• March 24, 2008
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

Portrait Software Acquires a More Colorful Marketing Picture

Portrait Software, a provider of customer interaction optimization software, announced last week its acquisition of outbound campaign management software provider Million Handshakes AS. Norway-based Million Handshakes' outbound marketing tools -- which will be rebranded as Portrait Campaign Manager -- will provide the missing link in Portrait's marketing applications offering, the companies say. The initial purchase price was approximately $4.6 million dollars, with targets set over the next two years to be paid as an earn out. There's nothing sudden about the move, the companies say: Over the past six months, the two vendors have been working to merge their respective solutions. The announcement, both firms say, marks the successful integration of the applications. Both Portrait and Million Handshakes are built on Microsoft's .NET platform and both perform with a database-agnostic approach, allowing them to work with whatever existing database structure an organization has in place. Because of these similarities, integration from a technological standpoint was "very straightforward," says Mark Smith, executive vice president and general manager at Portrait Software. Prior to the deal, Portrait offered only the decision and analytics intelligence component of inbound marketing, identifying the most appropriate approach each time a customer reached out to an organization, whether through a contact center or a Web site. The acquisition, Smith says, allows Portrait to offer the outbound equivalent. "You can now contact [customers]," he says. "You don't have to wait for them to contact you." Conversely, Million Handshakes' existing users, who had what Smith calls "fantastic" functionalities in terms of making contact -- direct mail, email, phone calls, surveys, etc. -- now have the power to study historical data and customer profiles in order to better segment and target their customers, he says. Smith adds that the acquisition also introduces Portrait, which had previously focused on Tier 1 enterprises, to the midmarket, an area that is seeing significant growth. Portrait will continue to focus primarily on the financial services sector, followed by telecommunications, retail, and publishing, Smith says. Million Handshakes' entire staff will be retained, he adds, giving Portrait a Scandinavian hub that will be highly beneficial, particularly considering Portrait's existing customer base in the region. The combined solution makes for a "very compelling solution," according to Suresh Vittal, senior analyst at Forrester Research. He explains that the acquisition integrates inbound and outbound solutions through the use of analytically driven tools for better marketing effectiveness. "What this [acquisition] suggests is that there is a clear benefit for marketers to be able to view their inbound and outbound communications through the same lens," he says, adding that the deal essentially solves that problem. Other companies contending to offer clients a complete approach to marketing include Unica, Infor Epiphany, and SAS Institute, according to Vittal. This acquisition will play a significant role in "help[ing] Portrait catch up to the market and really be a viable contender in this space," he says.

Related articles: Unica Gets Marketer Friendly Unica releases the latest version of its Web-analytics product, Affinium NetInsight 7.1, focused on ease of use and tighter multichannel tie-ins. Analyze This Get to know your customers better with CRM analytics software. Infor Markets a New Marketing Module The software conglomerate's Infor CRM Epiphany Outbound Marketing 7.1 offers industry-specific features for retailers. How Can We Develop an Efficient Inbound Marketing Model? Technology can assist marketing managers in developing an efficient inbound marketing strategy oriented to turn every inbound interaction into a business opportunity. Tech Solution: Marketing Campaign Management Software Business Problem: Decision-makers have no insight into marketing effectiveness Why Is Marketing Resource Management Important to Campaign Management? All companies will eventually need to implement and automate marketing resource management and campaign management business processes. The Maturation of MRM Marketing resource management is growing up -- and adding muscle to ROI -- as companies seek to codify strategies and track marketing budgets. Making the Most of Marketing Optimizing operations can intimidate the strongest of marketing departments, but with able people, good processes, and strong technology, the beast may be conquered, one bite at a time.
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