Unica takes the acquisition route, not a usual move for the company, to enhance its marketing automation functionality.
Posted Dec 21, 2005
Unica has moved to bolster its footing in the marketing automation space by acquiring privately held lead-management and event-detection solutions provider MarketSoft for $7.25 million in cash. Under the deal, effective yesterday, the provider of enterprise marketing management (EMM) solutions snatches up MarketSoft's assets, including its technology and customer contracts. The acquisition, a rarity for the company, comes roughly five months after it made its IPO in August.
Although the acquisition is relatively small, it improves the company's strategic position, Yuchun Lee, Unica cofounder and CEO, said during a conference call today. The strategic rationale behind the acquisition lies in four key reasons, Lee said: Unica acquires a best-of-breed lead management and event detection company; the deal progresses its strategy of building out its EMM suite; it leverages Unica's brand, overall product suite, and sales-and-marketing distribution; and represents a "very good use of cash" that improves Unica's shareholder value. He also noted that a third of MarketSoft's customers also use Unica's Affinium suite.
"Our plan is to leverage the strength of MarketSoft's core functionality for lead routing and distribution. Also, to leverage Unica's current robust capability for [lists] and opportunity management to deliver a solution that allows marketers to help those closest to the customer...to access information to customize and execute local marketing programs and engage with customers more effectively," Lee said. "We're building towards a broader solution that satisfies a broad set of requirements that we see from the market to support an emerging notion of distributed marketing where marketing is done not just centrally, but more broadly across an enterprise and sometimes even outside the enterprise."
The acquisition is a positive move for Unica, according to David Daniels, research director at Jupiter Research. "The MarketSoft offering is very complimentary to the Unica Affinium suite and the MarketSoft event-based methodology is a natural extension to their right-time marketing approach."
Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager for Yankee Group, takes a similar stance, noting MarketSoft's lead management platform and what she describes as a handful of very loyal customers in the financial services market. "It gives MarketSoft customers more financial stability for the future," she says. Regarding Unica customers, "you really have to take a look and wait until it's completely integrated, but the value add has to do with a very, very strong lead management focus."
From the competitive perspective, "Aprimo is very strong in lead management," Kingstone says. "It makes [Unica] much more competitive against Aprimo with respect to just the lead management side."
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