Salesforce acquiring ExactTarget: Is it really on Target?
This deal would bring cross-channel campaign management capability to Salesforce which it was lacking till now. Its new Marketing cloud offering includes Radian6 and Buddy media which focuses on social listening and engagement. However, there were no strong Lead/campaign management offerings available from Salesforce till now. With customers getting more access to product information through various channels, marketers are trying to maintain a targeted and consistent message across all channels. Keeping this trend in view, targeted communication to prospects become vital and acquisition of ExactTarget is going to give Salesforce a boost in this space.
Although this deal looks great on paper, I have few points to make about it. Going by financial reports given on ExactTarget website(3), we can see that the company has posted loss of $21 millions for year 2012 with revenue of approx. $292 mn. In year 2011 too, ExactTarget had reported loss of $35 million. This is on account of acquisition of Pardot & heavy investment in R&D by ExactTarget. SFDC has paid more than 7 times of ExactTarget's last year revenue to acquire it. I believe that success of this acquisition would largely depend on getting more innovative product out of this R&D expenditure in coming days and offer customers a better deal compared to Marketo or Neolane.
Also, currently there is plethora of offerings from salesforce and coherency is missing among them. For example, Marketing cloud would be now offered as combination of Radian6, Buddymedia & ExactTraget, all of these are different acquisitions made by Salesforce. These look like discreet products tied around social & cloud thread. In a time, when customers expects maximum value out of every penny they spend, Salesforce would need to streamline & integrate their offerings more tightly.