Microsoft Acquires Marketing Automation Firm to Extend Dynamics CRM

Microsoft has acquired MarketingPilot, a developer of integrated marketing applications. Microsoft said the MarketingPilot software will become part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.

Microsoft has disclosed that it has completed the acquisition of MarketingPilot, a provider of integrated marketing solutions and that the company said will be incorporated into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM software package that implements customer relationship management programs.

MarketingPilot solutions "allow organizations to better understand their customers, manage and streamline marketing operations, and create automated and measurable multi-channel marketing campaigns," wrote Bob Stutz, corporate vice president for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in an Oct. 17 blog post.

Stutz cited an IDC forecast that marketing automation will be the fastest-growing segment of the CRM space over the next four years and that by 2017 chief marketing officers (CMOs) will have a bigger IT budget than chief information officers (CIOs).

"More and more, marketers are being asked to drive the overall strategy and execution of customer interactions across multiple channels and touch points, and to measure ROI on those interactions," Stutz wrote.

Stutz did not say what it cost Microsoft to buy MarketingPilot.

The MarketingPilot acquisition is part of a wider industry trend among enterprise software companies that are building up the CRM application portfolios by acquiring cloud-based marketing companies this year, typically ones that incorporate social media features into their offerings.

Oracle acquired Collective Intellect, Involver and Vitrue earlier this year, and made them the basis for a Social Relationship Management platform unveiled earlier this month at Oracle OpenWorld 2012., meanwhile, acquired Buddy Media in June for close to $700 million about a year after acquiring Radian6 for more than $300 million.

Likewise, MarketingPilot is intended to help marketers plan, execute and monitor customer interactions across digital, social and traditional channels and see how those efforts increase their revenue, Stutz explained. Existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers include Volvo Construction Equipment and the Portland Trailblazers basketball team.

In an assessment of the CRM market released in June, IDC noted that revenue grew by 11.2 percent in 2011 over 2010 to $19.1 billion for 190 vendors in the space. The top four vendors, based on market share, were Oracle (with an 11 percent share), SAP (9.9 percent), Salesforce (9.5 percent) and Avaya (3.6 percent).

IDC said Microsoft did make the top 10 list, but it didn't share specific numbers. Collectively, the top 10 CRM vendors account for 49 percent of the market and IDC indicated that the market is tightening up among those top vendors amid acquisitions and product development focusing on adding social media-like features.

"The CRM applications market is poised on the threshold of a transformation with legacy installations being transformed into socially aware application environments," said Mary Wardley, program vice president for CRM applications research at IDC. "The activity is expected to continue through 2012 and is bringing net-new revenue to the space."