ExactTarget aims to be one-stop shop with acquisitions

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

ExactTarget Inc., which grew up as an e-mail blasting company focused on consumers, is trying to entrench as a one-stop shop for clients seeking to smartly interact with all manner of customers, from individuals to other businesses.

That’s the motivation for the two acquisitions Indianapolis-based ExactTarget announced Thursday night.

ExactTarget said it would spend $116 million to acquire Atlanta-based Pardot LLC and Indianapolis-based iGoDigital. The two companies have nearly 160 employees combined and should add roughly $25 million in revenue to ExactTarget next year.

ExactTarget, which has 1,500 employees, is on pace this year for revenue of more than $275 million.

The deals were warmly received by Wall Street analysts and gave the company’s stock a modest boost Friday morning. ExactTarget’s shares jumped 2.3 percent when markets opened, although they gave up some of those gains later in the morning.

“We like that Pardot expands ExactTarget’s footprint into B2B marketing automation, because many companies are seeking a one-stop-shop suite for their marketing technology needs,” wrote Jeff Houston, an analyst at Barrington Research in Chicago, in a research note to investors. “Pardot will also help the company shake the mischaracterization of being just a B2C 'batch and blast' e-mail marketing solution, in our opinion.”

ExactTarget had served business-to-business clients before its acquisition of Pardot. Since June 2011, it has partnered with California-based Marketo, a business-to-business marketing company, to offer a suite of marketing automation services for businesses.

Such software is necessary these days because corporate purchasers often will check out another company’s products through multiple digital channels before ever making contact.

So firms such as Pardot, Marketo and Eloqua have developed tools to track the activity of customers that sign up for an e-mail, open an e-mail or download a white paper, and then rank them for interest based on their total level of engagement with the company’s digital marketing.

Such software can automatically send messages or offers to customers based on those that appear to be the most promising buyers. And companies like what they’re seeing. The marketing automation market was predicted to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015, according to details released Thursday by ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey.

“The incremental market potential represents an awesome opportunity,” Dorsey said during a conference call with investors, “and one that we believe will accelerate as marketers are able to unlock the value of B2B and B2C marketing automation, all from one integrated platform.”

ExactTarget’s partnership with Marketo will end because Pardot is a direct competitor, even though Pardot has built its business focusing on smaller firms. However, analysts thought ExactTarget likely would take Pardot’s technology into its core group of middle-market customers and, down the road, to the largest companies as well.

ExactTarget’s acquisition of iGoDigital represents a long-term strategy to make marketing across e-mail, websites, social media and mobile devices personal for individual customers, Dorsey said.

IGoDigital has already has helped such companies as Amazon, Staples and Wal-Mart recommend products to customers based on their personal information, their previous buying habits or their online queries.

But the real potential for ExactTarget is to use that technology to make real-time sales offers to customers not just on websites, but also through e-mail, Twitter and other digital channels, Forrester analyst Rob Brosnan wrote in a blog post about the deals.

“Our research shows that behavioral personalization is the biggest concern in customer relationship marketing,” Brosnan wrote. He added, “If ExactTarget can successfully transition to real-time offer management, it will become a much more significant competitor in the cross-channel management space.”


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am also a "vet" of several Cirque shows and this one left me flat. It didn't have the amount of acrobatic stunts as the others that I have seen. I am still glad that I went to it and look forward to the next one but I put Varekai as my least favorite.

  2. Looking at the two companies - in spite of their relative size to one another -- Ricker's image is (by all accounts) pretty solid and reputable. Their locations are clean, employees are friendly and the products they offer are reasonably priced. By contrast, BP locations are all over the place and their reputation is poor, especially when you consider this is the same "company" whose disastrous oil spill and their response was nothing short of irresponsible should tell you a lot. The fact you also have people who are experienced in franchising saying their system/strategy is flawed is a good indication that another "spill" has occurred and it's the AM-PM/Ricker's customers/company that are having to deal with it.

  3. Daniel Lilly - Glad to hear about your points and miles. Enjoy Wisconsin and Illinois. You don't care one whit about financial discipline, which is why you will blast the "GOP". Classic liberalism.

  4. Isn't the real reason the terrain? The planners under-estimated the undulating terrain, sink holes, karst features, etc. This portion of the route was flawed from the beginning.

  5. You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.