Social Marketing: No Longer ‘Separate, Disconnected, Cute and Experimental’

Buddy Media now has a very special buddy: Salesforce, which has signed an agreement to purchase the social marketing agency for $689 million (up to $745 million, according to the SEC filing.) It’s the largest deal ever done by Salesforce.com and the largest acquisition of a New York City tech company in the last five years.

The acquisition will result in a hybrid company, combining Salesforce’s Radian6 social media listening platform to create an all in one platform for businesses marketing themselves over social networks, i.e., the first “comprehensive Marketing Cloud.”

“Salesforce.com now has the number one players in social listening and marketing – Radian6 and Buddy Media,” said Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. “With CMOs surpassing CIOs in spend on technology within the next five years, our Marketing Cloud leadership will allow us to capitalize on this massive opportunity.”

“Buddy Media’s mission is to eliminate the current state of anarchy in social marketing,” said Michael Lazerow, co-founder and CEO, Buddy Media. “With the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, marketers will be able to unify their efforts to better organize their teams, optimize their social programs and deliver real business results.”

Lazerow writes in a blog post: “It was the business itself, and specifically, the fit between salesforce.com and Buddy Media, that really sealed the deal. Innovation powers Buddy Media — we count more industry ‘firsts’ than all other companies in our space combined. Likewise, Salesforce.com is recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the world. It beat out Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google in Forbesmost innovative companies list, and has posted 40% average annual sales growth for each of the last five years.

“Like Buddy Media in the social marketing world, salesforce.com was a market maker. The company evangelized cloud computing via product innovation, Marc’s thought leadership and an army of sales people Marc refers to as, “the machine,” which has signed on more than 100,000 customers.

“Salesforce.com is now the number one sales application and a leader in customer service, cloud application development and social media monitoring. With the addition of Buddy Media, salesforce.com will be able to provide companies of all sizes a full social marketing solution, including social media management and advertising.”

In the competitive landscape, this deal is firmly squared against enterprise service rival Oracle’s announcement a few weeks ago that it was buying Virtue for $300 million, and is orchestrating a new enterprise cloud computing strategy, debuting June 6th, with CEO Larry Ellison as lead spokesman on Twitter.

“It seems that Oracle, at least, is focused on integration, specifically on putting Vitrue into a wider, enterprise cloud offering with social as one part of a suite of services. In a recent interview, Abhay Parasnis, Oracle’s SVP of Cloud Development, said that Vitrue helps Oracle fulfil its “broad vision” in end-to-end cloud services, which includes not only marketing, but CRM and commerce services.”

Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital for PepsiCo Beverages, stated: “In my opinion, the potential acquisitions of these social suite players by the major CRM companies represent the final nail in the coffin of social media. No more is it something separate, disconnected, cute and experimental. It has just moved to the heart of all marketing efforts and the stock price movements of Facebook will not change that. Social Media Marketing is on scale and needs to be at the heart of your marketing efforts right now.”

Interact Marketing