While the announcement that ExactTarget will become a wholly owned Salesforce.com company spawned the typical gamut of big acquisition emotions across the industry (celebration, praise, speculation, and scrutiny), the news did nothing to change the fundamental facts about the platform — the same facts that have had independent research firms like Forrester designating them as the leader of the pack in its Wave Reports. Simply put, ExactTarget has the best data-driven digital marketing solutions in the world.

Having worked with the ExactTarget team and their technology for more than 10 years, DEG has had the opportunity to bear witness to their intense focus on technology and innovation. We have implemented any number of ExactTarget to Salesforce.com and MSCRM integrations and have seen the capabilities these combined solutions bring to organizations large and small. When you consider the following it becomes crystal clear why a company like Salesforce.com would want them under their umbrella:

  • ExactTarget is the largest SaaS marketing platform provider in the world with nearly 10,000 enterprise clients, inclusive of some of the largest CPG and retail brands on Earth.
  • ExactTarget invests $45mm per year in product R&D. To give you some perspective, that was 17% of their revenue in 2012 (by way of comparison, Responsys, ExactTarget’s closest competitor, spent only about one-fourth of that on R&D during the same period). The company values innovation now as much as they did in their early years, resulting in an increasingly powerful, yet highly usable one-to-one marketing platform.
  • Recent acquisitions highlight their laser focus on both B2C and B2B. Both iGoDigital and Pardot were considered industry leaders before ExactTarget acquired them, and both added significant firepower to the platform.
    • iGoDigital is considered one of the industry’s leading guided selling and personalization platforms, powering eight of the top 10 online retailers. Many of the world’s top brands harness the power of iGoDigital’s solutions, including Staples, Wal-Mart, P&G, Amazon, and BestBuy.
    • Pardot, ExactTarget’s recently acquired marketing automation platform is leveraged by thousands of businesses globally to capture, score, and automate their communications.
  • ExactTarget’s HubExchange strategy is well aligned with Salesforce’s App Exchange Strategy. In July, ExactTarget will be launching its new HubExchange marketplace. Much like App Exchange, technology powerhouses and innovative niche software providers are developing solutions that plug into ExactTarget’s data-driven digital marketing platform to drive more relevant, timely, and dynamic interactions both online and off. A small sampling of the connectors that will be available in the HubExchange include:

From our vantage point, it couldn’t be a more exciting time to be a partner or customer of ExactTarget. As it stands now, the power of their technology is simply unmatched. The alignment to Salesforce and their Marketing Cloud and Data.com, coupled with their approach to an open architecture, leads us to believe that ExactTarget’s leadership position will only widen in the coming years.

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