All the chatter about the Salesforce acquisition of Radian6 is quite interesting. A couple of postings from people I respect make good points. First Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua:
“Conspicuously absent from Salesforce’s network of role-specific “Clouds” is one that centers on the marketing function. Is the Radian6 acquisition the beginning of a Salesforce Marketing Cloud? Someone on the investor conference call asked Marc Benioff whether this was the first move toward business-to-consumer. His answer was worth noting: ‘We’re really seeing the beginning here of the Marketing Cloud.’ Given the excitement we have seen around Revenue Performance Management – a discipline that requires both sales and marketing data – in the executive suite, it is not surprising to see Salesforce moving this direction.
And here’s Jon Miller CMO of Marketo:
“Personally, I think Salesforce will continue to make acquisitions “around” the marketing automation space (such as Jigsaw and Radian6) without moving directly into the category; I also would not be surprised if they bought an email service provider. Salesforce has never shown much interest in a “Marketing Cloud;” they seem more interested in Chatter, the Force.com Platform, and Service Cloud 3, and I suspect future acquisitions will focus on augmenting those capabilities more than in marketing.
It reminds me of the old joke, if you want three economic opinions ask two economists. We’ll need to wait a while to know which is right but I’m betting on Payne’s analysis more or less.
IMHO Salesforce has been deficient in marketing for a long time. Perhaps that’s because marketing’s business processes have been more amorphous compared to sales and service. But more likely, it was because Salesforce grew up selling to emerging tech companies that were selling new category products. Your marketing needs in such a situation are rather minimal. But today, there is much less category formation going on — that will likely change with the introduction of the tablet PC— but for now, companies wanting to sell, and who doesn’t, need to market like many of them never have.
Marketing and customer intimacy have driven the social CRM market for several years and the demand destruction caused by the financial meltdown a couple of years ago tipped the scale. That’s why ideas like revenue performance management are so important today and in order to do RPM you need tools. So it’s not surprising that Salesforce bought Radian6. It was time.