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Consolidation in the marketing automation space: what about content?

The consolidation in the marketing automation industry keeps shaking up the market. After last year’s series of acquisitions, the latest move is Salesforce.com’s pending acquisition of B2C marketing automation vendor ExactTarget, and at the same time of B2B marketing automation vendor Pardot, acquired in 2012 by ExactTarget. It’s clear Salesforce.com and others are going for the overall marketing suite approach. Which leaves us with the question where content marketing and management fit in.

David Raab
David Raab

While the consolidation in the market until now revolved – a bit – around social media marketing (remember Radian6) and marketing automation, it’s clear more will follow.

Just think about MRM (Marketing Resource Management), for instance. Or social collaboration. While the experts are looking at the impact of the latest consolidation moves in the marketing automation space, others, including David Raab, see the missing pieces. And content is one of them.

Some vendors of content marketing software already have tight integrations with marketing automation platforms. Think about Kapost and Eloqua, for instance. Or HubSpot and content marketing software vendor Marketing.ai.

While the consolidation is good news for customer-centric and integrated thinking content marketers, it’s clear the content marketing solutions market is next.

Web content management, content marketing and marketing automation

Furthermore, as David Raab says, there is another content-related missing piece in the puzzle of the integrated CRM and marketing automation vendors: Web Content Management.

David Raab: “A truly complete customer-facing solution would encompass Web content management as well. This is another idea I’ve long pushed, and its time will come too. Indeed, I see many Web content management vendors already adding marketing automation-type features. Salesforce itself might not move into this space quite yet, but it seems inevitable that they’ll do it eventually”.

Craig Rosenberg
Craig Rosenberg

Craig Rosenberg added to the ongoing analysis as well and asked several experts to share their opinions.

From a content marketing perspective it’s interesting to read what HubSpot’s Mike Volpe had to say: “are email and social media the right technologies for the future of marketing when we’re all moving to inbound and content marketing?”.

Noteworthy: HubSpot is more than close with SalesForce.com.

Volpe points at the short-term focus of Salesforce.com’s move but his question regarding content marketing makes sense. Although email marketing remains essential in cross-channel marketing, without a good content marketing strategy there simply is no marketing automation.

Mike Volpe
Mike Volpe

While larger firms prefer the ‘suites’ as Raab says, there’s another thing to take into account: existing infrastructures simply force many organizations to go for a ‘connected’ marketing technology approach instead of an all-encompassing marketing suite. And then there is of course the mid-market.

Expect the content management systems and content marketing industry to join the consolidation and integration evolutions soon.

The question is: how, why, where and when. Also check out what Robert Rose has to say about the matter of software in this interview.

Update: since writing this post, the first moves have been made in the industry, with with Oracle having bought Compendium. An other interesting evolution (be it in a specific nice) is how Vocus and Cision will work with their respective marketing automation and marketing software platforms, if both get more integrated.