Will Salesforce.com’s acquisition of ExactTarget fuel interest in marketing automation, or does it mean that the marketing automation function is going to get gobbled up by CRMs, the way Oracle swallowed Eloqua? While it is still early in the game, most experts who spoke with Demand Gen Report said the ExactTarget deal was a positive move for the marketing automation space. However, independent vendors will have to address other marketing functions such as budgeting, content planning and financial applications to remain viable in the long term.
“It is a brilliant move for [Salesforce.com] that gives entry into B2C markets, addresses a critical functional weakness in their own system, and gives them Pardot marketing automation for free,” said David M. Raab, Principal, Raab Associates. “Marketing automation sits right between email and CRM, so once you control those two, then marketing automation pretty much comes along for the ride. But I don’t think SFDC will shut out competitors, so it’s not an immediate death sentence for independent marketing automation vendors.”