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ExactTarget IPO Draws More Attention To Marketing Automation Vendors

Marketing software vendor ExactTarget went public March 22, raising approximately $161 million. The company says it will use the cash to expand its sales and marketing efforts, and to extend its overseas business operations.

After opening at an initial price of $19 a share, the company's stock is currently trading in the $27 range, or more than 40% above its initial price.

ExactTarget offers a suite of SaaS-based products designed to help companies manage customer communications, including email, mobile and social media. The company works with brands including, Microsoft Corp. and Angie's List. According to the company's prospectus, it lost $35 million last year on sales of $207 million.

Who's Next In The IPO Sweepstakes?
For B2B marketers, the ExactTarget IPO almost certainly means that the company will expand not only its sales and marketing operations, but its product offerings. It also raises the possibility that other marketing automation vendors – most notably Eloqua and Marketo – may also see a favorable environment for IPOs.

Eloqua filed an initial public offering estimated at $100 million in August 2011, although the company has not yet set a date or price for its offering. After closing a $50 round in funding last November, Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez was quoted as saying that "the possibility of an IPO is strong in the next 12 to 15 months."

If ExactTarget's successful IPO is any indication, both companies, and perhaps other marketing automation vendors, may be interested in following suit sooner rather than later. It's a good sign for an industry that continues to grow rapidly – and a very good sign for B2B marketers who continue to invest in marketing automation tools and technologies to boost their own revenue contributions.