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Vocus Acquires iContact, Plans Integrated Marketing Software Suite for SMBs

By Matt McKenzie, Contributing Editor

Marketing software provider Vocus announced last week that it had acquired iContact, a provider of cloud-based email and social marketing software. The $159 million purchase is expected to be of particular interest to B2B marketers working at small and midsized firms — the primary target market for both companies today.

Vocus originated as a provider of software and services to PR professionals. In recent years, however, the company expanded its cloud-based offering to include a broader suite of marketing-oriented products that embrace social media, search, and publicity tools (including its 2006 purchase of PRWeb) designed for marketers as small and midsized firms.

3 Key Tactics To Maximize Your B2B Social Media Campaigns

PeterGhalismallBy Peter Ghali, Senior Product Manager, iContact

With 800 million people using Facebook and hundreds of millions logging on to LinkedIn and Twitter, marketers are increasingly looking to reach their customers and prospects through these social media platforms.

But social media marketing isn’t without its challenges. According to a recent survey by iContact, a provider of social media and email marketing solutions, many businesses don’t have time for social media and can’t measure its impact.

Responsys Rolls Out Local, Mobile Features As Part Of Fall 2011 Interact Suite Release

Screen_Shot_2011-10-18_at_10.00.32_AMResponsys, Inc., a provider of email and cross-channel marketing solutions, announced the irelease of Responsys Interact Fall ‘11, the latest version of the Responsys Interact Suite.

Responsys Interact Fall ‘11 features extensions to the Responsys Interact Suite including a new application designed to allow organizations to effectively coordinate and manage local marketing campaigns.

Act-On Software Acquires Assets of Marketbright

Act-On Software
has acquired the assets of Marketbright, including its customers, intellectual property, marketing materials and knowledge base. The company will pick up Marketbright’s free email platform IP, but has other plans for upcoming freemium offerings, according to Act-On CEO Raghu Raghavan.

Newly acquired customers will join Beaverton, OR-based Act-On’s existing 350-client roster, including brands like Siemens and Motorola.

Survey Shows Marketers Not Optimizing The Full Use Of Automation Systems

Most companies have received a passing grade when it comes to the basic curriculum for marketing automation deployment, but the advanced classes of the technology are proving to be difficult. A new survey by DemandGen Report found a wide majority are successfully utilizing email marketing, web forms and landing page tools, but are struggling to successfully deploy more advanced tools such as lead nurturing and lead scoring are taking more time to master.

The Marketing Automation Growth Curve survey, conducted in March and April of this year, targeted firms that have already deployed a marketing automation system. The survey found most marketers are starting with the basic tools and then graduating over time to more sophisticated functionality, such as lead nurturing and lead scoring.

Following Successful IPO Responsys Posts 56% Revenue Gain In Q1

One month after filing an IPO that raised closed to $80 million, Responsys announced first quarter revenues were up 56% to $30.1 million, from $19.4 million in the same period last year.

The provider of email and cross-channel marketing solutions saw significant gains from its professional services division, with revenue for the first quarter of 2011 reaching $9.2 million, up 102% from $4.5 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Subscription revenue for the first quarter of 2011 was $21.0 million, up 41% from $14.9 million in the first quarter of 2010.

iContact Intros Free Edition Of Email Marketing Platform

iContact Corp
., an email marketing and social marketing company, today announced the launch of iContact Free Edition. The no-cost version of its flagship email marketing and social marketing tool is designed as introductory solution for SMBs to communicate with subscribers and “fans” via email, Facebook and Twitter.

iContact Free Edition is designed to enable anyone to easily manage a contact database, select a professionally designed template, send out an email and social network message and track the opens, clicks and social views.

Constant Contact Adds Social CRM Capabilities With Acquisition of Bantam Live

Constant Contact, Inc. announced the acquisition of Bantam Live, a contact management and social CRM provider owned and operated by privately held Bantam Networks, LLC. Under the terms of the deal, which closed on February 15, 2011, Constant Contact acquired substantially all of the assets and assumed certain liabilities of Bantam Networks for a cash purchase price of $15 million, subject to certain post-closing adjustments.

New York-based Bantam Live will provide Constant Contact a social CRM platform built on a Ruby on Rails® platform. Bantam Live's social CRM technology is focused on offering a unified repository of data across all channels, including clicks, email opens, survey responses, event participation and social media interactions. It will play a crucial role in how data is captured, reported and analyzed for Constant Contact's more than 400,000 small business customers, helping them better track, measure and increase customer engagement, according to a company release.

New Metrics Show Video Emerging As Star Player In BtoB Campaigns

As BtoB marketers turn to interactive tools and tactics to engage prospects and optimize lead generation campaigns, research shows that video is becoming an increasingly viable source for engagement and enhanced response.

According to Forrester Research, video in email campaigns can increase click-through rates by as much as 2-3 times. In a recent webinar titled “How to Increase B2B Leads 200% By Using Video,” Joe Eldridge, VP & Co-Founder at Visible Gains, offered a BtoB take on how marketers can integrate video into campaigns for effective customer engagement throughout the sales cycle.

While YouTube is the common starting point for many videos, Eldridge said there are many more opportunities to integrate video into emails, landing pages and product demos. According to a 2009 video marketing benchmark report, online video is second only to word of mouth for its ability to influence decision makers in every stage of the purchase lifecycle. Video can drive awareness of a brand’s product and/or service, leads, customer acquisition and loyalty.

New “Freemium” Models Turn Up Heat In Marketing Automation Space

While free trials of marketing automation software are a relatively common practice to give prospective clients a feel for the features and benefits of a solution, several vendors are now exploring a new “freemium” pricing model to compel prospective customers with a “limited access” complementary version.

The “Freemium” concept has caused a stir in the marketing automation space as Loopfuse launched its FreeView offering in June, and last week Genius unveiled a no-cost version of its Demand Generation product.

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