In a move to help marketers deliver more personalized experiences to customers, IBM has acquired Silverpop. A privately held software company based in Atlanta, Silverpop gives marketers cloud-based tools that automate personalized customer engagements in scalable environments.
With the Silverpop acquisition, IBM also picks up 8,000 customers, including the likes of Mazda, Stonyfield Farm and AMD. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Big Blue is convinced that the acquisition will forward its position in marketing automation circles by virtue of Silverpop's real-time personalization technology. In fact, Silverpop sports award-winning real-time personalization technology. With Silverpop in its war chest, IBM offers a more complete customer segmentation solution for companies ranging from start-ups to global enterprises.
"The acquisition of Silverpop turbocharges IBM's ability to put the customer at the center of any organization," said Craig Hayman, general manager of Industry Cloud Solutions at IBM. "Now, nearly any marketing, commerce or customer service professional from any business will have the ability to deliver the kinds of personalized customer experiences that make a measurable impact on the brand experience and the bottom line."
Spanning the Purchase Funnel
Here's one example of the potential power Silverpop brings to IBM's table: A mobile-service provider can use the technology to discover if one of its prospects is an early technology adopter. If that's the case, the mobile service company could serve up permission-based marketing offers via mobile messages for the latest and greatest new smartphone just before the customer's contract expires.
But Silverpop also has an analytics component. The company can provide what IBM called "deep customer insights" and an "intuitive engagement engine." These technologies work to cut the complexity of omnichannel marketing. The promise is easier personalization of the customer experience regardless of what phase of the purchase funnel the customer is in.
We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the acquisition. He told us Silverpop should be a very good addition to IBM's Smarter Commerce portfolio.
"The company's solutions for gathering consumer information and using that to craft personalized sales messages and campaigns helps its clients literally put their customers first," King said. "That should make Silverpop a valuable asset for both IBM and the 140-plus company partners leveraging those solutions."
The Big Picture
One of the compelling aspects of Silverpop's technology, which becomes one of more than 100 Software-as-a-Service offerings in IBM's portfolio, is its reported relatively inexpensive, cost-effective deployment that doesn't demand much technical knowledge.
In other words, marketing, e-commerce and service professionals don't have to wait on IT to design, execute and measure personalized interactions that drive customer acquisition efforts, drive sales and build brand loyalty.
Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop, is confident that his team has solved one of the most complex challenges facing marketers today. Of course, he also realizes that IBM's portfolio and global partner ecosystem will help the companies advance the mission to "build customer relationships one at a time on an even grander scale."