Adobe Snaps Up Neolane in Marketing Automation Push

In an effort to build its cross-channel marketing capabilities, Adobe on Thursday announced that it will acquire Neolane, a provider of cross-channel campaign management technology, in a US$600 million cash deal.

Neolane integrates online and offline marketing data from across an enterprise, performing audience segmentation and delivering marketing messages across Web, email, social, mobile, call center, direct mail and point of sale channels. The result is that marketers can deliver consistent customer experiences, personalized campaigns and increased ROI, Adobe explained.

“The acquisition of Neolane brings critical cross-channel campaign management capabilities to the Adobe Marketing Cloud,” said Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of Adobes Digital Marketing business.

The transaction is expected to close in July. Adobe did not respond to our request for further details.

A Variety of Verticals

Assuming the acquisition goes through, Adobe will also gain the more than 400 customers Neolane currently serves in vertical industries including consumer packaged goods, travel services and big media, as well as B2B clients.

Neolane’s full management team will also stay on through the acquisition.

Neolane CEO Stephane Dehoche will report to Rencher, Suresh Vittal, the company’s chief product officer, told CRM Buyer.

‘A Good Buy’

Adobe will add Neolane’s offering to its Adobe Marketing Cloud, a set of services designed to help marketers manage their online advertising. There, it will strengthen Adobe’s offering by helping clients provide more personalized communications with their customers.

“Cross-channel campaign management technology allows marketers to organize enterprise data about their customers,” Vittal explained. “It allows marketers to deliver a personalized experience to their audience.”

Indeed, “Adobe recognizes that a good chunk of its income comes from the production of marketing collateral in some form or another,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told CRM Buyer.

“This firm does cross-channel campaign management, suggesting Adobe is moving upmarket into management, which is a natural progression as a market matures or changes,” Enderle added. “This looks to be a good buy for the company as a result.”

Industry Consolidation

With this latest acquisition, Adobe follows in the footsteps of numerous other companies in the CRM space to develop offerings through acquisition. Just recently, for example, SAP announced the acquisition of Hybris and acquired campaign management vendor ExactTarget.

The spate of recent acquisitions could be a sign of industry consolidation yet to come.

“Marketing automation is the belle of the ball these days, and any company that professes any kind of expertise is prime for the picking,” Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group, told CRM Buyer. “It’s no surprise that Neolane was scooped up by Adobe.”

In fact, the marketing segment may be a bellwether for the economy as things start to turn around.

“Marketing appears to be the thing everyone is counting on to rev up the economy again now that most experts reluctantly agree that austerity isn’t rocking anyone’s world,” said Pombriant.

Integration Hurdles

Sometimes integration goes smoothly; other times companies face hurdles of time or technology. What’s the outlook for Adobe and Neolane?

“I expect that any acquisition today can be killed by poor integration capabilities because the acquiring companies want to get to market ASAP and not spend ridiculous time building integration,” Pombriant said.

“One of the good things about marketing automation companies in particular and cloud companies in general is that their builders knew at the outset that they’d have to integrate with larger and older systems,” he added. “So they build powerful APIs for the purpose.”

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