Tech firms target marketing

28 May 2012

NEW YORK: Technology firms like Oracle, SAP and Adobe are seeking to enhance their presence in the social media and digital marketing sectors, indicating the growing integration between these fields.

Oracle, the IT hardware and enterprise software giant, is currently in the process of buying Vitrue, a provider of cloud-based marketing tools for centrally planning and running campaigns of any size and scale on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Vitrue manages more than 1.3bn social interactions for over 500 brands, with customers including AT&T, the telco, McDonald's, the fast food chain, Procter & Gamble, the FMCG group, and BBDO, the agency.

"The proliferation of social media and an increased demand by consumers to engage with brands across multiple social channels is driving chief marketing officers to look for an integrated social marketing platform," said Thomas Kurian, EVP, Oracle Development, in a statement.

SAP, another software firm, is also in the midst of acquiring Ariba, an expert in "collaborative commerce", for $4.3bn. In 2011, Adobe invested $400m in Efficient Frontier, specialising in campaign optimisation and auction-based digital advertising.

"In our personal lives, networks are playing an increasingly important role in how we connect, share, and shop – bringing more insight and efficiency into everything we do," said Bob Calderoni, CEO of Ariba. "Businesses are looking for the same connectedness, insight, and efficiencies."

Also last year, Salesforce, a CRM and enterprise software specialist, paid $276m in cash and $50m in stock to buy Radian6, the social media monitoring service with a roster featuring Dell, the IT group, 3M, the conglomerate, and Pepsi, the soft drink.

"I think an increasingly common story is that the CMO is going to spend more on technology in a company than the CIO.  That has not happened yet in most companies, but I believe that it will," said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.

A report from Gartner, the insights provider, that was published in January stated this would occur in 2017. "The convergence between marketing and technology is undeniable, and it's still in its infancy," Chris Perry, head of digital at Weber Shandwick, the PR agency network, wrote in Forbes.

GroupM, the media buying arm of WPP Group, the agency holding company, also announced it has selected Buddy Media to become its "preferred partner" for social media advertising management.

Agencies like MEC, MediaCom and Mindshare will now use the BuddyBuy system to create, optimise and measure Facebook campaigns. GroupM spent a total of $200m on Facebook ads last year.

"We will continue to work with other partners but believe this consolidation will offer our clients and teams the opportunity to develop consistent high performance in a rapidly developing market," Rob Norman, CEO, GroupM Interaction Worldwide, said.

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff