When IBM announced last week that it would be purchasing Silverpop, the cloud-based multichannel marketing platform, it was only the most recent in a three-year string of high-profile marketing technology acquisitions. Only a month before IBM’s announcement, Oracle made an acquisition announcement of their own, pledging to acquire marketing & data management platform BlueKai for an estimated $350-$400 Million. This move by IBM, and Oracle’s successive ingestion of Compendium, Eloqua, Responsys, and now BlueKai, are all moves to maintain and/or gain position in what is now undeniably a digital marketing platform arms race, dominated by these and a handful of competitors, including Salesforce* and Adobe.**
Everything has been a target for acquisition and integration, from website analytics providers to email service providers, data management platforms, social media management, and beyond. Each of these titans has been aggressively building and buying their way to deliver on the promise of a CMO-focused, cloud-based, integrated cross-channel platform that places the digital marketing controls squarely in the court of the marketing organization and relieving long-standing resource dependencies on other internal and external organizations. It is a vision that, in most of these and many other competing organizations, has been branded the “Marketing Cloud,” and it is set to be the key driver in marketing technology evolution and decision-making for the coming five years.
So, what does all of this tectonic shifting mean for the CIOs and CMOs who are making technology decisions right now? Well, as Jeff Bridges’ Big Lebowski character, The Dude, might say: “It’s a complicated case. A lot of ins. A lot of outs. A lot of what-have-yous.” In the interest of keeping this an article, though, as opposed to the book this subject may deserve, let me share four ways in which I believe the impact will be felt in the C-suite in the coming years:
1) Increasing pressure to replace existing “piecemeal” solutions…even if they are currently working well
In the past 5 years, most medium-to-large enterprises have undergone some version of a marketing technology selection process that undoubtedly included a healthy internal debate over centralizing the activities of their various marketing groups on a consolidated platform vs integrating disparate “best-of-breed” solutions selected by individual units with channel oversight....