With Eloqua's $92 million-producing initial public offering (IPO) last summer and subsequent rapid acquisition by Oracle, Marketo's filing for a $75 million IPO, which the company first announced on February 26, alludes to a strikingly similar trajectory.
Although Marketo's first $75 million filing isn't a "big IPO" in retrospect, notes Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, it is "significant to their go-to-market efforts." Marketo, he adds, is now at a size and scope where operating independently for the next two to three years would be a viable option for the company. However, as the need for deeper cloud-based marketing services continues, enterprise vendors could come knocking.
As an illustration, IBM picked up cloud-based marketing solution Unica, and Teradata acquired marketing software company Aprimo in 2010. Cross-channel marketing solution ExactTarget snapped up marketing automation provider Pardot earlier in October and Oracle rounded out the mix this winter with its acquisition of Eloqua.
Increasingly, marketing automation and marketing analytics are converging and the need by companies for a hybrid of the two has never been greater, some experts say. Nucleus Research's "2013 CRM Benchmark Report" has found that 68 percent of companies surveyed reported an increase in profits as a result of deploying marketing automation.
But, in an interview with CRM, Shashi Upadhyay, CEO of B2B sales and marketing intelligence solutions company Lattice Engines, said that an overwhelming number of leads unearthed by marketing automation can sometimes create confusion among sales and marketing departments.
"[Leads] all look the same, and you don't really know which are important," he says. When a big data system sits between the lead flow, "it's predicting for marketing of all of the leads that came in, which of them are actually relevant and likely to close in the next quarter based on internal and external data and then passing that on to sales."
Predictive analysis has been evident in vendor solution development. For instance, Teradata's Relationship Manager V6.4 has integration to Aprimo's Marketing Studio to tie together workflows between marketing operations and multichannel campaign management; pattern detection lets a marketer follow customer, product, or campaign activity and tweak future actions accordingly.
Additionally, social media has been a growing facet to marketing automation, with Marketo recently launching a Social Marketing application that enables marketers to embed social applications into demand generation programs, as well as assimilate things like social sweepstakes into a unified customer profile database.