Marketo Bought Crowd Factory

Posted: April 27, 2012 in CRM, Current Affairs
Tags: ,

Note:  I have been traveling so much lately that I haven’t had time to publish everything I have been writing.  A little archeology on my MacBook produced this analysis from last week.

Marketo and CrowdFactory are joining forces to produce an integrated social marketing suite.  The deal was announced last Wednesday and you can reference the details here: (Barney can you add the url for the PR when it comes out?)

Here are my takeaways.

  1. Marketo is a hot emerging company focusing on digital marketing, is a good place to hang your hat if you want to collect venture capital and have an IPO.  While digital marketing is an important thing today, I think it is showing signs of reaching maturity.  It’s been around long enough that the category creator, Eloqua, has already gone public and the solution class is becoming well known.  This is not to say that everyone has digital marketing in-house or even knows what it is.  But there’s ROI, or as Marketo might tell you RPM for revenue performance management.  Nonetheless there’s a lot of market space left.
  2. CrowdFactory is also emerging but it is at an earlier stage than Marketo.  It’s solution type is also newer and less well understood.  CrowdFactory is a social marketing solution that I first became aware of during 2011’s CRM Idol contest.  As a primary judge in the competition, I saw their earliest briefing and was impressed.  They use social techniques to more actively involve customers in marketing campaigns and the solution set includes some aspects of the still nascent idea called gamification.  But as a social campaign solution they are more tactical than Marketo in some ways.

The combination of Marketo and CrowdFactory gives the combined company greater ability to play in the strategic as opposed to tactical realm.  I can see Marketo as more of a B2B play and CrowdFactory as more of a B2C offering.  The combination not only cross fertilizes each area with it’s opposite member’s best ideas, it also gives more of an end to end marketing twist to companies that go after each kind of market.

More importantly I see marketing changing in the general direction that the combined forces of Marketo and CrowdFactory are proceeding.  Conventional B2B marketing with more of an accelerated B2C flavor would undoubtedly warm the cockles (a technical term) of many sales managers souls.  Likewise, B2C marketing campaigns with more of a thought leadership (as opposed to buy this now!) approach might elevate that conversation.

It’s my belief that in the near future we need to find more ways to understand opportunities and automate them to help reduce the overhead and time it takes to more deals ahead and for this reason alone I like this merger.

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