twitter Collide – GigaOM [...]

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