foodchain1Holy cow! The world of marketing automation just received a megajoule jolt of energy today when Salesforce announced it was acquiring ExactTarget.  I feel like a kid at the Science Museum watching the Van Der Graff machine generate lightning so close I can smell it, here’s why:

ExactTarget recently acquired B2B Marketing Automation platform Pardot.  It was a brilliant move. ET rocks the email marketing for big B2C brands and wanted to round out it’s B2B offering.  Rather than recreate the wheel, it found a racing tire, Pardot.  The two are looking to have their first joint user event this year.

But now it sounds like Dreamforce, Salesforce’s user conference and probably the largest cloud event in the galaxy, is getting just a tad bit bigger.  Or at least Pardot and ExactTarget won’t have to buy booths!

What does this mean?  While it’s exciting, the fun part is that we don’t quite know how it will all play out.  Here are a few predictions:

  1. Product. Marketing Cloud will finally be something to look at.  But not right away.  The companies will operate independently while the tech slowly and deliberately merges.
  2. Events. There will be a Marketing Dreamforce.  The conference is already ‘too big’ and rolling in two more user conferences (Pardot & ExactTarget) will only further dilute and increase crowding.  Look for ExactTarget’s “Connections” to continue next year, for CloudForce (mini-dreamforces) specific to marketing, as well as major new tracks at Dreamforce itself.
  3. Marketo who?  Marketo just got left out of the biggest party on the block.  They’re built on Force.com which either way, Salesforce wins, but I see the balance of power shifting in Pardot’s/Marketing Cloud 2.0’s favor.
  4. Copycats.  What other CRMs could buy Marketing Automation & Email platforms?  Sugar comes to mind, as does Microsoft Dynamics.  Dynamics has already made their purchase and there hasn’t been much fanfare.  I could see Sugar on the prowl, though there aren’t much left to pick from.
  5. Marketing Automation Explosion.  The massive

In Conclusion: Win Win Win.  As long as Salesforce minds it’s manners, and respects it’s acquisitions’ strengths, this is a win win win for all three companies.  The