Crowd Factory is a certified cool product, which is probably reason enough for Marketo to buy them. But what I find intriguing is how little the two businesses overlap. Marketo is primarily focused on business marketing, and in particular lead generation, nurturing and analytics. Crowd Factory has some B2B clients but is clearly aimed at large-scale consumer marketing. Campaign types listed on its Web site include refer a friend, social sweepstakes, polls and voting, flash deals, group offers, and intelligent share buttons. Few would be considered relevant for most B2B campaigns.
Indeed, Marketo already had a reasonable set of B2B social marketing features. Here’s the chart I built last December in a post comparing social marketing features across the industry.
The yellow boxes represent capabilities added by Crowd Factory (although actual integration of the two products will probably take some time). As you see, Crowd Factory doesn’t fill many gaps. Rather, it adds B2C features that might will enable Marketo to penetrate a new set of accounts.
But it’s not fair to let Marketo get all the attention. Other vendors have also extended their products recently. These include:
Silverpop announced it had purchased CoreMotives, which adds marketing automation capabilities within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The company also announced plans to integrate Silverpop’s flagship Engage system with Dynamics CRM. The CoreMotives acquisition is quite interesting, since CoreMotives creates a merger of CRM and marketing automation (which I’ve long predicted) rather than the now-standard model of separate systems for each. The deal might be seen bet-hedging by Silverpop, although I suspect it’s more a way to penetrate accounts too small to buy a separate, sophisticated marketing automation or email product.
Pardot added features for search marketing. These are keyword monitoring, which tracks the user’s site rank in Google and Bing, and competitor monitoring, which captures metrics such as Google PageRank, inbound links, and indexed pages. Data comes from several sources. This is an important enhancement and part of larger trend for marketing automation vendors to move beyond email and landing pages.
Neolane announced new features to identify anonymous Web visitors based on prior email interactions and to use external catalog data in dynamic offers. Not as sexy as a social marketing acquisition but useful nevertheless.
Act-On Software added dynamic content, progressive profiling, new survey components, search engine optimization meta-tags and source tracking, and performance reports. These are mostly catch-up features but the search engine optimization piece again shows the industry’s movement in that direction.
OfficeAutoPilot expanded its professional services offerings – another industry trend – and improved its tools for building forms and creating emails. They also announced the ability to purchase sky banners – you know, those things towed by airplanes – but that was just an April Fool’s joke. Pity.