No sooner had I posted a blog on the issues of digital myopia than I got on a call to learn that Adobe Systems acquired Neolane, under the auspices of the fact that digital is part of marketing, not that digital is the only thing in marketing. This is a very interesting deal (full disclosure, Suresh Vittal, the chief product officer, was a peer of mine at Forrester until December of last year) for a number of reasons:
- It continues to place Adobe in the crosshairs of IBM, salesforce.com, Oracle, and SAP. Adobe continues to invest in areas that much larger companies have set their sights on — in this case, with the recent acquisitions of Eloqua by Oracle, ExactTarget by salesforce.com, ongoing acquisitions at IBM, and so on (see Forrester commentary by Mark Grannan here and by Shar VanBoskirk here). With Adobe now firmly in this mix, it will be going up against enterprise-level suppliers, not just marketing department deployments.
- It highlights the growing importance and need for a comprehensive marketing platform to tie together disparate marketing processes. Many of the companies in this space are building a marketing cloud to deliver the process in one holistic platform. This will help marketers execute the process they need to deliver creative content to the right person regardless of medium, and with insight to measure its effectiveness. Sound like a dream? Yes. Are we officially on the path? Definitely. Will it be easy? No way.
- It raises the need for CMOs to think about their knowledge of marketing technologies. We just wrote a report that published last week on the role CMOs need to play in purchasing marketing technology (client access required). With these platforms appealing to both B2B and B2C marketers, it is unlikely that five years from now you can be a marketing maven unless you have adopted all or part of these platforms in your organization. Start building your strategic road map now, and press vendors hard on what they think their product road map will lead you to so that you are not left with a legacy marketing system on your hands.
Expect to see more consolidation in this space, as email vendors go broad or get picked up by bigger entities.