Salesforce announced Monday that it will acquire Buddy Media, a leading social media marketing platform, in a cash and equity deal valued at approximately $689 million. The transaction is expected to be completed during salesforce.com’s fiscal third quarter ending October 31, 2012, and is subject to customary closing conditions.
By combining Buddy Media with Salesforce Radian6, its social media listening platform, Salesforce says it will deliver a “Marketing Cloud” focused on enabling users to listen, engage, gain insight, publish, advertise and measure social marketing programs.
Founded in 2007, Buddy Media started as an idea to empower CMOs and agencies to organize their teams and optimize their social media marketing programs. The Buddy Media platform allows customers to publish content, place and optimize social advertising, and measure the effectiveness of social media marketing programs.
Buddy Media currently has nearly 1,000 customers, including global brands such as Ford, Hewlett Packard, L’Oreal and Mattel, as well as marketing agency groups such as IPG (Interpublic Group), Omnicom, Publicis and WPP. The company currently counts eight of the world's top 10 advertisers among its clients.
“Social media has caused the biggest transformation in marketing since the Mad Men era, causing CMOs to completely re-think their strategies,” said Marcel LeBrun, SVP of Salesforce Radian6, in a press release. “By bringing together market leaders Radian6 and Buddy Media, we are doubling down on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to provide CMOs with the ability to manage the entire social marketing lifecycle.”
Marketing automation insiders agree that the acquisition will continue the progression of social marketing, and will help bridge the gap between B2B marketers’ current social initiatives.
"This acquisition not only makes a lot of sense for Salesforce.com's business, but it is also consistent with how they are going about executing their vision for the 'social enterprise,'” noted Heidi Melin, new CMO at Eloqua. “Chatter addresses the less sexy, but no less vital, need for an internal social network. Radian6 bridges the gap between sales and marketing, allowing companies to engage in more meaningful dialogues on the social web. And now Buddy Media helps Salesforce.com customers employ the social web for lead acquisition. This acquisition reinforces something we've been saying for some time: That it's a very good time to be a company that links social media to demand generation.
According to David Cummings, CEO of Pardot, the acquisition also reflects Salesforce's long-term strategy to develop a more comprehensive enterprise software platform. “Social media is a core part of marketing automation and continues to grow in importance,” Cummings said. “Salesforce.com is easily the most social billion dollar plus enterprise software company and adding more social marketing applications reinforces their position. Much like how they purchased Assistly and Rypple, they are clearly expanding their cloud platform beyond their traditional customer base.”
The news comes on the heels of Oracle's recently announced $300 million acquisition of social marketing vendor Vitrue. The acquisitions reflect the growing importance of social media for B2B marketing, as more organizations focus on mining the value from their social connections and developing new strategies to maximize the impact of social marketing campaigns. The deals also suggest that other social media companies could get caught up in a continuing series of mergers and acquisitions, as other enterprise software vendors buy their way into the market.
Check out the DGR Blog for additional commentary on the acquisition and a personal video created by Buddy Media Founder Michael Lazerow.