Leading CRM platform Salesforce.com has agreed to buy digital marketing leader Exact Target for $2.5 billion – its biggest acquisition yet.
ExactTarget’s web-based software has been used by over 6,000 companies and major consumer brands, including Nike and Coca-Cola, to manage their digital marketing since the company’s launch in 2000.
The deal, which is expected to close before the end of July, is the biggest of CEO Marc Benioff’s 40 acquisitions worth a total of at least $4 billion in the past five years.
It is hoped that by buying ExactTarget, Salesforce.com will expand its platform to allow customers to manage campaigns over e-mail, social networks and mobile devices. In its press release, Salesforce.com cites figures from Gartner that estimate one-third of traditional marketing budgets will be allocated to digital platforms by 2015.
Brad Wilson, CEO of digital marketing company Emailvision and former general manager of Salesfore.com competitor Microsoft Dynamics, told Information Age that today’s takeover validates the importance of cloud marketing platforms for businesses.
“Getting the right message at the right message at the right time to customers across every channel – email, social, web and more – has become a core requirement for marketers today,” said Wilson.
It is not the first move in Salesforce.com’s ongoing push into digital marketing. Last year Salesforce.com bought social media management platform Buddy Media for $689, and in 2011it acquired social media monitoring company Radian6 for its social media insight and analysis.
“ExactTarget’s mission is to revolutionise how businesses connect with their consumers using data-driven marketing across all channels,” said Scott Dorsey, ExactTarget CEO and co-founder.
“Saleforce.com’s tremendous strength in social marketing, along with its leadership position in sales and service, not only will accelerate this vision, but also provide our customers with a powerful, integrated CRM platform to transform their end-to-end customer experience.”
Salesforce.com says it expects today's deal to add $120 million in revenue in 2014.