NetSuite Announces Acquisition of Bronto

In a further effort to add onto its CRM portfolio, NetSuite, a provider of omnichannel commerce software suites, announced today the acquisition of Bronto Software, a company that offers a cloud-based marketing automation platform for commerce.

“The acquisition of Bronto takes us into an entirely new direction in terms of bringing in people who deeply understand the marketing department and how to engage with customers across every different channel,” Andy Lloyd, general manager of commerce products at NetSuite, says. “We are really looking to this management team—and this company as a whole— to help drive our direction and help unify the marketing and commerce world going forward.”

The partnership will allow NetSuite to bolster the capabilities of its SuiteCommerce platform by uniting it with what they believe is a strong marketing automation system. Founded in 2002, Bronto has focused on solutions that help companies tie together online and offline customer interactions and craft campaigns that are set in motion by commerce-related activity. With the company’s cart-abandonment program, for example, users can determine the appropriate times for targeting customers with relevant marketing materials that ultimately drive revenue. If a customer is browsing an item on a website, a company can assess how the person has interacted with the page and then send a message that offers a promotional discount, leading them back to the site. Bronto also offers tools for crafting personalized messages, including those that are sent following a purchase, in addition to rating and review follow-ups.

Over the past four years, with the relaunch of its platform, NetSuite has made a number of acquisitions to expand its offerings in the area of omnichannel commerce.  But the company reports that today’s acquisition is more significant, as it will expand its scope in an area that hasn’t yet seen the attention it deserves. “We saw a problem that was really not being addressed: Marketing departments were very fragmented,” Lloyd says. “They had teams that focused on what was going on on the site, and teams that were focused on what they were doing from a marketing perspective, particularly email marketing. And what we wanted to do was provide our customers’ customers with a unified journey so that they were no longer working across these different fragmented experiences.”

“In our world, tying the marketing commerce platform together with the commerce platform is the absolute next step in terms of where it is all going,” adds Bronto’s chief executive officer, Joe Colopy.

Analyst Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research, agrees that a stronger effort to unify the two disjointed areas of campaigns and commerce makes sense as the logical next step. “CRM is basically useless unless you can convert,” he says. “That’s why NetSuite needed to acquire a marketing automation company.”

NetSuite will add to the announcement at SuiteWorld, the company’s yearly user and partner conference, where it intends to speak about its future plans for SuiteCommerce and the future of the industry. “Netsuite believes that we’re still in the early days of what is a really profound transition in terms of the ways the companies do business, and that the front-end experience that you provide to your customers, partners, vendors, will be a huge piece of your success as a business going forward,” Lloyd says. “Front-end experiences need to be driven by real tangible business information, things like inventory information, customer order history, behavioral information, email opens, email clicks, what categories are being browsed.”

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