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Summary:

The quest by IT vendors to wrest more of a CMO’s budget continues with this acquisition.

adobeneolane

The thirst for marketing automation smarts among tech vendors continues unslaked. The latest evidence? Adobe Systems is buying Neolane, a Parisian digital marketing specialist, for $600 million.

This is just the latest example of an old-line (sorry, Adobe) IT provider trying to boost its profile in marketing automation and, perhaps more importantly, to a whole new class of IT buyers — chief marketing officers and those who support them. The last we heard from Neolane is that it closed $27 million in funding from Battery Ventures and others to expand its operations in North America. It apparently made an impression in San Jose.

In a statement, Brad Rencher SVP of Adobe’s Digital Marketing business, said Neolane brings

“critical cross-channel marketing management capabilities to the Adobe Marketing Cloud … Adobe has long been the trusted partner to creative professionals and we are now extending our lead in the digital marketing space with the addition of Neolane. From campaign creation through planning, execution and optimization, Adobe technology is driving the entire marketing process.”

Cross-channel marketing means reaching prospective customers via email, social networks, mobile devices, or whatever means is most appropriate.

Adobe does have a leg up here as most marketing departments and ad agencies already use Adobe products — PhotoShop, Illustrator or other components of its Creative Cloud suite.

It’s clear that a land grab is going on here. Salesforce.com made its biggest-ever acquisition earlier this month in buying ExactTarget for $2.5 billion; That deal came six months after Oracle spent $871 million on Eloqua. Marketing automation specialist Marketo, apparently deciding to go it alone, and launched its IPO in April. Sniffing an opportunity, a raft of startups, including Discuzz, also want to help marketers and salespeople do better in their outreach.

We’re clearly on a wave here where marketing execs, with their robust budgets, can specify what services they want for their departments. I can’t wait till the next wave hits in 6 to 9 months when CIOs and  more traditional technology buyers have to integrate these offerings into their companies’ broader IT landscape.

  1. Adobe is on a full digital marketing spree, alright! This is a great move. There’s a huge potential for growth here, an oppurtunity for Adobe to revamp itself. In the wake of Salesforce’s ET acquisition which followed Oracle’s Eloqua, it looks like a lot of companies are waking up to social-marketing automation combination. There are some products available for small businesses as well, like Agile CRM (in beta) that offer Marketing Automation, social suite, and a CRM. Digital Marketing is the word, for every type of company.

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  2. Thanks Barb, I enjoyed this article! Here’s my perspective on this – Whatever you call it (marketing automation, campaign management, the marketing cloud), about $5 billion has been spent across six major acquisitions in under three years; $4 billion in just the last seven months, so it’s definitely safe to say that “the marketing craze is raging on unabated.” And while we’ve heard “big data” used over and over, it is a key catalyst for the transition we’re experiencing, as the digital interactions between companies and their customers can now be cost-effectively gathered, analyzed, understood and acted on in real-time. As you may know, phones and tablets now surpass PCs and notebooks, and the next most valuable engagement opportunity is happening through apps. I put together some thoughts this morning in a blog post on the evolution of digital marketing, specifically relating to this acquisition. Would love to hear you’re feedback on it: http://www.localytics.com/blog/2013/shifting-marketing-automation-landscape/

    -Brian

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