The ANNUITAS Perspective on the Adobe Acquisition of Marketo

A Memo from CEO Adam Needles to ANNUITAS clients on the Adobe Acquisition of Marketo


Good morning.

You probably saw that late yesterday Adobe bought Marketo. (And if you didn’t, now you know!)

For those of you with Marketo in your Demand Process technology stacks, your next question is probably what does this mean for me? And what does this mean for our ANNUITAS Perpetual Demand Generation® (PDG) investments?

I put this question to our senior team yesterday afternoon, and wanted to share with you a few thoughts we came up with:

– First and foremost … nothing, immediately

Tech companies are bought and sold every day. In fact, Marketo has been bought and sold a few times now. And we don’t expect anything other than business as usual from the Marketo ecosystem for the next 6-9 months. (So don’t cancel your tickets for the next Marketo Marketing Nation Summit … that event likely has at least one more go-round.)

– A short second … this is a welcome acquisition

Sentiment from our contacts at Marketo is that everyone is thrilled with the news. (Someone commented that this could have gone ‘way worse’). That’s important because too often this type of acquisition results in mass talent exodus. Maybe not so much in this case.

– Adobe is a strong ally of marketing innovation

Adobe is known excellence at the crossroads of creative and analytics. It’s in the company’s genes — going back to apps to edit photos and publish newsletters back in the eighties and nineties. Marketo COULD HAVE been acquired by one of several enterprise application vendors that simply don’t get marketing. Adobe GETS marketing. And that’s a good thing. Moreover, Adobe’s product quality is world class — something that cannot be said for every software vendor that has acquired marketing automation. AND, Adobe invests in its products; whereas, we’ve seen a gap in Oracle and Salesforce’s commitment to the Eloqua and Pardot marketing automation platforms that they acquired.

– Adobe has a strong focus on Customer Experience (CX)

It views design as a strategic component of CX. In fact, there is incredible potential for the integration of Adobe’s Creative Cloud into Marketo through this acquisition. And the Marketo acquisition has an ‘expansive view’ of CX as a core tenet. For example, it’s no longer about Email or Web as silos, but about the entire, integrated, orchestrated experience. Start to finish.

– This is an opportunity for marketing automation and Web CMS to better integrate around CX

As ANNUITAS clients, you all already have tightly integrated CRM + MAP + CMS … the way it SHOULD be. But this is not the case for much of the world. Too often, marketing automation is treated as an email platform, not as the ‘multi-channel orchestrator’ and the ‘real-time buyer qualifier’ brains that it really is. In our view, CMS should be the CX interface, and marketing automation should be the CX intelligence. This is a huge opportunity for Adobe + Marketo.

– This could also take marketing automation more into e-commerce

Integration with Magento could power Marketo to perform online transactions. This paves the way for a much simpler implementation of hypertransactional PDG wherein SMB and transactional contacts can Engage, be Nurtured, and self-Convert into new business without a lead developer or inside/outside seller even having to intervene.

– Digital advertising is primed to become another channel that marketing automation better orchestrates

Adobe’s Experience Cloud contains an advertising platform; integrations with Marketo could allow for even more personalized digital advertising as a part of the integrated buyer journey. Their Content Management and Personalization products could also seriously expand Marketo’s ability to power PDG.

– Adobe will be a gateway (for Marketo) to B2C; Marketo will be a gateway (for Adobe) to B2B

Marketo’s core business and ‘street cred’ is still B2B today, and features such as Revenue Cycle Modeler are best-in-class for managing complex Lead Management flows through a Demand Process. B2B is not a dying opportunity, but there is definitely an opportunity to engage Marketo more in the B2C arena — with Adobe opening doors. Adobe, on the other hand, is largely regarded in the B2C arena — and it’s not-particularly-successful acquisition of Neolane (aka Adobe Campaign) failed to raise it’s credentials in demand marketing. So this is a strong opportunity both for Adobe and for Marketo to cross-pollinate.

– This may raise the profile of Microsoft Dynamics as a CRM option in a demand marketing stack

For years, Salesforce has been the grand dame, and arguably Marketo has had the tightest integration with Salesforce of any CRM — hands-down. (So it’s been a no-brainer to pair Marketo and Salesforce.) Adobe seems to have a tighter relationship with Microsoft, and this could raise the profile and level of integration between Marketo and Dynamics … creating a lot more options. And that’s a good thing.

So where do we net out on this?

We don’t love Marketo being acquired — as there was value in having an independent marketing automation vendor — but Adobe is probably the best place Marketo could have ended up.

So we see it as a positive.


Adam Needles


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