Last Thursday, marketing data and analytics company, Neustar, agreed to acquire marketing analytics technology provider MarketShare Partners, for $450 million.  Neustar is an information services company, providing everything from complex registry management to deliver marketing insights. MarketShare Partners provides advanced analytics technology to help c-level executives improve marketing’s impact on revenue.    

The Neustar acquisition of MarketShare means:

A powerful insights engine will come to market.  The Neustar acquisition of MarketShare for $450 million indicates one thing:data is not enough. Neustar needed to expand on its existing data, marketing, and identity solutions and add an analytics technology layer to help CMOs measure, analyze, and optimize marketing initiatives.  The acquistion of MarketShare helps Neustar clients bring all that rich data to life, and will give MarketShare clients access to even more customer based data to enhance its current analytics.

Neustar to gain more access to CMOs .  Neustar’s primary stakeholders sit right below the c-suite. This acquisition will  hopefully change that; MarketShare’s strong experience  as a  trusted advisor Fortune 1000 to clients such as USAA, Hilton, and Neiman Marcus.  MarketShare has a proven track record of guiding executives through marketing planning decisions, changes in prices, and change management decisions.  This acquisition will potentially give Neustar more credibility with C-level executives, if they can speak their language.

MarketShare will have more direct access to even more data.   MarketShare relies on partnership with third party data providers or onboarding vendors to connect data across the digital, offline, and mobile divide. Being part of the Neustar family means that MarketShare will have access to even more customer data, rapidly fueling their customer based insights efforts to better understandwhy people choose.  More importantly, MarketShare technology will now have access to Neustar data immediately, closing the insights to action time gap.

Of course, the acquistion will come with its challenges.  We predict that:

Neustar will have a shaky go-to-market strategy. Neustar has two primary issues with its existing go-to-market : the buyer and the product strategy.  Neustar has historically sold its solutions to IT and security professionals, and has had a hard time learning how to sell to CMOs. Further, it’s unclear as to where MarketShare will sit within the Neustar PlatformOne product–either in the customer intelligence suite or the media intelligence product.  MarketShare’s primary value proposition is marketing insights but it also provides customer based insights.  For Neustar fully embrace MarketShare technology, they must re-evaluate their product positioning and messaging, embracing CMO language and they must create the technology bridge that easily connects the data with insights across the entire platform.

The technology vs. services debate will heat up.  Advances in marketing technologies promise little need for supporting services.  Yet, marketing executives tell us they need a strategic a partner to help derive insights, and activate recommendations into the marketing planning and strategy workflow.  Neustar must figure out the services piece to their overall insights offering.  MarketShare had already been stepping away from providing change management services, forming strategic partnerships with traditional consulting firms.  We predict that consulting firms, like Deloitte or Accenture, will step in and help clients with change management and strategic services.  The tug-of-war for influence  will get even stronger as agencies  provide technology management services, and marketing technology vendors lose direct access to their end user client.  

In the coming months, Neustar clients should expect a big promotional push of MarketShare marketing analytics and planning capabilities.  Yet, the fates of  MarketShare clients’ remain uncertain. Given MarketShare’s focus to provide top of the line analytics technology, coupled with its C-Suite experience, we expect minimal impact to existing clients–at first.  In the long term, we expect Neustar to revisit MarketShare’s typical engagement approach, and rely on strategic partnership to help existing clients with its change management and insights service’s needs.