In a deal that underlines the growing technology buying power of marketing departments, data warehousing technology provider Teradata has acquired eCircle, a German company that offers hosted digital marketing services.
Teradata plans to combine eCircle’s email marketing and digital content management capabilities with its existing Aprimo marketing automation software.
The company said the combination of eCircle, Aprimo and its data warehousing technology offers customers an ‘integrated marketing management’ solution, that allows that automate campaigns across online and offline channels, and analyse the effectiveness of the campaigns holistically.
eCircle’s customers include retailer Argos, electronics giant Samsung and the Football Association. It claims that its services are used to send 10 billion emails every quarter.
According to Forrester Research analyst Rob Brosnan, the potential significance of the acquisition depends on how bold Teradata will be in integrating eCircle into its existing marketing-related products.
If it simply adds eCircle’s services to its product portfolio, Brosnan wrote, it would "ultimately continue the status quo of a fractured marketing technology landscape: one toolbox for interactive marketers, another for traditional direct marketers, and a slowly evolving set of tools for [customer intelligence pros to map between the two."
The alternative would be integrate Aprimo, eCircle and its big data analytics play, Aster Data, into a single digital marketing application.
"Customer intelligence pros and marketers stand to win big from a unified platform: easier access to digital channels, deep analytical strength, and a much simplified application environment," Brosnan wrote.
However, this latter approach would require more patience and investment, he added. "Today demand for a unified platform comes more, though not exclusively, from the mid-market than from large enterprises. Teradata would likely have to provide financial support for the platform until enough interest grows from large customers."
Systems that assist the marketing department in managing digital campaigns and content are a growing opportunity for the IT sector. Analyst company Gartner has predicted that marketing departments will account for 25% of IT spending by 2015.
Another company pursuing this opportunity is Indian IT outsourcer Infosys. In partnership with UK-based digital marketing software vendor Fabric Worldwide, it recently launched a digital marketing platform service. Its first customer is pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKlein.