If enterprise app popularity was judged by the number of big vendors buying small pureplays, marketing automation would certainly be sitting pretty.
Earlier this year, both Oracle and Salesforce.com purchased providers of marketing platforms with a social slant. Now Microsoft is getting into the act. As Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, wrote in a blog post, Microsoft just acquired Illinois-based MarketingPilot,which he called "a very exciting step forward" for Microsoft Dynamics.
Unlike the companies bought by Salesforce and Oracle, MarketingPilot doesn't seem to place a heavy emphasis on social capabilities. Instead it touts a product that combines marketing resource management, campaign management, email marketing, lead management, digital asset management and marketing automation in a single system
MarketingPilot's technology will "accelerate [Microsoft's] ability to better meet the needs of CMO's through rich business intelligence, and better enable marketers to successfully plan, execute, monitor, and optimize customer interactions across digital, social and traditional channels, and measure ROI," Stutz said.
As Stutz noted, Microsoft expects marketing automation to be in high demand for enterprises, thanks to "the explosion of new channels, emerging markets, and shifts to online and digital customer engagement." He cited an IDC study in which the analyst firm says its expects marketing automation to be the fastest-growing area of CRM over the next four years and a Gartner prediction that CMOs may have a bigger IT budget than CIOs do by 2017.
A growing number of experts are calling for a closer relationship between CIOs and CMOs. In an IBM study published in June, Big Blue found that 51 percent of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing said they had good relationships between marketing and IT, a number 10 percent higher than other companies.
In his post, Stutz seems to hint that MarketingPilot's technology will be integrated into existing Microsoft Dynamics solutions. He said Microsoft will announce more detailed plans for MarketingPilot at its Convergence event in March.
Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today. Follow Enterprise Apps Today on Twitter @EntApps2Day.