This morning Salesforce.com announced that it was purchasing Radian6 for $326 million. If you don't know already, Salesforce.com is the market leader in sales force automation software, and Radian6 is one of the leading platforms for social media monitoring. Three weeks ago Salesforce.com announced its investment in HubSpot's inbound marketing technology along with Google Ventures and Sequoia Capital. Obviously, Salesforce is getting their inbound marketing software ducks in a row. What does this mean for inbound marketing agencies and companies doing their own inbound marketing?
If you read between the lines, clearly Salesforce is making a major move towards consolidating the major "players" in inbound marketing under one roof. HubSpot already has the most integrated software solution for inbound marketing, combining a website CMS, SEO, blogging, social media promotion, lead generation and analytics. What was missing from that solution? Social media monitoring (Radian 6) and closed loop marketing and CRM (Salesforce). HubSpot already has tight integration with Salesforce via its API, and you can bet that in the short term, there will be a Radian6 integration. But those are just connections, not true integration. Here is what I predict in the longer term (not years, months at most):
Inbound marketing apps available in the Salesforce.com "App Exchange". Whether there are separate apps for the various components of inbound marketing or an integrated platform is anyone's guess.
Social media content creation, promotion and monitoring apps available in the SF App Exchange, probably tied into the "Chatter" functionality. This will enable sales and marketing professionals to directly engage with and monitor prospects and customers in social media.
A bigger buy-out and merger. Maybe Salesforce is just sweetening the pot for a more sweeping move. Maybe Google and Sequoia are orchestrating a major SAAS application consolidation move. Maybe they bring in Marketo or Eloqua or ExactTarget for more best-in-class marketing automation tools. Maybe they corner the market and buy them all out. This is all pure conjecture, but the writing is definitely on the wall.
The question is, as always, are we better off with a competitive marketplace for inbound marketing software, or are we more likely to get the ultimate toolkit with consolidation?
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.