The Marketing Software Convergence Continues: Teradata Acquires Aprimo For $525 Million

Teradata announced today that it was entering into an agreement to acquire Aprimo, a privately held enterprise marketing platform company, with a strong focus on Campaign Management and Marketing Resource Management (MRM). Coming on the heels of the acquisition binge by IBM who acquired Unica, Coremetrics, and a bunch of other analytics and data management companies, we can safely say that marketing automation and campaign management solutions are up for grabs.

I was briefed by Teradata and Aprimo executives on the rationale for the acquisition. They expect the deal, valued at US$525 million, to close in Q1 2011. Now this is an even greater premium than IBM paid for Unica. So besides this being a very happy holiday season for Aprimo executives and the board, what does this mean for marketers, CI professionals, and competitors? Here’s my take on the deal:

  1. Signals Teradata’s seriousness about the application business. Clearly all the data that drives Teradata's revenue isn’t enough. This acquisition signals a belief that Teradata views the business application space as critical to drive the utilization of the enterprise data warehouse. The fact that Aprimo has a strong on-demand marketing software business isn’t lost on Teradata either.  
  2. Strong complementary fit. In my experience covering this market and helping CI professionals select marketing technology, I rarely see Aprimo and Teradata compete in the same deal. Aprimo is always a better fit in B2B, mid-enterprise, or process management focused deals while Teradata TRM is a better fit in high-volume, retail-centric, or analytical campaign management propositions. So the coming together of these companies means strengthening the other’s weakness. In addition, they share some marquee clients like Walmart and Dell, which always helps.
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Recent Fundraising Activity Validates The Potential Of Online Testing

In the past month we’ve seen not one but two online testing vendors secure new rounds of financing:

  • Optimizely raised $1.2m in November from a group of angel investors; more info here.
  • Monetate raised $5.1 million this month from First Round Capital, Floodgate Fund, and other institutional investors; more info here.
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The 2011 Listening Platform Landscape

After an entire month without any acquisitions in the social media data space, there is no excuse but to get back to normal blogging. I assume I'll be back to posting on M&A again soon, but in the meantime I've been busy working on some big research and now it's finally ready to show off. Today we've published "The 2011 Listening Platform Landscape," a report aimed at helping Marketing and Customer Intelligence professionals navigate a crowded and fragmented array of social media data tools and technologies.

The inspiration for this report was easy: vendor selection is the single most popular topic from clients this year. Forrester clients know they need help managing online conversation, but don't know where to turn for that help. In the last six months alone I've spoken with over 100 companies about finding the right listening platform partner. And with hoards of competing vendors (thanks Ken Burbary for helping put together such a comprehensive list!), buyers across the board face challenges finding the partner(s) that best fits their listening needs. This report breaks down the market's fragmentation and helps Customer Intelligence professionals shortlist vendors based on their listening requirements.

After months of briefings with platforms and interviews with buyers, we found:

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The State of Cross-Channel Attribution

As you may have read, I've just published a report entitled "Untangling the Attribution Web" (subscription required). In the course of researching that report, it became clear that, despite the many years of discussion surrounding what's commonly called "fractional attribution," there's still a dearth of organizations who have successfully implemented a measurement approach beyond legacy last-touch allocation methods. Financial services firms get close, especially those who are using marketing mix modeling. And a handful of retailers are executing a cross-channel attribution strategy, but many of them are still battling inconsistent metrics and channel conflict. So we found ourselves wondering why adoption of such a critical business initiative has stagnated.

As a result, we've created a very brief survey for attribution vendors and multichannel marketers to help us assess the current state of attribution. The survey will give us some visibility into the key challenges and opportunities surround attribution, and why its adoption is lagging. And, it will help guide our next report, wherein we'll provide an organization readiness assessment for attribution, and lay the framework for its successful implementation.

Please take five minutes to complete the survey; all responses are anonymous and only reported in aggregate. The next report will go live late this month or early in January, and participants will receive a copy of the published report.

Vendors, please go here.

Marketers, please go here.

The Death Of Market Research

Hopefully this title got your attention. Why, you may ask, am I writing about the death of the very industry that I’ve staked my profession (and my paycheck) on? Well, as the saying goes, with every door that closes, a new one opens, and there is a new door opening for market research.

I’m kicking off a new Forrester Big Idea report on the future of the MR function at client-side companies. As the name implies, this initial report will lay out Forrester’s overall thinking on where MR is headed, and it will serve as a basis for a new stream of research our team will be tackling over the next 12 to 24 months. The premise goes like this:

The market research role is changing rapidly. Not only are traditional, prevailing methodologies challenged by technological innovations and changing consumer behavior, but also the need for traditional market research data is decreasing. In fact, organizations are drowning in data. And all parts of the organization have their own sources of data, from what sales hears from the customer to what customer service fields in calls and email, and let’s not forget about the chatter on the Facebook fan page or other social outlets. Yet the best business decisions are made not through data but through insights: the context that comes from understanding what data means in the bigger picture of the business objectives and market trends.

So market researchers are struggling to reclaim their relevance in a time when data is a commodity, insights are power, and disparate sources of information are producing different versions of the truth. In fact, the role of the market researcher as we know it is going away for good.

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